Keeping up with the economy during a crisis is a challenge. Considering a marketing strategy in this crisis is especially complex. As we navigate the new normal with our businesses and customers, we must realize tactics that once worked may not be the best ways for brands to communicate now.

Branded content is a unique digital product in that, unlike other forms of marketing, the goal is not to encourage sales or sign-ups but to establish brand awareness. In the past, the voice we helped our clients establish was one of expertise and leadership. In the era of COVID-19, that voice can evolve into one of trust. Local communities are looking for answers, and local businesses can use this time to help guide their neighbors and colleagues.

For a grocery store, shifting a campaign about being a leader in organic produce to one that shares strategies on how to practice social distance while shopping is the perfect way to tactfully change the conversation on a local and even a national level. While a business’s previous messaging may not be applicable today, we believe it is critical to help them align their unique narrative with the events of tomorrow.

At GET Creative, the branded content studio of the USA TODAY NETWORK, many of our clients are in a position to provide guidance to their customers. But others are looking for guidance themselves.

These clients and brands are feeling the same “What now?” sentiment that many of us are feeling. Some are scaling back their business, and some are forced to make tough decisions with their staff. That’s why during this difficult time, we are focusing on helping brands and local businesses become a trusted thought leader in their communities. And that means understanding what will resonate with consumers right now as well as understanding the reality of the challenges businesses are facing right now.

For us, and for many of the businesses we work with, being someone who listens, understands, and absorbs the customer’s obstacles is something we have always excelled at. But now it must be done with unparalleled patience and understanding. Through our work, and the work of the businesses we work with, we see consumers as people, not just a dollar sign. We’re confident that is how we continue connecting businesses with their consumers both now and in the future.

There’s no blueprint for how we can best navigate this unprecedented time but one tactic we can all agree on is one of empathy and collaboration.

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