Life has changed dramatically over the last few weeks since the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States. Also referred to as the coronavirus pandemic, most Americans have been directed to stay-at-home to minimize the risk of catching or spreading the virus. As a result, non-essential businesses closed their doors - which has led to an eruption of email marketing campaigns so that brands can stay in touch with their customers and fans.
Has your email box been overflowing? Mine certainly has. I have received emails from brands I regularly support - retail brands as well as nonprofit brands, as well as brands that I may never have communicated with via email.
The following resembles the content of the emails that I've received:
BRIGHTON - jewelry brand: Brighton your day. Faith. Hope. Love.
TALBOTS - clothing brand: A love note from your Talbots family - while our retail stores are temporarily closed, we'd love for you to still visit us online.
LOVEPOP - greeting card brand: At Lovepop, our mission is to create one billion magical moments by helping people connect with those that they love. In today's situation of isolation and social distancing, this feels more important than ever.
SKIRBALL - museum brand: It's an unprecedented challenge to serve as a place of meeting when we cannot meet in person. We look forward to welcoming you back. Until that time...we're all in the same boat! By staying safer at home for the common good, let's navigate this storm together. We invite you to #SkirballAtHome. We've compiled new content and resources to help during this time.
LINCOLN - car brand: Doing what we can, where we can. That's the Lincoln way. Nothing is more important than your well-being. And now more than ever, your home is your sanctuary. So, as the COVID-19 virus presents new challenges every day, we're taking steps to minimize direct contact, while making your Lincoln ownership experience as easy and flexible as possible.
CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE - nonprofit brand: When the world needs love, our dogs are there. Staying paws-itive during ruff times. (This nonprofit even provided a link to its puppy cam!)
According to Jeff Beer of FastCompany:
"There seems to be three tiers of brand emails at this point. First, the service message. This is the most important and helpful, the ones that inform us about a change in service, an updated policy, or a relevant discount. It’s the Gap telling you about store closures. It’s airlines keeping you posted on travel restrictions and flight updates. Tier Two is the Brand Friend. This is where brands who have built a direct line of communication with customers feel obligated to at least acknowledge the situation, even if it’s just to say hi with a “We’re all in this together.” The third tier is the seemingly completely random, we-just-happened-to-have-your-email-thanks-for-buying-our-cat-food-three-years-ago message."
In addition, marketing and advertising are changing almost daily. More from Jeff Beer of FastCompany:
"As the spread of COVID-19 began to rapidly increase, sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the NBA began suspending play, and the NCAA made the move to cancel the March Madness basketball tournaments. Ford had planned to boost ongoing campaigns around its Escape and Explorer models with ads during March Madness but now had to alter its approach, and quickly created two new ads that addressed the crisis, launching them just days later. In those spots, the company said that if customers were impacted by COVID-19 and were financing or leasing through Ford Credit, they should contact the company about payment relief. It’s a move that the company routinely does around regional emergencies, like hurricanes and wildfires — but typically doesn’t advertise."So, what has your brand done or will do to make an impact during this crisis? What message has your brand communicated? If your brand does something truly memorable, it might just be regarded as a defining moment for your brand and will be remembered long after the pandemic ends.
Follow along by AdAge: A regularly-updated list tracking marketers' response to coronavirus
See an appropriate cartoon by Tom Fishburne (@TomFishburne on Twitter):
From FastCompany: Why every brand you’ve ever bought something from is sending you coronavirus emails
From FastCompany: ‘We’re all in this together’? Why brands have so little to say in the pandemic
Image Credits: Brighton, Twitter, Budweiser, and Walmart.