How Brands are Adjusting Their Messaging During COVID-19

By Philip BerardoApr 09, 2020


marketing team at table discussing messaging with laptop, whiteboard, and notebooks

image credit: Jacob Lund/

As we do our best to adjust to working from home, social distancing, and prioritizing our health, there are still many obstacles we must overcome. Some of these challenges revolve around proper messaging—especially from brands. For those in the marketing industry, sending the right message at the right time is more crucial than ever. You don’t want to neglect the significance of COVID-19 and keep your prospects and customers in the dark about how your company’s brand is handling the situation. Here are a few ways that brands are adjusting their messaging during COVID-19.

More brands are expressing empathy and trust in their messaging

When it comes to your brand messaging during COVID-19, it’s important to keep in mind how your company’s tone sounds. This is not the time to push a sale, and it’s certainly not the time for spreading fear as a means of marketing. Maintaining trust in your brand will be vital to demonstrate to your customers and clients that you are here for them during this difficult time. According to a recent report from Edelman1 regarding brand response to coronavirus, there are a number of notable steps your company should be taking:

  • Stay active and keep your brand’s voice heard. The last thing you’d want to do is abandon your audience and go radio silent!
  • Collaborative efforts and a sense of togetherness will help your clients feel encouraged to work together through these uncertain times. 
  • Keep your focus on solving problems rather than making a sale. Provide solutions that will help your audience without the extra push of selling. If a sale comes out of your efforts, great! However, this should not be your priority.
  • Compassion and understanding is something all brands should strive to display. Share updates with your clients; let them know that they are important to you and that you care about them.

In this report1, key data shows that 83% of those surveyed feel that brands must display empathy and support to those whom the pandemic has affected most. Additionally, 60% are turning only to brands they can absolutely trust at this time—in another survey, 65% even felt the way a brand responds to COVID-19 will have a major impact on whether or not they continue to support that brand in the future. 

Brands are steering away from casual, humorous tones on social media 

Social media can be a great way to communicate with your brand’s audience and share meaningful content with them. Unfortunately, it’s also an easy way to make the mistake of not properly “reading the mood.” In other words, this is not the right time for humor and wit on your company’s social media page. Save any weekly marketer memes for a later occasion, and avoid posts that could potentially offend someone or belittle the significance of COVID-19.

This is a serious situation, and brands need to adjust their tone accordingly. It’s important to know, however, that you don't need to be grim or somber in order to maintain a serious tone—positivity helps keep everyone’s spirits up. This also applies to the content that your company is sharing on social media, including any shares from third-party articles. It helps to re-read the content you’re sharing at least twice—each time paying close attention to the tone of the piece and if it could be seen as insensitive. In your content and brand messaging, consider using words such as “connect, respond, contribute, together, and team,” while avoiding words such as “advantage, competition, and profit.”

Does your company have an effective plan for its brand messaging during COVID-19? If you have any questions regarding how to approach these uncertain times, please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help.

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1 Edelman, Richard. “TRUST BAROMETER SPECIAL REPORT: BRAND TRUST AND THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC.” Edelman. Posted March 30, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
The full report may be found at

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