PART III: YOUR AUDIENCE IS CHANGING. HERE'S WHY THAT MATTERS MORE THAN EVER.
In a three-part series, MMGY Global provides the essential takeaways of your marketing communication strategy in a time of crisis.
In part one, we discuss why brands must embrace their humanity to create emotional connections with audiences. In part two, we explain how data needs social context in order to anticipate the markers of recovery phases. Armed with that information, there is a third essential component to creating a multiphased crisis communication strategy: remaining true to your audience as you identify which key selling points will encourage them to return.
As we help develop your recovery strategy, going back to the basics can be an effective way to plan what selling points to emphasize and when to deploy those tactics. For example:
What are the financial and social impacts of COVID-19 on your target audience?
Nothing will alienate consumers faster than appearing tone deaf in a time of crisis. It’s important to be empathetic to your audience’s current sentiments toward travel and meeting those needs rather than presenting out-of-reach, aspirational-only content.
Have you identified audiences that align with each phase of recovery?
As our data has consistently shown, the first wave of leisure travel will be among drive markets and regional travel. Travelers feel safer getting into their own cars rather than trains or planes, and plans to visit parks and beaches are outpacing other types of destinations. As travel restrictions loosen in the early phase of recovery, reaching those markets can be your lifeline to long-term success.
Does your destination or product have features that cater to audience needs?
Even as the pent-up demand for travel is being unleashed, many potential travelers – whether they’re coming from close-to-home drive markets or long-haul fly markets – will continue to be concerned about being in enclosed or high-density spaces. A typically congested city or inside attraction will have to market much differently than more wide-open places. Perhaps that means reallocating budgets to highlight outlying neighborhoods or partnering with adjacent communities – getting people into one destination but encouraging them to explore farther than they have before. Or perhaps it means shifting the focus from the attraction itself to show how the experience will evolve due to new social distancing guidelines.
How nimble is your communication plan?
Recovery within communities will happen in phases, but it may also be in fits and starts. Not every small business will survive; front desks may have to work with a slimmed-down staff or reduced hours; and many places may be required to operate with less capacity. Remaining transparent and keeping consumers informed with up-to-date resources will go a long way in building trust and a better experience when they arrive.
Will your audience be confident in your brand?
Whether you’re targeting short-term, close-to-home leisure travelers or planning ahead for larger-scale corporate travel, consumer safety is the first and foremost priority. Our research has shown that having a sense of security over health and safety is much more important than the desire for good deals, which should be a major factor in developing your communication strategy.
Every client is facing a unique set of circumstances, but the good news is that means each one has unique opportunities. Our strategy always has been, and will continue to be, to analyze the details and develop a clear, resonant voice that stands apart – and ultimately – rises above the rest.