Before you begin reading, this article is not about making the most of a natural disaster to promote your business. When we say, “How to Respectfully Market Your Brand,” we mean how to convey your business’ message of compassion, or your announcement that your products and services are still available, in a time of crisis. JB Communications is stationed in Louisiana, and we have already seen one hurricane sow fear and destruction this year. Hurricane Laura caused us to think of all the businesses that struggle with their reopening announcements or digital marketing strategies after a disruption, such as a hurricane. And because Hurricane Season lasts until November, we want to arm our readers with guidance for what to do in the event of another storm. Even if you do not experience hurricanes in your area, these marketing strategies can help you remain respectful and visible during an unforeseen event or natural disaster.

Ask Yourself: Does My Business Have the Power to Help?

There’s nothing wrong with promoting your intention to offer aid! Otherwise, how would anyone know to expect help from your business? But think carefully before promoting your intentions to offer relief to victims of a natural disaster. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are my products or services useful to their current circumstance?
  • Is there a way to respectfully promote my assistance?
  • Has my business successfully participated in altruistic pursuits in the past?

If the answer to all three questions is an emphatic “Yes!” then it looks like your business can do a lot of good for the community, and you should get started right away. If you are not sure about your company’s ability to help, read on for other ways you can keep your business respectfully visible.

How to Promote Your Company’s Relief Assistance

Your ability to offer relief depends on the service or product you provide. It also depends on your preexisting ties to the community and neighboring businesses.

  • PR Strategy. Talk to your marketing team about your public relations strategy. For example, at the beginning of COVID-19, our client Joe’s Café in New Orleans wanted to offer food to the hard-working first responders working on the frontlines. JB Communications worked with Joe’s to develop a giveaway that encouraged community engagement. Members of the community would nominate institutions that were then given donut donations. JBC reached out to local media, who published releases with the giveaway information.
  • Digital Marketing Strategy. Businesses can take advantage of easy, cost-effective promotional opportunities through social media. If you have been reading the JBC blog, you’ve hopefully already started your social media marketing strategy! If you have been diligent about engaging with your audience, they will expect business updates through your social media platforms.
  • TV Advertising. For larger campaigns, you may consider TV advertising. Bombas, the sock company, has a successful advertising campaign in which they donate a pair of socks to someone in need for every pair of socks purchased. So far, the company has donated nearly 40 million pairs of socks! It’s a clean and productive campaign. If you want to use the media to market your brand and advertise your relief assistance, make sure the campaign is relevant to your company and easy to understand.
how to market during a hurricane jb communications

Anticipate Changes in Buying Patterns and Adapt

For non-essential businesses, a natural disaster is an opportunity to evaluate your product or services and analyze if you have a strategy to sell under difficult circumstances. Your customers will begin to weigh the risk vs. reward of spending money during times of duress. Their primary focus will be on resources that contribute towards their survival:

  • Food
  • Survival Products and Resources
  • Safety

If your product or service does not fall into any of these three categories, don’t pull a muscle trying to maneuver a way to sell your goods and services. There is no reason why someone contemplating the loss of their home would take a break to weigh the pros and cons of buying snow globes.

Be on the Lookout for Pivot Opportunities!

You may not have the opportunity to promote your snow globes during a natural disaster, but many companies have used their existing resources to create a new, useful product in response to a crisis. For example, several distilleries were able to use their facilities to create hand sanitizer after COVID-19 wiped shelves clean of hygiene products.

Your snow globe facility may be able to create other useful products. Speaking of snow globes, an Austrian snow glob company recently released a line of “toilet paper” snow globes, molded after the toilet paper shortage at the beginning of COVID-19. What a pivot!

Creative Ways to Respectfully Market Your Brand without Selling Your Product

“I sell snow globes. Should I sit this one out?” Of course not! Even if your regular customer base doesn’t need your product or service immediately, there’s still plenty to do!

  1. Alleviate Stress. Do you sell very expensive snow globes that require payment installations? Consider creative ways to take a little pressure off the shoulders of your customers, such as revising your payment plan or adding extensions.
  2. Fundraise. If you are a business with connections with other businesses, you might want to consider joining forces with neighboring businesses to organize a fundraiser that supports the local community. This strategy also gives you a little extra publicity boost, as several organizations will be pushing the event through their own marketing forums.
  3. Be Yourself. If you act human, you don’t have to work hard to “appear” human. Create compassionate communications that reflect your genuine concern for your consumer.
  4. Evaluate Your Current Strategy. Do your running campaigns and ads match the tone you want to convey? Take a look at your current ads and marketing strategies. If you are running a campaign that conflicts with the current climate, press pause until the issue passes.

What Not to Do. Whatever you do, do not try and use the natural disaster as a sales opportunity. If your marketing team suggests something like a “Hurricane Sale” or a “Tornado Campaign,” drop them and call JBC!

Market Your Brand: Contact JBC for a Marketing Consultation!

If any of these strategies sound like something you’d like to implement for your business, contact JBC for a consultation! Our team will help you organize a strategy that suits your company and consumer base!