How to Reach Your Audience During a Crisis

How to Reach Your Audience During a Crisis

Writer – Melissa Slavsky, Digital Media Strategist & Analytics Specialist


Advertising as we know it has changed quite a bit since early March. And in a good way. It’s become more human. More empathetic. We are seeing commercials and digital ads speaking directly to our heart. It’s a welcome change.  And it’s how to reach your audience.

Advertising in the days of Mad Men was about making consumers desire something they never thought they wanted. While, in the 21st century, that still exists to some degree, consumers are not reacting the same way. Especially in a time of crisis, when so many people are out of work and our only shopping is done online.

The way successful brands are reaching their audience today is through empathetic marketing. Consumers need to know you care about them and that you understand what they are experiencing. They want to know you can help alleviate some of their stress and make life easier for them during a time that is so uncertain. But how do you do that? Here are some tips:

  1. Stop thinking like a marketer and start thinking like your customers. Think about their needs instead of what you’re trying to sell. What problems are they encountering and how can your product or service help them find resolution?
  1. Learn what motivates your customers. Are they mostly community-oriented, wanting to help those in need? Do they spend their time planting trees and cleaning out the oceans? Are they all about family, with their focus on their children? How do you find out? Ask them. You can create a short survey or just post it on social media. You’ll be surprised how many responses you’ll get when you ask your customers what they care about.
  1. Create content that is helpful. Don’t post content just to post. Make it useful.
  1. Put your money where your mouth is. Once you know what motivates your customers, use that to make a difference. Tell your customers for every $X spent on a product or service, a portion will go to a charity in need.
  1. Don’t just advertise. Create relationships with your customers, even if it’s online. Create a community. A place where people can feel comfortable discussing their needs and asking you, the expert, how you can help.



There are so many ways you can reach your audience during a crisis, but the most effective is to show empathy.


“The need for empathy towards the buyer is huge. It’s a differentiator…”  Doug Brown, former CMO IBM Systems


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