Post-Lockdown PR Plan: Adapt Public Sentiment, Add Local Touch & Prepare Recovery Strategy

The pandemic is not over but most lockdowns are. The demand for online shopping has skyrocketed due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced many to be homebound for long periods of time. To match this growth in e-commerce and make the most of it, it is imperative that businesses rethink their pre-pandemic digital PR strategies to attract and engage with the new wave of customers, who are able to buy anything online, without having to leave their homes. Even with the easing of the lockdown, many are preferring to avoid crowded stores due to the fear of catching the virus, and this shift in the consumer behavior pattern is here to stay.

In the latest Twitter poll, W7Worldwide asked our followers: What is your COVID-19 post-lockdown PR strategy? The answers were divided: Out of 489 votes, 18.4% of people polled in English and 18.1% in Arabic chose “Adapt Public Sentiment,” while 22.1% of English voters and 8.3% of Arabic voters picked “Add Local Touch.” Moreover, 22.1% of English voters and 20.2% of Arabic voters selected “Prepare Recovery Strategy” while 37.8% of English voters and 53.9% of Arabic voters chose “All of the Above.” While the English poll results were clearly split, more than half of those polled in Arabic said they would incorporate a combination of all three elements in their PR strategy.

Adapt Public Sentiment
The poll confirms the need identified by businesses and retailers to adapt their digital PR strategies to these fast evolving times, when millions of livelihoods have undergone drastic transformation and the concept of what’s newsworthy and what’s not has changed in the past few months. With almost every other piece of news being about COVID-19, companies can create content that can serve as a refreshing distraction from the gloom and doom of the world, while still being helpful, relevant and informative. Brands can share interesting, uplifting stories providing an insight into the latest trends while also being mindful of the fact that people’s incomes and consequently their spending power have taken a hit. Companies should not sound tone-deaf in the process of marketing themselves, instead they should build their brand by spreading positivity, which can generate backlinks to their website and eventually sales.

Add Local Touch
A brand’s target audience belongs to a particular city, country or a region. To attract their attention, companies should localize their content to make the audience feel at home. This can be done in a number of ways: Brands can use languages, colors and themes specific to the target audience, share culturally-sensitive content, highlight helpful links and initiatives in the region, share success stories of those working to mitigate the impact of the crisis and anything else that will help to make a connection with the consumers. This also includes enlisting the help of local influencers, particularly micro-influencers, and celebrities to promote a brand’s various offerings.

Prepare Recovery Strategy
A recovery strategy should include the necessary measures that would ensure business continuity, such as revamping the website to provide the best user experience, improving on SEO (search engine optimization) to drive more traffic to the website, reaching out to customers using data analytics and customized ads, and others. The content should reflect the changing interests of people. Google Trends is a good place to begin with; the website by Google analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. Even if you intend to use your pre-pandemic planned strategy with a few tweaks, make sure that it is mindful of the current times and not insensitive. Also, remember not to overdo it. Aggressive marketing in the name of COVID-19 may end up looking like one is exploiting the crisis to make a quick buck.