Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis

This article is part of a special WARC Snapshot focused on enabling brand marketers to re-strategise amid the unprecedented disruption caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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Why it matters

As consumers’ lifestyles are upended in a way almost unparalleled outside of wartime, they are likely to reappraise deeply embedded and instinctive purchase behaviours. This offers an opportunity for brands to create new customer relationships – as well as threatening existing brand loyalties.


  • One of the best methods for protecting against losing customers, and for attracting new ones during a time of flux, is to build and maintain brand saliency.
  • Triggering surprise can help brands intensify ‘peak’ emotions; going that extra mile and providing consumers with some added treat or benefit (eg free delivery) will go a long way.
  • The longer the period of disruption lasts, the more engrained new habits are likely to become, as they are repeated.

Executive summary