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Corona - What's up

Marketing in Corona times

Corona was geht - Marketing in Zeiten von Corona

RWU does not stand still even in these extraordinary days and weeks. In many places new solutions are being worked on with commitment and creativity. With the series "Corona - What's up", we want to focus not only on what is currently not possible, but especially on what's up.

What effects will the corona crisis have on the economy? This question, as is already becoming apparent today, will occupy us for years to come. But how the current situation directly affects marketing strategies is the subject of Dr. Steffen Jäckle's blog. He is Professor of Marketing and Sales Management at RWU:


All existing marketing plans and especially marketing activities must now be reviewed - all of them! Immediately!

Situational is king

Is the planned marketing activity still appropriate to the current situation on site?

On 12.03.2020, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 (Corona) a pandemic. A pandemic is a disease that is "transmitted from person to person" and affects several continents at the same time. This global aspect distinguishes the pandemic from the geographically limited epidemic. First and foremost, this is an appeal by WHO to all countries to take the situation seriously. For your marketing activities, however, this does not mean that a global strategy is the best. On the contrary, because the impact of Corona is local - in other words, it depends on the situation on the ground. The situation in South Korea is different from that in Italy, which in turn is different from that in Germany.

Permanent reassessment

Is our decision a week, two days ago or yesterday, today, tomorrow still the right one?

The environment is dynamic, extremely dynamic, which means that the half-life of decisions is massively reduced. Organizations have to question decisions that are made on a permanent basis - at the moment this means at least every day, possibly even every hour.

Consistent tonality

Is your marketing activity still in tune with the tonality (message, visual language, creative implementation ...) of the current situation?

Does your message still fit into the current time? The DAX lost more than 35 % in March - nevertheless, "copies on air" are still on TV, broadcasting the same "good news" as four weeks ago: "Invest in stocks", investment fund plan etc. This is not working at the moment - worse: it is counterproductive for your brand.

The tone of the campaigns needs to be reviewed - provocative irony definitely does not work in times of corona. Brands, such as True Fruits or Sixt, which normally act very provocatively, are almost statesmanlike and communicate the "stay home spirit" in a skilful & coherent way

Respectability is king! Google has announced that it will not host its famous April prank this year. It is obvious that this does not make sense at the moment. What does the target group want in these times? Security! It is significant that many companies that are particularly hard hit (Lufthansa, HRS ...) instead of providing detailed information in colourful pictures, instead of continuing to communicate colourful image worlds.

Lufthansa is a good example of how successful crisis communication can be harmoniously designed in terms of tone:

  • Security: Our offer is secure
  • Return flights: We take you home
  • Flexible rebooking conditions: We help you
  • Longer waiting times. We ask for your understanding
  • And last but not least: We thank you for your trust - with personal sender and signature

Set priorities

Which brands, products or activities are prioritized?

The priorities of the pre Corona period are perdu. In times of "social distancing", communication gains in importance. Aldi has recognised this and is now giving all customers more data volume "just like that". The brand "Aldi Talk" gets priority while it would make sense to de-prioritise all non-food activities in the short term. The same applies to planned toilet paper marketing ... Instead, #GEMEINSAMGEHTALLES applies.

In Italy and France Amazon limits the delivery of non-essential goods. Only essential goods should be delivered, so that employees are protected & relieved.

What can we do "more"?

Can our organisations contribute to overcoming the crisis?

The existing portfolio of services must be questioned. How can we use our capabilities to make a contribution in the crisis? Trigema re-prioritises the product portfolio. Now mouthguards are produced instead of T-shirts & polo shirts. The luxury group LVHM has announced to produce disinfectants instead of perfume. Jägermeister provides 50,000 litres of alcohol to the pharmacy of the Braunschweig hospital. But also organizations that do not find it so "easy" to switch existing production capabilities to new end products or to deliver intermediate products to pharmacies, like Trigema, LVHM or Jägermeister, can make a contribution: McDonald's employees support Aldi in the stores!

News & FAQ about Corona at RWU

Professor Dr. Steffen Jäckle / Christoph Oldenkotte