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As part of our thought leadership to help marketers navigate the COVID-19 age, we recently published Fearless Digital Marketing: The Retailer’s Guide to Navigating COVID-19. In today’s blog, we’ll cover how to examine your messaging through the lens of the current times – and how to use data and empathy to strike the right tone. Director of Creative Strategy Becca Debono contributed to this post.

We’ve been preaching comprehensive testing frameworks for a while for your creative and messaging. If you’re late to the game on that, it’s go time on two fronts a) proactively remove or edit any tone-deaf messaging or imagery; b) test for themes that resonate as consumer needs and behavior change.

Questions to ask as you evaluate your ads:

  • Are they still relevant? Ads that play on a social setting or vacation, for instance, should be paused immediately.
  • Are you being sensitive to the current situation? Imagery of hands, physical connection, outside adventures, etc. may trigger fear or resentment in users, and any reference to things like “virality” or “survival” should be removed ASAP. 
  • Are you playing on fear in your ads, e.g. “Don’t fall behind!” or “The chance of a lifetime is over soon”? In good times, playing on fear can be effective, but it’s a potential PR nightmare in COVID-19 when there are far more serious issues afoot.
  • Are your main product focuses all of a sudden…

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