The four pillars of brand advocacy in times of uncertainty

COVID-19 is all anyone can talk about lately. The pandemic continues to spread like wildfire, pausing the lives of people, educational institutions, and businesses — and the end is nowhere in sight. In a situation like this, how are brands supposed to communicate? Well, I’d say what matters the most is honesty and sensitivity. Here’s how to go about it:


First things first — in times of a global pandemic, brands cannot afford to stay silent. You might ask why? Well, when the issue at hand boils down to the safety and security of audiences, it becomes crucial for a brand to speak up and provide reassurance —  that it’s doing its best to tackle the situation. Take initiatives to maintain cleanliness, make donations to those affected, or just encourage working from home. It’s up to you. The bottom line is that you have to let your stakeholders know that you care — loud and clear. This will reinforce the trust in your brand, turning them into loyal customers in the long run. 

Advocate, responsibly 

The media is flooded with all sorts of information about Coronavirus, which can overwhelm and stress out audiences. So as a brand, it’s your responsibility to pick a message you want to communicate with great care. After all, you don’t want to cause panic or trivialise the issue. Find the balance. Do your research. Check the credibility of the information. If you already have certain communication plans charted out, analyse their relevance at this hour — because one wrong step can cause great damage. 

Advocate, with sensitivity

Often, people struggle to navigate the thin line between capitalising on a situation and showing genuine concern. Recently, a popular Indian dairy brand released a comic ad of their mascot along with a group of people, who were wearing masks while disembarking from a flight. The title read — ‘Wuhan se yaha le aaya’, indicating the evacuation of Indians from Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus. While the ad received mixed opinions,  Twitterati criticised it for being in ‘bad taste.’ So what’s the takeaway here? Topical advertising such as this must be done with great sensitivity, or not at all.

Advocate, in ways more than one

A multi-pronged approach to communication plays a key role here. Send mailers, issue adverts, shoot videos, or use any other mode of communication that you deem appropriate. Choosing platforms to communicate will increase the effectiveness and impact of the message. For example, a popular Indian food delivery app used a multitude of methods such as mailers, text messages, and push notifications to communicate with all its customers. Additionally, they distributed hand wash sachets and while promoting contactless delivery, showcasing their deep commitment towards the interests of their audience. 

To sum up, we are amidst a global disruption that may or may not end soon. That’s why,  it’s time for brands to tread with caution and show the audiences that they are in it, with them, and for them —  both in sickness and health. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Tina Garg
Founder and CEO at Pink Lemonade, an Integrated Marketing & Communications agency in Bangalore.
Tina launched the company in 2011, and today, it is known for its award-winning work in creative & business communications, and digital services. She comes with extensive experience in the creative industry, and is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs.

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