Changing Your Creative Messaging to Support Your Customers

03.30.2020 Sara Brasfield

When your customers’ daily lives are thrown out of whack, your planned ad campaigns and messaging may no longer apply. Even if you stick with your original messaging as planned, you’re unlikely to drive the results you were hoping for.

And it makes sense why that would happen. Your customers’ priorities, values, and needs can all change overnight by new economic pressures and challenges, along with personal concerns and emergencies they may be facing. Your ads were created for a particular audience with particular needs and desires, but those needs and desires, and that audience, have changed.

A new approach is needed. How do you connect with an audience during periods of tumult? Here are some tips to help you craft new messaging that supports your customers during difficult times.


A little empathy goes a long way in crafting messages that serve your customers. Even simple, straightforward messaging built around concepts like “We’re all in this together” helps establish a sense of unity, and demonstrates your brand’s investment in its customers.

People seek community during times of struggle. This is where your brand messaging comes in: As a business with a visible local presence, you can become a focal point of this community. It all starts with striking the right tone and making it clear that your business cares.

Related: How to Support and Grow Lasting Customer Relationships During Times of Uncertainty


Local businesses can have a role in helping rally community members during various kinds of crises. There are several ways your business can establish itself as a stabilizing force that can offer support to your community members.

One strategy is to emphasize your long-standing presence or reputation in the community. If you’re a business that has been around for decades, you’ve likely built up a reputation of trust among community members. As a familiar business, your messaging can have a big impact on your community and its members, and this presence can strengthen your relationship with your customers.

You can also facilitate various support or recovery efforts in your community, such as organizing a local food drive for a food bank, or even offering discounted or free services to individuals or families facing an immediate need.

A financial services company, for example, could offer emergency counseling services to households facing immediate economic hardships. These efforts give you a meaningful way to conduct outreach among your target audience.


When local communities are facing a crisis, advertising that makes a hard sell on products or services can inspire a strong negative response. The best way to advertise your brand is by demonstrating the value you offer in the face of immediate uncertainty or crisis.

In the financial services example above, businesses can use ad campaigns and messaging to highlight what they’re doing to support recovery in their local community. While this might not seem to be directly tied to sales efforts or ROI goals, there’s value in crafting empathetic advertising content that showcases your company’s integrity and commitment to its customers. As customers and communities recover from these obstacles, they will remember which businesses offered help in the face of disaster.


While highlighting empathy, stability and positive contributions are all effective strategies for any business, many industries face unique challenges or considerations that need to be directly addressed by the business.

Restaurants are a prime example: While more and more restaurants are closed to dine-in customers to address the growing public health crisis, those businesses remain open for takeout and delivery. Restaurants can serve their customers by highlighting these take-home options and emphasizing their cleanliness and safety protocols, which can alleviate customer concerns over food safety.

Similarly, automotive businesses can offer pick-up and delivery services for customers requiring service on their vehicles, and/or for consumers looking to buy a new vehicle. Financial services businesses can offer guidance on how to manage money and prioritize investing during an economic recession, while also offering products and services to help customers facing financial challenges. Healthcare companies can promote expanded telehealth services, and fitness centers can offer video training and tutorials to help customers maintain their fitness from home.

As your customers face unforeseen challenges, hardships, and worries about their future, your business should position itself as a resource and an ally that can offer assistance and support, even in small ways. Given the sensitive nature of the challenges being faced, a softer, more empathetic approach to messaging can make a big difference for your customers—and your business, too.

Need help adjusting your messaging or getting the word out to consumers that your business is here for them during this unprecedented time? Click here – our local production teams are happy to help.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than eight years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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