Marketing & Communication Best Practices During COVID-19 Crisis

As expected the current landscape is causing the vast majority of brands and businesses to either pull back, cancel or shift their marketing and communications efforts mostly due to the financial uncertainty of things and not wanting to appear insensitive to what’s going on in the world. Some of those industries include finance, agriculture, manufacturing and food service. However, there are also organizations seeing an increase in business such as air purifiers, cleaning products, etc.

Whether your industry is up or down, experts recommend not to do anything that looks like you are taking financial advantage of a crisis. A business never wins in the long run when capitalizing on someone else’s short-term misfortune. Show all of your stakeholders (customers, employees, communities, investors, suppliers) that you care, as a brand, as an organization. Silence can be interpreted as indifference, especially on social media, so it’s best to be empathetic and honest with your audience.


Your actions and next steps need to be considerate, helpful and well thought out. Do as much research as possible to understand current attitudes and behaviors before taking action. And move forward with caution as things change hourly/daily. A few things to consider:

  • Testing – Are there limited-exposure places or controlled areas that you can test some things?
  • Mediums – If the environment changes, can you quickly update your messaging or suspend it? Strongly consider digital-only only mediums at this time.
  • Will you be adding value to people’s lives? – Brands and businesses that do win during a crisis are ones that set profit aside and do things that help people in time of need.
  • Consistency is key - It is critical that there is consistency in the messaging and the voice in which that messaging is delivered. Run everything though your Communications Director if possible.
  • Right is better than fast - One mistake can have long-lasting consequences. Deliver messaging that is timely, measured and, above all, accurate.
  • Where is the money coming from? – Are taxpayers or members funding your marketing and communication efforts? Make sure you are prepared for any potential backlash.


In the case of fishing and boating specifically, there is potential opportunity in encouraging people to go fishing as they’re practicing social distancing. But we have a responsibility to help keep people safe and share with them the facts. Make sure to link to CDC recommendations and communicate widely about closures. In the last two days, RBFF has seen several closures that affect fishing and boating access including beach closures in Miami and closed bridges to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Some communities are even talking about shutting down charters and boat ramps.

If your area is facing major closures, then give your customers something to do inside with their families. They can prep their tackle for the season with a Spring cleaning. They can learn to tie a new knot, practice casting in the back yard and cook fish recipes.

During these uncertain times, we recommend a careful and calculated approach to your marketing and communication outreach. Bookmark the RBFF Blog for some good examples of state, Federal and industry communications coming soon. Stay safe and healthy!

*This article incorporates insights from RBFF, Colle McVoy and the Public Relations Society of America.