Marketing Your Business Empathetically During Covid-19

Marketing your business during Covid-19 is a delicate balance. The way customers shop and their behaviours are changing, as are their attitudes to marketing.

For many businesses this means that you need to go back and revisit your advertising and social media and apply new ‘filters’ to the way you talk about your business, products and services.

Here’s a brief list of things you could consider when you are planning your marketing activity whether through traditional advertising or social media.


Check Your Imagery

  • Visual communication is powerful, as are the words we use, so it’s important to think about the messages your business is sending.
  • Stay away from images of crowds or people touching.


Choose your words carefully

  • There are many words that pre-Covid19 were seemingly harmless but now could be seen as insensitive: Killer (you should not have a “killer” deal right now), Dead/ly, (don’t be “deadly serious” about how great your product is) Contagious, Spread,  Infectious, Viral, Gathering
  • “Call now” or “Book now” are still fine, but try to avoid scarcity advertising, like “Don’t miss out!” or “Grab yours before it’s too late!” these types of phrases aren’t going to resonate with the public right now.


Don’t attempt, or appear to be attempting, to capitalise on the Crisis

  • Beware of Bragging. Remember many people are not able to open, lots are not working, and for some times are very hard at the moment. Use empathy as a filter for anything you are saying as a business.
  • Use words like: “contribute,” “connect,” “play a role,” “navigate,” “cope,” “respond”
  • Don’t use words like: capitalise, advantage, offer, gain, profit
  • Be careful with words/phrases like: opportunity, make the most of


Be authentic with your content

  • Use employee-generated content. Talk to your team and get them to share their favourite things to do during lockdown, recipes, how to’s, Netflix series etc. Use this time to spotlight your people and company culture.
  • Show your human side, and your customers will feel more connected to you.
  • Be honest, and don’t over-promise. It’s important to inspire hope and optimism but right now all that you can actually promise your customers is that you’ll stay committed to handling the situation and serving them the best way you can.
  • Show how you can help. Businesses exist because they provide value in some form. If what you do supports or enhances people’s lives, tell that story.
  • Communicate your benefits. Talk about your brand’s potential unique value, and share it.
  • Create helpful content.  How can you educate, entertain, or inspire people stuck at home all day?
  • Keep the focus on helping people, not patting yourself on the back
  • Keep customers up to date and informed. You do need to communicate but do it in a way that directly pertains to your business. Talk about delivery options, when you’ll be opening (at what level) and all of the things you are doing behind the scenes.
  • Give messaging a positive, inspirational, and helpful tone. Avoid being too humorous, or casual – it may come across as insensitive.



Sarah Ferguson, Creative Plan
Sarah is a marketing professional, living and working on the Kapiti Coast following a 20 year corporate career in Marketing, Communications and PR in Auckland.


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