Marketing during Coronavirus

#Marketing Insights
BY Emma Glazier
Head of Marketing
18 Mar 2020

The Coronavirus is changing our lives. It’s changing the way we work, play and socially interact. With Governments around the world advising their citizens to limit social contact and travel only when necessary, we’re seeing an international crisis played out in our homes and communities. For many businesses, plans have been put on hold and staff have been dispersed potentially leading to confusion and anxiety for customers and staff alike. Communications will play a vital role in your company's transition through these challenging times. Keeping staff up to date and customers in the loop is going to need marketing solutions like never before. How about some practical examples of what you could be doing?

The Challenge

This is something that Crowd have had good results with over a long period and now more than ever is a perfect opportunity to get some fresh insight from a potentially immobile pool of talent. In a nutshell, a Challenge is designed to resolve business solutions through the use of internal or external thinking. You would typically ask a question. How can my airline stay in business when no one is flying? How can my destination make money when no one is visiting? The question can either be put to your internal staff who may be looking for things to think about at home, or be thrown open to the public. Once the Challenge is defined, it’s a simple case of providing a mechanic for contact and review of submissions. The process can be as simple or as complex as you like. Crowd have a three-tiered approach for managing these Challenges from advising on further discussions to develop the idea, to orchestrating workshop sessions between contributors. The Challenge idea not only provides potential answers to business solutions, but also provides a stream of marketing and communications which will inform customers and staff about the progressive way your company approaches problems. As well as the recent project where Crowd have been working with StoryFutures, Crowd also built a platform for Kenwood which was used to crowd-source kitchen technology innovations from a group of food bloggers, designers and technologists.  

Collaboration Wall

The story of how your business is operating through the ‘Corona Crisis’ is a story worth telling. How are you keeping the wheels turning? How are you staying in contact? How are your team coping? This is an evolving story and one that is perfect for social media. One means we have been looking at is the Collaboration Wall - a place online to keep in touch and post updates both for your remote workers and your customers. It can be used to share announcements, links to group hangouts, policies for home working, exercise routines, recipes for lunch and pictures of pyjama based conference calls! It’s about bringing the team together, sharing content on coping and demonstrating to the outside world that you’re still running with an authentic and dynamic team doing their best to fight the spread of COVID-19. This information hub could be a microsite with multiple collaborators and in fact we've been using a similar system internally at Crowd to share ideas and useful links. You’ll miss the social contact and the sharing of fun stories amongst your team and colleagues. Why not include a poll on your collaboration wall to ask everybody for their funniest picture over the weekend? Or embed Tweets or GIFs to reflect your current mood. It's a great way to keep your team engaged and happy throughout these tough times.

Virtual Events

That trade show you’ve been prepping for months has just been cancelled. Your gym is closed and the Zumba classes are all cancelled. It’s time to take the show to your existing and potential customers through a social media broadcast. Whether you do a WebEx that needs booking or fire up your Facebook channel, a simple live broadcast can get your message onto the laptop screens of would-be attendees who are now in lockdown around the world. It doesn’t need to be perfectly produced. We’re used to seeing webcam experts on broadcast news TV and so long as you can keep the kids entertained in another room, there’s no reason why you shouldn't take the opportunity to engage via video. All that’s needed is some pre-warming and build-up so your audience knows when to tune in. It’s a great opportunity to open the forum for questions as well and speak directly with an audience that’s both stuck at home and looking for something to occupy them. Keep your clients active and engaged with your brand.

Virtual Tours

Your destination isn’t seeing any bookings and with travel bans in place and borders closed, it’s time to take your destination online with a virtual tour. With most of the world scanning through their social media looking for a distraction from their own four walls, it’s a great opportunity to bring your destination direct to their living room through a virtual tour. With some basic 360 photography from a local producer, you can choose to either put the content on Facebook or add the content to your website. Provide options for those with VR headsets, mobile or desktop through a simple interface set up on the content itself. You can also provide either a text or audio accompaniment to really provide an immersive and educational experience. Crowd produced an interactive VR tour for our clients Expense Reduction Analysts that allows visitors to explore cost saving options in a typical workplace. Not only is it fun to navigate around, but it sells the services of the company in a novel and engaging way.

User-generated content

User-Generated Content (or UGC) is a great way to get your team contributing to the marketing output during the Coronavirus lock down. Whether you sell a product or a service, whether you are B2C or B2B, everybody needs content for their online presence. Normally you would create this content with a photographer, or you get your whole team together for a picture, or you would shoot product photography. But these times might require a more creative approach since it’s recommended and sometimes mandatory to isolate yourself or stay at home. How can you create content from all of your offices around the globe? How can you create new product photography? Ask your people. Clients, partners, employees. Make it a competition to get creative. The quality of smart phones means that hi-res images or video is a possibility for most people. How are you keeping the wheels turning? What are your team doing to get through it? There is a story to be told here. And award the most creative contribution, the most shared video, the most shared social post, with a gift or recognition. People are at home, sometimes bored. They will go above and beyond to get free stuff.


Now more than ever, businesses need to up their marketing game. It’s the perfect opportunity. With the world in lock down and anxiety about Coronavirus, everyone is glued to their devices like never before looking for something to read, do and engage with. It’s a matter of altering your message to suit the situation and the mood. Normality will return at some point though it’s still too early to tell when. The world will be a different place. Some businesses will have survived and others not. When customers are ready to buy again, they will want to do it from companies that have been on the journey with them. It’s vital to keep channels open, it just needs a different take on life. Talk to us today to discover how Crowd can help you create marketing that’s going to engage and resonate in these uncertain times.

Emma has been leading specialist digital teams in different global markets to deliver a world-class product for clients. She has experience across travel, entertainment, automotive, retail and consumer electronics sectors.

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