The best type of marketing in tough times

Uncategorized Aug 18, 2021

How do you market during tough times? When you know your audience is overwhelmed, distracted, and tuned out? While there is often the tendency to switch-off and leave people alone, there is a for more empowering and meaningful way to connect. 

This week has been such an unusual week right around the world.

I know in Australia, where I am, it has been weird. Just weird. No other way to describe it.

Melbourne (my home city) is well into our 6th lockdown. Sydney (my city of origin) going through its worst days since the pandemic began.

Today marks the last day of my home quarantine. And as you can imagine, it’s been tough. Running the show on my own without the usual supports in place.

Feeding kids, keeping them entertained, setting them up for remote school, cooking meals, along with the usual things of running a business and some volunteer work I’m passionate about.

2021 has not been the year any of us expected.

My friends in the UK tell me that life has, by and large, gained some semblance of normality again – although not without major ongoing challenges.

And in the US the raft of challenges is so great as well, for so many reasons one can’t begin to fathom.

Not to mention the pain in our hearts this week as we all watched on with horror at events unfolding around the world and the implications for so many vulnerable minds and hearts.

And if you’re like pretty much everyone I know, your attention is fragmented right now.

You’re distracted.  Often hard to concentrate. 

I know it’s not just me because about 30 people from four continents have personally told me this in the last week.

So I wanted to share a couple of perspectives on how to consider this when it comes to your marketing, as there’s no doubt your audience and customers are feeling the same too.

Yet even in these times, our businesses are still running.

If you’re a business-owner or entrepreneur, or leading a great cause, you probably feel the weight of this more than anyone, as you try to figure where your audience is at, how to get new clients and build your online presence.

So here’s my #1 tip.

It’s no secret that on any day of the week, people don’t want to be sold to, but they are open to being helped.

And in times like this people are looking for something even more – they’re looking to be comforted.

Not interrupted. Not pressured.

It’s fine to show up and “do you”. But don’t spruik your stuff.

Avoid shoving information down their throat, even if you think it's useful.

We are intricately created beings, and our brains have been cleverly designed to filter out anything that it deems as not keeping us safe.

And that includes making buying decisions in times like this.

Even avoiding content that requires too much mental processing power.

You’ll find that right now people’s minds are filtering out so much “unnecessary noise” it’s astounding.

So if you’re not getting massive responses, don’t be surprised. It’s not you.

It’s the zeitgeist right now.

It’s probably that what you do or offer doesn’t make the "first degree of triage" that people’s brains are filtering at the moment.

So what can you do instead?

It’s a time for “being”, more than just “doing”.

But please don’t mistake “being” with “disappearing”.

It is a time for your brand should just show up in solidarity and understanding.

To be gentle. To be empathetic.

The average person is more “energetically aware” than ever before, and will pick up on your intentions more than you realise.

And one of the absolute best ways is to do this by providing helpful, useful content.

It’s non-invasive, non-intrusive, and shows you as a steady force, there through thick and thin.

When you put about content, don’t put yourself at the centre of the story, make it about your customer, your reader.

Put yourself in their shoes.

The way I do it is I physically imagine someone behind a computer with a messy desk, feeling tired, overworked, stressed about bringing in clients, or wondering how to be come more known, maybe an anxious partner or children in the background…….and I think……what could I say that would be an encouragement to this person right now?

And what piece of tangible, real, helpful advice could I give them – no overloading, but in a bite-size, digestible format – that could help them right now?

Because studies consistently show that people want light, easy, snackable content.

A landmark study by Edelman showed that 58% of people want content that can be consumed in a few minutes.

And that's on a good day. Not including weeks like this. 

And so I think – what would make them feel just that little bit more empowered right now?

And I start from that place.

Because as Maya Angelou famously said….

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

In these times where we aren’t out and about at events and meetings as much, the content we put out plays a heightened role.

As Gary V famously said “Want to know the best marketing strategy? CARE”.

And that goes whether you’re serving small businesses, consumers, social causes, governments, corporate – because everyone is dealing with their own stuff right now.

And it’s a chance for you and your brand to empathise, encourage and empower them, even in the smallest way possible.

Because content is like that. It’s a cumulative thing.

The thing about content though, you can’t just “turn it on” and expect instant results.

Any less than you can plant a seed and expect the tree to sprout, grow and bear fruit the following week.

But the law of sowing and reaping applies nonetheless.

If you do sow good seed into good soil, you will reap fruit eventually.

You’ve probably heard the saying that people need to KNOW you, LIKE you and TRUST you before buying from you.

High quality, helpful content will help you do just that.

It’s like your silent partner, that is out there supporting you, doing what you ask it to, nurturing your people and being a force for good in the world – all while having your best interests at heart.

But doing it in an empathetic, nurturing and genuinely empowering way during times like this.

And if you’d like to go deeper into how to create content that connects at an emotional level with people, attracting the right people into your world, while paving the way for your message to have way more impact, I have some a helpful training that goes into more detail on exactly that, which you can watch on demand.

So I hope these thoughts helped you today.

If this resonated with you please do let me know, I love your feedback.

Or if you need a friendly word of encouragement in this season I’m here to do that as well, just as so many around the world have been to me this week as well. Reach out to me somewhere on social media via the links below, or via the contact page.

We are in this together and sometimes even just the knowledge of that makes things just that little bit easier.


Nina Christian is a Marketing & Brand Strategist who is all about doing marketing in a more connected and human way. She helps business leaders and social-change-makers use thought leadership content to build their authority and widen their impact.

She is the Director of Braveda, (est 2000), which was recognised as  "Best Marketing Agency" at the Australian Marketing Excellence Awards.

She is a Certified Practicing Marketer (CPM), a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute & AMI State Chair (Vic) and runs two businesses of her own.

She has a knack for simplifying the complex which comes from being a hands-on mum to five young children, and uses this to turn time-sucking activities into easy to follow systems and processes that get outcomes fast.



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