Anyone who knows me knows I say that a lot, but given the current state of the world, I could use one more than ever — and it’s not possible.
Like many of you, I’m entering week three of practicing social distancing alone in my one-bedroom apartment. While not lonely per se (the internet certainly helps keep that at bay with memes and social media challenges galore), I am anxious and overwhelmed.
I’ve also grown tired of hearing people say we’re in “unprecedented times,” but, unfortunately, this is true.
Many of us today have never seen something force the entire world to hit pause the way the coronavirus (or COVID-19) has, so not knowing how to react is understandable.
Being a marketer or business during this time only adds another layer to the confusion.
How do you continue your marketing and business efforts while still being sensitive to your buyer’s current state of mind? How can you meet their needs? How can you still offer value?
Frankly, I think the golden rule still applies:
Market to others the way you want to be marketed to.
How do you provide customer value during a pandemic?
From 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. starting on March 19, the grocery chain opened its doors only to shoppers over the age of 60.
This was done in an effort to help older shoppers stock up on their essentials while avoiding the crowds and chaos of normal hours that may put them at higher risk of exposure.
Do you run an essential business? Consider adjusting your business hours as possible to make it easier for the elderly (or buyers in general) to stay safe.
Even if not essential, offer more services over the phone or over a video conference. Arrange for free delivery or hands-free take out or shopping. (Note: Even CVS is now offering free prescription delivery.)
These are small, but substantial changes that will make customers feel more comfortable going about normal business.
2. Donate your time and resources
Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, medical masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are like gold right now, but those most in need — hospitals and healthcare professionals — are seeing the biggest shortage.
As a result, many businesses are looking at their skills and resources to figure out how they can help.
Breweries and distilleries across the country, like Litchfield Distillers in Connecticut for example, are using their resources to produce and bottle 130-proof alcohol to be used to disinfect surfaces.
The bottles are free of charge to everyone, but the team is prioritizing essential businesses, first responders, and medical groups.
But you don’t have to be a big budget production or organization to lend a hand.
At the very start of the coronavirus outbreak, IMPACT purchased four large bottles of hand sanitizer for use at our New Haven headquarters.
Now that we’ve gone entirely remote for the time being, we’ve donated the bottles to the local Yale Medical ICU:
Shortly before that, IMPACT client Litchfield Builders pledged 200 N95 respirator masks to the New Haven Police Department to help our local officers protect themselves against the spread of the virus:
See what supplies you may have around your office or that your resources can help produce and consider donating them to a local organization in need.
3. Support essential workers
While not all of us may have PPE (or equipment to make it) handy, we can still show our support of essential workers.
Millions of healthcare, grocery, restaurant, law enforcement, and other workers across the country do not have the option of staying home. They have to go out and put themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus everyday.
Though there’s not much any of us can do to limit that, we can do our part to make their lives easier in other ways.
But classes aren’t the only thing being disrupted.
For many children from lower income families, school normally provides them with breakfast and lunch, two meals they would not have otherwise.
To fulfill this need (and help parents who may not be able to provide meals even if home), sandwich chain Jersey Mike’s is providing free lunch for 700 students in Glastonbury, Connecticut during school closures.
Even music icon Elton John hosted the iHeart Living Room Concert for America online and on FOX to raise money for FeedingAmerica and the First Responders Children’s Foundation.
Whatever your gift or service, now is the time to find a way to share it with your community in any way you can.
Again, even if what your business does cannot directly help those suffering from COVID-19, your thoughts, effort, and support can make a difference.
It’s not just business as usual...
If you're in the position to give back to the communities you call home or your community as a whole, do so.
The coronavirus favors no one. We’re all in this together and only by working together and helping one another today will we get back up and running stronger than ever tomorrow.
Even if the suggestions above don’t seem realistic for your organization, perhaps consider donating a portion of your profits to coronavirus research and relief like Skims and Popsockets, collecting donations for food banks, or supporting blood drives.
No effort is too small. At IMPACT, we’re dedicating our time to helping our clients and readers like you navigate this trying economy.