Best Practices for Marketing Creative During Crisis

During an unprecedented pandemic, it’s imperative your brand does not appear tone-deaf to the situation.  As we’ve mentioned in our previous COVID-19 posts, brands who go quiet throughout a crisis can find themselves lost in the frenzy when consumers reemerge. As you continue to communicate with your key audiences during this critical time, it’s important that your creative is reflective of and empathetic to the current reality and consumer challenges. Below you’ll find three tips to help guide your direct marketing creative through the coronavirus crisis.

Assess, then reassess

The pandemic announcement has led to a life of shutdown and seclusion around the globe. Just as the conditions of this culture shift are reflective of your consumer behavior, they should also be reflective in your creative collateral. When an IPSOS survey asked consumers how they want brands to make them feel during the COVID-19 outbreak, 37% of respondents desire a sense of security, and 32% are looking for positivity. Consider how your brand can defuse tensions and anxiety to add a little joy and comfort to your customer’s immediate situation.

By conducting a sensitivity audit of your current and upcoming creative in both online and offline channels, you can ensure your campaigns are conscious and meaningful. Consider:

  • What can be delayed for post-pandemic messaging? Just because the campaign isn’t right today, doesn’t mean it won’t be right for the future. Shelve anything that could be considered insensitive.
  • What can be shifted or adjusted? Consider simple copy or image modifications, or even moving up a campaign timeline or product launch that is relevant or valuable for today’s audience.
  • What new opportunities are available? What is your brand’s unique solution or value that you can provide in the immediate future that wasn’t a former priority? How can you bring value and enhance our new way of life for your customers and community?
  • What channel or strategy is right for you to stay connected in the present, or how can you prepare to renew connections in the future?

With the situation evolving daily, keeping your marketing strategy flexible will allow for continued assessments and adjustments as needed.

Comb your content

You’ve heard this before: context is everything. This is especially true during intense and unfamiliar circumstances as you strive to help your consumers find regularity amidst the chaos. As you comb your content, be mindful of:

  • Tone. Be authentic and sincere. Now is a great time to let your brand’s mission guide your direct marketing content.
  • Copy. Steer clear of dramatic language. Keep your statements light, informative and positive. If applicable, urge your audience to comply with governmental regulations and safeguards and avoid sharing contradictory information or opinions.
  • Offers. The coronavirus outbreak is a distressing situation across the world – avoid offers that may appear opportunistic, urgent or arrogant as they may tarnish your brand reputation and customer trust. Rather, focus on offers that can assist, or even enhance, today’s home life.

Examine your imagery

The human brain takes less than a second to process visuals, making images and graphics an incredibly powerful marketing communication tool. In many cases, now is an appropriate time to tell a relatable and calming story through your visual elements.

Consider taking a break from high-energy photographs, colors, extreme angles and extravagant design elements or print coating treatments. Rather, help your audience feel more connected to your piece and brand by embracing soothing color tones and imagery that reflects positivity and tranquility. Consider:

  • Brightly lit photography.
  • People with natural and easy facial expressions.
  • Relaxed or family-focused lifestyles and settings.

Most importantly, ensure all your imagery is attentive to social distancing and quarantine guidelines.


As we navigate this unparalleled time together, our goal is to provide insight and tools to help direct marketers and brands overcome this unanticipated challenge. SeQuel Response is working closely with our clients to design, develop and deliver positive, reassuring direct mail, digital strategy and creative into the homes of our quarantined audiences. If you have any questions regarding your direct marketing program amid COVID-19, we are here to help. You can also find more articles about direct marketing best practices and strategy during COVID-19 on our blog.


Posted 4.3.2020