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Marketing During a Pandemic

By Casey Schultz on Apr 22, 2020

While brands and marketers continue to respond to the current global pandemic situation, the one thing we’ve been trying to keep in mind is to remember what we’re really in this business to do… help our clients communicate. That’s easy to say when times are good and ideas are easy, but it’s different now. It might be different from this day forward for a long time. I don’t think anyone really knows just yet, which is okay. If anything in the marketing world holds true it’s that the only thing that is constant, is change itself.

When I think back to my younger days at South Dakota State University (Go Jacks!), I had such a skewed perspective of what my degree would actually lead to. As a young graphic design major, I was under the impression that I’d be the guy that everyone came to when then needed a really cool idea for their next thing. Skateboard graphics, music album covers, t-shirt designs, event posters and all kinds of fun stuff that college kids might enjoy. All of those things still sound like a lot of fun, but we don’t do much of that at Caliber these days, nor did we ever, really.

As much as our team would love to work on some those projects, it’s very clear most of the assignments we’re tasked with are much more important and carry much more weight when they’re put out into the world. Now, with the current pandemic situation, I’m reminded of that more than ever on a daily basis. Our clients are helping feed the nation, supply the needy, building infrastructure, enhancing communication and saving lives. Seriously…. saving lives! That is a long way from me hoping to design skateboard graphics.

This is in no way trying to take any praise away from those truly essential workers in other industries. We absolutely need them and we should all be showing them as much appreciation as we can. They are the true heroes during this time.

But for us, we need to help our clients communicate. On top of that, we need to be very aware of the current global landscape before we can make effective suggestions. That doesn’t mean all marketing needs to stop, in fact, it may mean just the opposite for some. It does not mean you can’t use humor in your marketing, just keep it tasteful. It does not mean marketing’s effectiveness will suffer. Instead, what it does mean is that there are no easy options right now. Canned approaches and regurgitated ideas are even weaker than they were before.

Now is the time to think differently, act differently, evaluate your branding, your messaging and really think about what you should be doing to help your clients during this time. It’s not easy. But nothing comes easy in this industry and your clients need you more than ever, even if they don’t realize it yet.