A Business Owner's Perspective: Not Wanting to Advertise During Times of Struggle

Erin Mahoney

Erin Mahoney About The Author

Apr 5, 2021 11:30:00 AM

A Business Owner's Perspective: Not Wanting to Advertise During Times of Struggle

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone over the past year in one way or another, including business owners trying to navigate these unprecedented times. Many have struggled with the question of whether to continue advertising. They don't want to waste funds or appear insensitive to people even though they rely on advertising to bring in new customers and keep their business going.

While advertising during a pandemic is undoubtedly tricky, there are ways to make it work. Let's discuss a few things to keep in mind as you develop your ad creative and continue to grow your business during times of struggle.

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There is a Tasteful Way to Advertise

Screen Shot 2021-03-31 at 10.13.13 AMYou shouldn't stop your marketing efforts altogether because of hard times. At the same time, your ad creative must be in good taste. 

The Corona beer brand furnishes a cautionary tale in this regard. Near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company made it clear that they would not adjust their ad creative because of their brand name's close proximity to the virus. As a result, they published ads that many criticized as being of poor taste. Their approval rating and stock plummeted, and months later, the company still hadn't learned from its mistake.

In contrast, several companies were willing to quickly adapt their ad creative to the public’s general mood. From grocery stores to food manufacturers to insurance carriers, these brands kept their advertising plans in operation without appearing tasteless or hard-hearted.

You want to adjust your advertising to account for how people are thinking and feeling during these times of distress. Instead of being "tone-deaf," it's essential to understand your target customers’ concerns and the challenges they face. Then, you can develop ads that will be tasteful, empathetic, and effective.

Show Your Sensitivity to What's Happening

Many companies found advertising success by directly or indirectly addressing the pandemic and its effects on daily life. The toilet paper brand, Cottonelle, directly addressed the pandemic by appealing to shared generosity. They started their #ShareASquare campaign and partnered with United Way to donate to their recovery fund, which helps people through this time. Whether you should tackle the issue head-on, address it subtly, or ignore it depends on your product, brand, and audience. Nevertheless, you can still demonstrate your sensitivity to customer concerns as you work on your next ad campaign.

Spread Positivity and Encouragement to Your Customers

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You can use the development of your next marketing campaign as an opportunity to foster a positive outlook within your consumer base by encouraging them. Thank your customers for all that they do, and now is a better time to do so than ever before.

Many companies have pivoted to inspirational ads during the pandemic. If it's appropriate for your brand to do so, consider whether you should follow suit. Everyone needs a little encouragement now and again. Your customers will gain a deeper appreciation for your brand if they receive that little "boost of the spirit" from one of your ads.

Don't Stop Advertising During Tough Times

You must keep your advertising momentum going through the tough times. After all, how else will prospective customers learn about your brand? 

Granted, it can be a tightrope act for ad development during a pandemic, or any other widespread disaster, for that matter. You'll have to avoid several pitfalls, such as seeming insensitive or publishing ads that leave a bad impression on viewers. 

On the other hand, these challenging times may present an opportunity for your business to position itself as a community-oriented brand that wants to make a difference. By leveraging all marketing channels available to you, whether TV, digital, or other avenues, you'll be able to promote brand awareness for your business while simultaneously encouraging your customers and lifting their spirits.

You're not alone in this dilemma of determining whether or not to advertise during hard times. Thousands of business owners have struggled with the idea of continuous advertising during hard times, and many are still struggling. At the same time, many of these business owners have successfully found a balance between promotion and positivity, marketing their product while being empathetic to their consumers. 

With some forethought, proper planning, and expert collaboration, you too can experience a good outcome from your advertising efforts. Partnering with an experienced media partner can help you accomplish your goals successfully with little risk to your reputation and less stress on your part.

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Topics: Marketing ROI, COVID-19