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Finding a balance during uncertain times

Social distancing is our new normal. Working remotely. Washing our hands. Keeping a six-foot distance from others. Elbow bumps. Isolation. This is jarring for all of us and collectively we are adjusting on the fly and rallying behind a common mantra of “flattening the curve.” Media – national and local news, social media, newspapers and websites, in particular – is what keeps us connected, united and together. The path forward is uncertain and can be overwhelming, trying to find a balance between business objectives and public health.

Through our work with our client partners in recent days, we have noticed a significant surge in our collective humanity and compassion. This is particularly true in outreach to media partners, who have been very flexible and willing to waive typical cancellation clauses. CCF is here to help you navigate these trying times with strategic council as consumer mindsets and habits are adjusting.

Early reports during this crisis are aligning with historical statistics of how consumers adjust during crisis situations. Nielsen published this overview, which highlighted specific events and their local market impact on media consumption habits.

The example below shows a 56% increase in TV use in August 2017 during Hurricane Harvey. Locals were consuming much of what we are these days – binging shows, catching up on movies and keeping up with the news.

Additionally, for COVID-19 specifically, we are seeing that both South Korea and Italy have seen similar spikes in media consumption when the virus began to spread in February, which is where we are right now.

Consumption is just one piece of the puzzle for marketers. Mindset is the other, and critical at times like this. Brands, now more than ever, need to recognize their place and be respectful as consumer stress and anxiety levels are peaking. A combination of news and escapism is what consumers are craving and that volley is like a tennis match for everyone.

Straight-forward, honest and transparent information is true of journalism right now (facts, not fear) and the approach we recommend for any COVID-19 related updates. Be clear with both placement and positioning of messaging and leverage easily accessible connection platforms – your website, email list, social media, etc. – to share updates, information and news clearly and concisely.

Brands playing the role of a distraction, escape or coach through paid media amplification can win the hearts and minds of consumers in the longer term. Winning the share of voice now, without being overtly salesy, expresses confidence and stability in times of uncertainty.

Threading this needle, though, is a difficult challenge. As always, our team is available to determine your brand’s best course of action during these times both professionally and personally.


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