Advertising in the Age of COVID-19: Am I Doing It Right?

During these “uncertain” and “unprecedented" times, the rules of advertising have changed.

These types of phrases have now become ubiquitous. And, the importance of an ad’s relevance and how it meets immediate consumer needs has soared. An astounding 80% increase in media consumption (and forced changes to consumer shopping habits) have made it vital for companies to rethink both when and how to message their product. If you’re dipping your toes back into advertising, plan ahead with these tips to respond to the “new normal.

1. Highlight Consumer Safety.
Advertise the steps your company is taking to keep consumers and staff safe. What better time to help educate the public and promote safety? Curbside pickup. Social distancing requirements. Virtual visits. From small changes to larger innovations – highlight steps you’re taking to keep people safe. Consumers will appreciate knowing what to expect when engaging with your business.

2. Offer Community Support.
Take advantage of opportunities to help people and businesses impacted by the crisis. Instead of sponsoring a live event, consider partnering to provide support to area nonprofits or local businesses that have been impacted. Companies that can effectively combine the concept of emotional marketing with real world impact can build long term trust among consumers.

3. Reflect the Common Experience.
The use of imagery in an ad has become essential. Positive images that were once universal, like outdoor concerts or family reunions, can now look out-of-date or unsafe. Advertisers should focus on imagery that features solo, home-based, or socially distanced activities. Other ways to promote a brand beyond photos include creative typography, illustration-based campaigns, and even high-art product photography. Look at design and photography websites for visual inspiration.

4. Expand Your Online Engagement.
It is likely that many new purchasing trends among consumers will become embedded into future buying habits. Regardless, for now, consumers are spending more time online. Use these behavioral shifts to maintain a strong online presence for your brand. Check-in on social platforms often to stay connected with consumers who may be feeling more isolated than ever. Consider implementing new engagement strategies like virtual events that give your customers something to do, and a way to interact with your organization and each other. Take time to enhance your website search engine optimization (SEO) and try to increase backlinks to your pages. Backlinks are links from other websites that drive traffic to your site. Both tactics are invaluable for attracting new visitors.

5. Be Authentic.
Above all, be authentic. Use your company’s existing mission and vision statements to guide your response. Messaging should either place consumers at ease or help them solve a problem. With 75% of consumers affirming that brands should not exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to promote their product, what you offer matters. Can consumers reasonably access this product? Does your message speak to the common experience? Is this service applicable right now? If the answer is “no”, consider other ways to engage consumers without touting your product.

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Last Updated On

October 22, 2020

Originally Published On

August 21, 2020