As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we created a Marketing Wiki, full of insights and resources for marketing during a crisis. One of the tools we included was our Three Phase Crisis Planning Framework, which we’ve found very useful for planning with our clients over the last month or so.
The worksheet is broken into three phases. You can make estimates on timing or leave it more vague.
In each phase, your community will have different needs, based on what they’re currently experiencing. You can also use this framework as a jumping off point to brainstorm around your customer journey.
Phase one: The unknown
The last 8-10 weeks have been a rollercoaster, without much sense of what is up or down. There’s been a lot of uncertainty, and people have been looking for security and reassurance.
Many brands have reflected this in their (eerily similar) messaging.
We think the best Phase One pivots are the ones that are uniquely true and authentic to the brand - and create true value.
Some great Phase One examples we’ve seen:
- Show we’re all in this together - Potbelly Sandwhich’s lunch break video
- Give people the things they want at home - Shake Shack’s DIY Burger Kits
- Incentivize people to stay safe while supporting their team - NBA’S Team Branded Masks
- Help make change in the word with an ionic assembly line - Ford Commits to Manufacturing Medical Equipment.
We still don’t know when shelter-in-place will ease up, but we’re feeling optimistic and are starting to plan Phase Two now. So we got the team together to workshop some ways that our clients can make a difference in phase two and three.
Phase two: Planning and hope
Phase two is when people begin to look past the present situation and see a viable ending. What will happen? How will the world change? What can we do now to create a great future?
The consumer needs in phase one were security and reassurance, but phase two is more about control. How can we take back control over our lives? We asked ourselves a few questions to get the ideas flowing.
The key is to put yourself into the mindset of your customer, and think about what might improve their experience, or resonate. These ideas can be big or small.
What events are coming up in the next few months?
- Mother’s Day: What if brands came up with unique ways to celebrate mothers during this time. Are there ways to bring people together, or create special gifts?
- Summer: How can we make this summer more exciting?
- Back-to-school: Will this be the biggest back to school ever? What will back-to-school look like this fall?
What makes these events different from normal years?
- Limited travel: Will Camping and Glamping be a big hit this summer? What about summer road-trip planning?
- Can’t get together in large groups: Are there ways to bring people together while maintaining social distance?
What are people yearning for right now?
- Human connection
- Something to look forward to
- Things to do
Taking these insights, we were able to quickly come up with some ideas. Here are few of our favorites:
- Unique Mother’s Day gifts that ship pre-wrapped with hand-written notes.
- DIY kits for summer products, such as: tie-dyed t-shirts or backpacks (inspired by our client Lizzzie Fortunado’s very successful DIY Jewelry Kit.)
- Personal styling for first-day outfits. Can apparel and accessory brands provide a unique service to build excitement?
- Social Distancing Summer Bucket-list. Can we create activities or spark ideas for a fun summer 2020?
Phase three: Adjustment hill
We don’t know when life will go back to normal, but we know there will be a time of adjustment. Phase three happens when people are re-entering the world again. But things will be different. There will still be masks, social-distancing and a lot of hand sanitizer. There won’t be baseball games, big BBQs or live concerts.
How can brands make the world feel more normal - bringing back a sense of routine, space and cleanliness? Here we asked questions that we don’t yet know the answers to.
How will people shop?
- Private shopping appointments
- Tech-enabled/private changing rooms
- New ways to do curbside pick-up
- Contactless payment strategies
How will people stay safe?
- Masks as fashion - something we’re already seeing from brands
- People may be spending more time staying in the car. Will the “drive-in” have a resurgence?
- Creative ways to measure distance? (Snapchat has a 6ft filter now.) Are there other ways to measure distance?
What will social gatherings and restaurants look like?
- Separating customers
- Creating waitlists
- Smaller gatherings with people spread out
- Walkie talkies?
Some of the ideas we liked from Phase Three:
- Allowing people to schedule private shopping sessions
- Enabling customers to select items they want to try online and have a private dressing room ready
- Garden igloos for outdoor restaurants or to separate customers
- Rewards for customers who bring their extra canned goods to donate
How you can use the planning worksheet:
You can easily see how the ideas can just keep coming, especially when you consider your unique brand and offerings. Even if none of these ideas come to fruition, a remote team workshop is great way to engage your team and work together.
- Set up a one hour remote team workshop.
- Customize the customer mindsets and needs to your brand.
- Encourage everyone on the team to share even the craziest ideas - nothing is off the table yet!
- With 5-10 minutes left, allow everyone to place a marker by their favorites on a collaborative document. We used Google Slides.
- Decide if any of these ideas :
- will resonate with your customers
- are feasible
- are affordable
- Get to work!