Advertising in the Time of Coronavirus

Circa Now
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When is the right time to start advertising again? Not just another “We’re in this together” message but something that really moves the needle?

Many of us are asking “when is a good time to start advertising?” In fact, I just did a Google search and came up with about 1,450,000,000 results. I’d say it’s a pretty hot topic on every marketer’s mind these days. So why write another piece on the subject? Maybe we all would rather just go back to sleep and wake up when advertising is back to normal.

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Brands as Leaders

I’d like to offer a different perspective on the subject that could be applied now and maybe for years to come. You’ve heard experts say that brands are a lot like people. That a brand should be like a good friend, someone who is there for you through thick and thin. We’d agree with that and add to it. Brands should be leaders too. They should be the one who starts the neighborhood virtual block parties. The one who connects people. The one who inspires you to get through the downtimes. Now’s exactly the time brands should be giving back to their customers all the trust and goodwill they have shown you over the years. It’s a two-way street, folks.

Putting It Into Action

It all starts with being true to who you are as a brand. Why did your business start? Better yet, why do you and your workers get up in the morning? If it’s to collect a paycheck, then you can click away right now. But if there is something deeper, or if you have built a genuine relationship with your customers than maybe you’d like to keep reading.

For Microsoft, we created a brand based on their fictional case study company, CONTOSO. By being honest and even a bit self-deprecating, we were able to pay back our die-hard developer fans with some highly sought-after swag.

Brands are like people. They have good days and bad. They are not perfect. They do not boast about themselves – who’d like a person that did that? We’ll, according to the polls, 41%.

What customers want from a brand is honesty, authenticity, transparency. They want to be understood and listened to, not just spoken at. These tips are true now, but perhaps they apply moving forward as we lean into advertising 2.0.

After all, you only created the brand–It’s alive because of your customers.