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Marketing in a time of crisis

Coffee Marketing
Marketing in a time of crisis
By Jenn Chen • Issue #97 • View online
So, this world, huh. It seems a little strange and to be quite honest, inappropriate, to talk about marketing when so much of the world is dealing with a pandemic. Instead of writing about straight-up marketing in the coming issues, I’ll aim to just write… I won’t promise it’ll always be about marketing. I hope you stick with me.
Since my last issue send, San Francisco (where I live) has gotten increasingly severe in its restrictions and guidelines regarding COVID-19. I went to the store a few times to stock up on goods. Today is day 2 of three weeks of the mandatory shelter-in-place order. I have seen my friends close their cafes, friends get laid off, friends lose all of their income, and friends deal with working from home. 
I don’t want to say that we’ll get through this together because in reality, some of us won’t. Instead, I hope you’re all doing the best you can, supporting those around you if you’re able, and that you’re taking all the steps to flatten the curve. 💜

Featuring my own work & press
Featuring my own work & press
Marketing in a time of crisis
Instead of outright marketing messages, I’m going to list some resources and options for you to keep your business as relevant as possible.
If you’re still open, here are some options for you:
  • Daily posted signs at door and online regarding any house rules (take out only, condiments behind the counter, etc.)
  • Marked tape on floor for best customer flow like Quills Coffee did. This also ensures that people are still socially distant.
  • Set up a virtual tip jar NOW if you think that you’ll be affected by the pandemic with closures. If you need examples, here are some @gofundbean.
  • Share how to support your cafe, other local businesses, and the greater community
If you are cutting hours but still keeping staff on, you might be wondering what they can work on. This is the time for professional development.
  • Sites like Skillshare and Lynda offer a huge variety of online courses. Everything from mobile photography to social media marketing can be learned here.
  • Create your future crisis communication plan. When I wrote that article, I didn’t think to put “global pandemic” into it but yes, I guess we do need to plan for that now.
  • Reexamine your social strategy, brand voice, and general communications.
External marketing
Unless you live in a place where the government is managing the outbreak well, it’s probably not business as usual for you. Here are some things you can do:
  • Within a cafe setting, host dropoffs for food, donate them to the local shelters
  • Online, host virtual coffee hours or live Q&As with folks
  • Post about your delivery, handoff, curbside pickup, etc. options. Make sure to remind customers if roasting will be off schedule or continuing as planned.
  • Compile community resources like Prima did (but local to you) and post about them
  • Post educational materials for your customers. For example, what goes into roasting, how water is so important to brewing, etc.
  • Create mini workshop videos
We have a tendency to withdraw in times of crisis. One of the reasons why I love being in coffee is the community aspect. I see people supporting each other, businesses posting about relief efforts, and coming together to write political letters. This community will make it through, I’m just worried about what it’ll look like on the other side.
Amid Worldwide COVID-19 Shutdowns, Cafe Owners Speak Out
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
I imagine that feature releases and testing will be stalled in the coming months as employees of these companies are working remotely.
Instagram is testing: IGTV monetization and new mirror camera mode for stories.
Twitter is relying more on automation tools for content violations. It added go live with guests.
Social media management platform Buffer added a best time to post feature.
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
Beware of Virtue Signaling in Brand Communications About COVID-19
A Marketer's Crash Course to Hyperlocal Marketing
How to Shift From Physical to Virtual Events and Maximize Event Outcomes
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
Please Stop Treating Me Like I’m Disposable When You Talk About The Coronavirus
The best animal livestreams to watch while you're social distancing
An update from my container garden!
An update from my container garden!
Plants don't know when there's a pandemic. This stromanthe triostar put out a beautiful new leaf.
Plants don't know when there's a pandemic. This stromanthe triostar put out a beautiful new leaf.
What'd you think?
Feedback, questions, or fist bumps 👊 – send them my way by hitting the reply button. Also happy with the 👍 at the end. Or find me on the social networks @thejennchen. 
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jenn Chen

💭 Thoughts on digital marketing as they intersect at specialty coffee, social media, writing, photography & social issues.

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