I’m old enough to have worked through 9/11 and the 2008 recession. These events rocked our country to its core and created a sense of uncertainly and fear. Now our world is faced with a global pandemic like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime. A lot of brands (big and small) are searching for a path forward.

Over the past week, I’ve been fielding calls and emails from clients that are unsure of how to approach the weeks and months ahead. There is no easy answer, but there is one thing I’ve learned during times of crisis – never, ever go dark. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make right now is going silent.

It has been proven time and again that brands that invest during times of uncertainly recover faster and come out stronger on the back end. Investing in your brand sends a strong message to employees and customers that you’re alive and well. It shows strength and reassures stakeholders that you are “open for business.” Other benefits include enhanced brand awareness, loyalty and market share.


If you’re investing in your brand during the COVID-19 crisis, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Review your strategy.

What worked a month ago when your campaign launched may be totally obsolete today. Re-examine your goals, strategies and messaging through the lens of today’s reality. Why are we investing in our brand right now? What are we hoping to accomplish? What tone should we take with our messaging? 

Change up your messaging.

Now is not the time to push products and services necessarily. Build your brand by showing solidarity with your target audience. Show empathy and offer solutions. Ford Motor Company has done an excellent job changing its strategy and messaging in recent weeks. Guinness also did a masterful job messaging St. Patrick’s Day.

Maintenance Plan

If budgets are tight, scale back and run a “maintenance” program that preserves a basic level of awareness in the marketplace. Don’t lose the awareness you’ve worked so hard to build. Ramp up your social media, e-mail marketing, programmatic advertising and other low-cost initiatives that yield big-time results.

Bottom line, keep your marketing programs rolling, but take some time to review your overall strategy and messaging to ensure it reflects the world we live in today.

Stay safe out there.