Coronavirus in marketing: how to use it and whether it is worth it. Examples from brands

The coronavirus has been the most talked about news feed in the world over the past few months. The media and social media are overwhelmed with news, panic, jokes and controversy.

On the one hand, the topic is controversial. Virus, disease, death. On the other hand, the news feed has become so popular that it is impossible to ignore it.

Brands around the world got involved in the discussion. Some approached the issue responsibly: they began to inform customers and contribute to the fight against the virus. Some decided to capitalize on the general panic. Still others simply ignore the topic and try to stay away from it.

Which side to choose is up to you. In this article, I want to show you good examples of using the news feed to promote your business.

If the ideas appeal to you, they are worth testing. An appropriate response to a global problem will help improve your reputation and build loyalty.

Option 1: informing

The easiest and most obvious step is to inform clients about the rules of behavior and hygiene in a pandemic.

McDonald s has prepared an infographic for social networks:

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Publication from McDonald s Russia (@mcdonalds_rus) March 16, 2020 10:48 am PDT

Kaspersky told subscribers about scammers who use a hot topic to deceive users:

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?Coronavirus is a hotly discussed topic that is now gaining popularity among scammers of all stripes, so we will surely see more than one campaign where a dangerous infection is used as bait. ⠀ We recently discovered scammers sending phishing emails on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is a real organization in the United States that really spreads information about the coronavirus and advice on how to avoid infection. But, of course, this newsletter has nothing to do with the CDC ??‍♂️ ⠀ The letters contain a link to a phishing site, and some even call for donating bitcoins to create a vaccine against coronavirus. Of course, the real CDC does not accept bitcoins and, as far as we know, does not collect donations. ⠀ ?How to Protect Against Phishing: ⠀ Mindfulness and Awareness Are Your Best Defenders Check emails carefully to identify incorrect addresses misspelled domain names, bogus URLs, and other signs of fraud. You can read more about typical phishing methods and tricks in our article by following the link in the profile header “How to Protect Against Phishing: 10 Tips”. ⠀ Be healthy and do not get sick! ?

Publication from Kaspersky Russia (@kasperskylabrus) 5 Mar 2020 at 3:43 PST

Dozens of maps of the spread of the virus around the world have appeared on the network.

Option 2: promote

The coronavirus has made a significant contribution to the development of online business. Now, when people are advised not to go out and visit public places less often, the demand for the Internet and home delivery has increased.

Brands that operate in these industries try to make life easier for people and offer them preferential terms of cooperation.

Services for organizing video calls decided to help businesses and ordinary users keep in touch even in quarantine conditions. Among them are Google Hangouts, Zoom, Teams. They opened up free access to premium features.

Food delivery services have introduced a contactless delivery service, orders can now be received without communicating with the courier.

Online services have also revived, which help to have fun and study without leaving home.

So GeekBrains opened free access to courses in four areas.

PornHub offered Italians a premium subscription.

Online cinemas Premier, Okko, ivi, KinoPoisk opened access to paid content during quarantine.

Bookstores, while libraries are closed, delight readers with free access to literature.

Facebook, and other giants decided to support the business in a difficult situation.

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Post from Instagram for Business (@instagramforbusiness) 12 Mar 2020 at 10:08 PDT

Offline companies are not far behind either. To make people not afraid to go shopping, brands hold special promotions.

So the Apple Store stopped offering fitting watches and headphones.

Starbucks in the US and Canada has banned guests from using personal mugs.

Lush offered all visitors to wash their hands for free.

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Publication from Lush Cosmetics North America (@lushcosmetics) Mar 9, 2020 at 10:01 PDT

Samsung has launched disinfection of its smartphones.

Zara donated masks and protective suits to the Chinese province.

Airlines have also stepped in and offered passengers the option of refunding non-refundable tickets.

Many brands have told customers what steps they are taking to make their public places as safe as possible.

And the LVMH brand even retooled cosmetic lines to produce antiseptics.

Option 3: sometimes it s better to remain silent

A threat to a company s reputation can arise from where no one expected it. So Corona beer became a hot meme on the network. Users jokingly decided that it was it that caused the epidemic.

The brand still hasn t responded to the hype. Apparently, this is the best version of the current situation.

Option 4: remote

During a pandemic, you need to take care not only of customers, but also of employees. Therefore, many companies have switched to remote work. Among them are Twitter, Google and other giants.

Schoolchildren and students have switched to distance learning. Some establishments have approached the situation outside the box. For example, the teachers of the Don State Technical University gave a lecture in the game Minecraft, broadcasting it via Twitch.

Option 5: fighting fakes

Large media and social networks have joined in the fight against fakes and offensive content on the topic of coronavirus.

Instagram, for example, has removed the masks associated with the virus.

Odnoklassniki, Yandex, Instagram, VKontakte and other sites have launched separate feeds with verified news on the topic.

Option 6: play associations

Attention to the pandemic problem can play into the hands of other topics as well. Since the coronavirus first began to spread in China, people of Asian appearance began to be treated with apprehension.

In Canada, they decided to change the situation and launched a creative campaign. Within its framework, hand sanitizers were distributed in crowded places in Toronto. They had a meaningful inscription: stop the spread, and below in small print – racism.

Option 7: hypanut

As with any other news topic under discussion, thanks to the coronavirus, you can increase your own popularity.

For example, Naomi Campbell showed how she prefers to travel due to the latest news.

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Post by Naomi Campbell (@naomi) Mar 10, 2020 6:07 am PDT

A British teenager created a hand washing instruction generator with lyrics from his favorite songs.

Slovenian graphic designer Jure Tovrljan has adapted well-known logos.

And the studio from St. Petersburg has launched the world s first international online bar.

Option 8: sell the product

The pandemic has increased the demand for hand soaps, disinfectants, and face masks.

Some unscrupulous brands have tried to convince consumers that they can help treat the coronavirus. Fortunately, they paid for the deception with reputation and money.

Extremes can be dispensed with here. It is enough to carefully remind about safety measures and offer a product that will be really useful.

This is how The body shop drew the attention of users to the line of hand soaps.

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Spread love?, not germs! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today, more than ever, you need to pay special attention to personal hygiene. For increased care of the cleanliness of your hands, we recommend washing them more often using creams or soap. They delicately cleanse the skin, while caring for the natural ingredients in the composition. And, as a bonus, they will leave a pleasant delicate scent on your hands ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ? Life hack from us: use hand creams to avoid dry skin from frequent contact with water. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Follow the link in the profile header and order your favorite hand wash ? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #TheBodyShopRussia #TheBodyShop #CrueltyFreeBeauty #handwash

Posted by The Body Shop (@thebodyshoprussia) 12 Mar 2020 at 8:39 PDT

Sanitelle explained how their gels can be used to protect against coronavirus.

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How to protect yourself from coronavirus? While the authorities are tightening controls at the border, it is in your power to protect yourself and your loved ones from the virus?‍⚕️ ?‍⚕️ WHO and Rospotrebnadzor recommend careful hand hygiene using disinfectants. ?Sanitelle, a reliable and safe hand sanitizer, will kill 99.99% of the most common disease-causing viruses, fungi and bacteria in just 15 seconds. ?Your health is in your hands! #health #children shealth #viruschine # antiseptic for hands

Publication from SANITELLE (@sanitelle) Jan 31, 2020 6:46 pm PST

You can adapt any other product, but it s important not to overdo it.

As you can see, there are plenty of options for using the news feed in marketing. When deciding whether to include it in your strategy or not, determine how relevant the topic is to your business. The worst choice is to blindly try to get attention with a hot topic. My opinion: if there is no obvious need, you shouldn t build associations between a company and a deadly virus.

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