How to message your way out of the pandemic

Now more than ever, messaging plays a central part of running a business. Community members rely on bytes of communication to stay up-to-date with small-town groceries where they shop for essentials; with entrepreneurs who sew cloth masks; distilleries that distribute free alcohol for sanitizing; and with local businesses that employ their neighbors. When people know what you are doing, they are going to respond.

Just as past global events have shaped messaging, so too has Covid-19. It colors every facet of contemporary life and requires that businesses respond to it. We are up for the challenge. Below, we outline how coronavirus has reimagined company communications with their audiences and how you can craft a sharp message of your own.

Get Back in Touch with Your Audience 

Customers are changing. Covid-19 has reset so many priorities of the average shopper. A recent New York Times report shows retail sales in April fell 16.4 percent – following a 8.3-percent drop in March – capping off a record-breaking two-month decline. Another report, this time from Time magazine, offers further insights into Americans’ shopping habits. Purchases of aerosol disinfectants, for example, have spiked 519 percent compared to 2019. 

Companies are also changing. They were always a key player in the US economy. And today their role has greater weight. For context, back in 2018 the US Small Business Administration, an arm of the federal government, reported small businesses are:  

  • 99.9 percent (over 30 million) of all US companies
  • Employ 47 percent (58.9 million) of all American workers 

This vital sector was upended by Covid-19. More than 36 million jobless claims were filed over the last two months, according to the Times. 

States are reopening at different rates. In our area, New Jersey remains shut down. Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut are slated to reopen soon. Pennsylvania as well as New York are reopening in some areas. Construction, manufacturing and curbside retail were reopened in five NY regions, not including Dutchess, Ulster and Orange counties. Stay-at-home orders were extended to May 28 for remaining regions. 

Adjusting to a Bright, Positive Future

When we pair all of these details with what we observe in our immediate community, we cannot help but feel a bit positive about the future. 

Good neighbors are a blessing right now. Most have banded together to help package and deliver food to those who are at a high risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms. Others are sewing masks. And local companies are coming up with innovative solutions to keep their employees working and their businesses running. With actions like these, our team remains enthusiastic we will not succumb to this virus, but emerge from it stronger than before.

So, What Will Your Message Be? 

Taken together, these factors create an image of companies as vital providers of jobs, goods and services. That is your message. Even under ordinary conditions, crafting a message can be difficult. At this moment, everything is about Covid-19, and not at least addressing the virus can come across as ‘tone deaf.’ But this helps us narrow down our list of priorities when designing a message. Here is just a sample: 

  1. Take an inventory of your offering. Which of your products or services are most relevant right now? 
  2. If you don’t find a perfect fit – such as aerosol disinfectant – attempt to reorient what you do offer to fit into our current moment.
  3. Speak to all of your audience through a single, crystal-clear message
  4. Use a tone of voice that is human, honest and never shallow
  5. Be community minded. Use “us” or “we,” not “I”
  6. Let your audience know how you’re going to create a workplace that is safe for employees as well as customers, and how you’re going to put people back to work
  7. Use every channel at your disposal: website, blog posts, digital ads, social media, print, out of home and others

Get the Word Out 

Messaging is equal parts art and science and striking the right mix is often the product of decades of experience. Partner with Ashworth Creative. We apply our best talent to every project, ensuring your message is honed to perfection. Work with our team, and see what we can do for you.