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Pivoting Your Marketing Message in the Wake of COVID-19

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has proved just how quickly brands must be ready to react and pivot their marketing message to acclimate to a rapidly changing world. 

As a marketing team that invests a great deal of time and effort into crafting new ad campaigns, one of your primary objectives is to ensure that your efforts leave a lasting impact on your audience by being relevant, resonant, and delivering your brand story with a sense of urgency and timeliness. 

While capitalizing on media trends can be a dynamic way to engage with your target market, and may be a successful tactic if it aligns with your brand’s persona, a strong marketing message typically boils down to your brand’s ability to ‘read the room.’ That is, to present your message in a way that proves to your audience that you have a nuanced understanding of the greater emotional climate that your audience is currently immersed in, and to make it appear that you have customized your message so that it speaks directly to them. 

The importance for a marketing team to be able to think on its feet and instantly launch or pivot a marketing message based on unforeseen circumstances has become clearer than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crafting Your Marketing Message

Whether you are crafting your marketing message anew, or have been forced to pivot in light of unanticipated events, the fundamentals of crafting your message remain the same.

Your marketing message includes both the content of the message you impart to your audience, as well as how you say it to them. It should be crafted with the intention of eliciting a certain response, which will necessarily involve your customers engaging with your brand in some capacity. 

However, beyond being a mere CTA prompting consumers to buy from you, your marketing message should align with and further the brand story that has been interwoven throughout all of your external communications. As Uhuru Network outlines, a digital marketing message ought to “convert skeptical outsiders into supportive insiders.”

Marketing messages can be found at the core of ad campaigns, telephone greetings, social media posts, and any other channel your brand uses to communicate with your audience. 

Main Components of a Strong Marketing Message

As you map out the message driving your next marketing campaign, here are a few essential components that you’re sure to find at the core of any winning marketing message:

Cut straight to the point

A robust marketing message doesn’t beat around the bush. Open with a punchy hook that instantly captures your audience’s attention, and then strive to maintain that attention all throughout the duration of your campaign. 

Speak directly to your customer

Before you can construct a worthwhile marketing message, you need to know who you’re talking to. After you’ve identified who your customers are by breaking down their central personas, then you’ll be able to communicate with your audience as if you’re one of their peers, as opposed to an amorphous brand. Identify your customer’s problem, then casually explain why your brand’s offerings provide the solution to it. 

Don’t be afraid to communicate in your singular voice

You need to distinguish yourself from your competitors. As part of your message, you should announce—whether explicitly or implicitly—what sets you apart from the competition that your consumers may be considering. What makes you stand out amidst a crowded market? What is your distinct value proposition? Done proficiently, and saying something new in your brand’s unique tone of voice will boost consumer ability to recollect your brand

Pivoting Your Marketing Message 

When the global pandemic struck, the way society operates changed almost overnight. As a result, marketers were forced to acknowledge that the consumers they were aiming to reach were no longer in the same headspace, or economic situation, that they had been in only weeks prior when their brand’s marketing message was originally conceived.

Take ad campaigns as an example. Advertising campaigns can be planned many months in advance. A whole team of strategic creatives come together to meet a specific need and tell their brand story in a particular way. Ad campaigns are also typically expensive to produce.

In the wake of COVID-19, marketing teams either ran the risk of missing deadlines and dissembling their original plan by forgoing their ad campaign entirely, or, on the other hand, risked appearing insensitive and out of touch by circulating commercials, digital banners, and email campaigns that emphasized in-store offers, or showcased visuals of crowds mingling or busy office settings, all sights that no longer resonated in a time when the majority of the world’s population is in quarantine. Ignoring the pandemic and the way it altered daily life for the average consumer is not an option. 

Or if you look at brands shifting their product offerings during a time of crisis, such as a clothing company making masks or a telehealth line focusing on COVID-19 calls, their marketing messages need to align with their new offerings. It’s vital that the information they are putting out in the world is in good taste (remember to read the room) and accurately reflects the brand offerings. 

Using the Power of Voice Over to Pivot 

Voice over is the greatest tool that marketers can seize to pivot their messaging.

Voices explored the power of voice over to influence commercials with a project that showcased various styles of voice over delivering the same script and juxtaposed with the same visuals. We found that voice over harbored the potential to modify the meaning of stock footage based on what was being said and the voice that delivered the message. 

Here are a handful of the many ways that you can use voice over to reorient and revitalize your communications, and connect with your audiences in an intimate capacity during an unprecedented period:

Recycle visuals from a pre-existing ad campaign

If your team has already gone to the effort of producing a polished ad campaign—like a commercial produced for broadcast on network TV, or an internet video meant to live on digital platforms—you don’t need to let that carefully constructed footage go to waste. Instead, you can pair the ad’s visuals with a brand new voice over narration. The voice over script and the tone of the vocal delivery can change the entire story being told, and gives your brand the opportunity to address the pandemic in a way that feels right for your brand’s personality. 

Whether this ad campaign consists of a fresh commercial that you were planning to publish for the first time, or an older commercial that you have dug up from your library, all you need to do is rewrite a script to align with the visuals that takes into consideration the current global context and where your customers are at emotionally.

Use stock footage paired with voice over 

Assembling a production team to venture out into the world and shoot original footage for a new commercial isn’t much of an option given physical distancing guidelines. The film and television production sectors have altered their workflow, while consumers remain glued to their screens, consuming more content than ever. This is a perfect time to circulate new marketing assets that many eyes will land on, but at the same time, it’s nearly impossible to record new footage.

That’s where voice over comes in. When you’re barred from going outside with actors and a camera crew, consider taking advantage of what’s already out there by compiling stock footage. Under other circumstances, stock footage spliced together may not make for the most dynamic, distinctive way to tell your personalized brand story. But when you get creative, overlaying some simple visuals with a captivating voice over narration can be all you need to convey your revised message and show your audience how you are responding to the pandemic. 

Take a look at this heartfelt Heineken ad produced by Publicis Italy that uses a voice actor reciting a poem to poignantly tap into the current situation:

Leverage the Emotional Power of Voice

The human voice is the perfect tool brands can use to connect with their audience. The human voice has the power to provoke sympathy, instil hope, and connect with individuals on a profound, human level. In a period of crisis when your audiences are likely experiencing a vast array of emotions, delivering your marketing message through a voice that meets them at the level they’re currently at will show your audiences that you care, and that you’re with them during this uncertain time. 

Studies have shown that listeners often gravitate most toward voices that reflect how they are feeling. When you’re hiring a voice actor to perform the script for your marketing message during a sensitive time, you may want to put out a casting call in search of vocal qualities that are calming, caring, nurturing, softspoken, soothing, or sympathetic.

On the other hand, you may set out to inspire your audience by casting a voice that is bold, brave, confident, strong, or uplifting

Connect With Your Audience Using Voice Over

When you sign up for Voices, you’ll gain instant access to our vast roster of global voice talent, so that you can start searching for the perfect voice to impart your marketing message and bring your project to life.

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  • Avatar for shenbagaraman
    May 17, 2020, 10:01 am

    I am using Voices for the first time in your browser. I am excited for my job!

  • Avatar for Bolatito50
    August 10, 2020, 8:46 am

    This is my first time on this voice actor
    How will I work

    • Avatar for Oliver Skinner
      Oliver Skinner
      August 11, 2020, 10:38 am

      Hey Solomon,

      When you sign up for a Voices talent account, you can begin auditioning for voice over jobs that are listed on our platform.