Nearly every US business has been affected by the Coronavirus. We’ve touched on this with another recent blog – where we noted that successful advertisers are changing their marketing messages nationwide in response to the COVID-19 situation.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the changes being made by the most experienced marketing professionals, and the operational changes happening at the most influential organizations. As always, feel free to reach out to our branding experts at Onstage if you’d like to learn more.

Company Actions Are the Best Advertising – Let’s Focus on Health, Safety, and Community Goodwill

You may have noticed that we write about auto brands regularly in our blogs, and dominant fast food chains too. That’s because these industries have astonishing advertising budgets, brilliant marketing teams, and nationwide (or global) presence.

  • They employ the world’s marketing masters by the hundreds, providing observers with many thousands of years of combined marketing experience.

One thing these American marketing gurus always do during troubling times is to solidify their message of family, safety and patriotic community.

General Motors Response

General Motors (GM) is a longstanding – even historic – American brand we’re sure you know. Setting auto sales entirely aside for the moment, they have committed to manufacture 1.5 million masks and 10,000 much-needed ventilators monthly to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.

  • Addressing the global shortage of personal protective equipment(PPE) further, GM has tasked it’s massive global procurement departments to find more PPE and more supplies.
  • They’ve also provided free OnStar Crisis assistance to current GM vehicle owners for the time being.

We realize that not every organization has the resources or scope of GM. Still, their actions can be a positive motivator for all of us in business, and a proud example for the American public. We’re all cheering for them!

Ford’s Response to No March Madness

Ford had a peppy campaign planned for it’s usual March Madness (basketball tournament) advertising this season. But the tournament’s been canceled due to COVID-19.

The current cultural climate in the US wouldn’t accept lighthearted advertising. Ford has replaced those peppy commercials with financial relief awareness, as they offer temporary relief of loan payments for Ford owners.

Some of Ford’s new taglines are:

  • Built Ford Proud
  • Built for Right Now
  • Built to Lend a Hand

Again, we must point out, the businesses that come through COVID-19 best will make efforts to manage their marketing campaigns dynamically, never pulling them.

Some Good News: Many American Businesses Are Flourishing

This blog says it well: “some companies have seen soaring growth due to COVID-19. The publicly traded video conferencing platform Zoom… has seen its stock rise, as have delivery services as most Americans try to ‘shelter in place.'”

  • Some larger organizations – like pet-products supplier Chewy, and meal kit company Blue Apron, have been blindsided by surging sales over the past weeks.
  • A tremendous boost in online shopping an eCommerce sales may continue, as a home-bound audience expects a significant stimulus check.

Ultimately, the advertising landscape is changing rapidly, and supply chains are stressed, which leads us to our final point.

Advertisers Should Seek to Build Their Brand – Not Move Specific Products

Throughout the past decade’s we’ve occasionally experienced supply chain struggles, though nothing like what we’re coping with today. Around the globe:

  • ships are stuck at sea
  • containers are sitting untouched
  • freight and logistics companies are overwhelmed
  • raw materials, plants and workers are being diverted for medical device manufacturing

It would be a mistake to market specific products that cannot be immediately replenished. Even long-time customers will turn to your competitors for products they ordered but never received. It’s better to be upfront about stocking struggles and provide a positive message of health and safety.

Here at Onstage, our products are luxury-level advertising media like program books for the performing arts, and digital signage at luxury venues. Contact us to talk more about how companies are changing their focus for COVID-19, or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Related Reading & Resources: How Companies Are Changing Track to Fight COVID-19 Coronavirus Small Business Guide Blog: Advertising Vs Coronavirus: Part One – Ad Tech The Advertising Industry Must Act Now to Combat the Coronavirus


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