This is not the first time that the advertising industry has had to deal with an unprecedented global situation that resulted in major challenges for brands and agencies. Throughout, major brands have become staples within American culture, and this is not the time for them to abandon their customers — this is the time for them to support people, reinforce what optimism there is and help customers navigate what is going on. And while there is an air of uncertainty, and the space needs to be approached with care and sensitivity,  we know challenging times often result in innovation. This is the opportunity for brands to develop new approaches to reach their consumers.

Here are three things that brands should consider: 

Don’t cut off communication with your consumers

This is not the time to abandon consumers. Keep reaching out to your consumers, whether it be to share new product offerings, knowledge on how to stay safe or just to offer a comforting message. It’s important to remain in contact with your customers so your brand doesn’t end up being forgotten. People will have a more positive sentiment towards a brand that was able to provide them with value during this period. Ultimately, the industry will bounce back and brands will need to be in a position where they are ready to react and not ramping up from scratch. 

Take a more localized approach

While your customers may not be heading out in droves to retail shops or shopping malls, that doesn’t mean they aren’t shopping. Where it is safe, brands can encourage customers into their stores by targeting people within a 5-minute walk of your store so they don’t take public transport to get there. Target your messaging based on location so you can share local opening hours and any delivery services. You could even work with a partner to develop new creative ad formats that let customers know if you have what they need as they walk past.

Additionally, during this time we can look to focus on awareness campaigns in local markets or driving consumers to online stores and sites. 

Personal screens will be more important than ever

People are changing their daily habits and lifestyles drastically at this time. Consumers will not be attending large scale outings or events, or in places like NYC even grabbing a bite to eat at the local cafe but we know that their smartphones are not going anywhere.  If anything, we’re going to see more time spent with mobile as people are trying to keep informed, check-in with loved ones and distract themselves. This is the key channel to reach consumers and should be reinforced during this time. Brands should harness this pattern of consumption shift.