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Avoid These Messaging & Design Mistakes While Social Distancing

I was watching a movie recently (from the comfort of my own couch, of course) and the unthinkable happened…a character picked up a pen and put it in his mouth. Gasp! After weeks of social distancing, diligent hand washing, and wiping down groceries with disinfectant, this made me cringe. It really made me think about how “normal” imagery can now have a negative impact on the viewer.

In the spirit of making mindful choices, I’ve rounded up some tips to help ensure cringe-free marketing messaging & design during this period of social distancing.

The Right Visual

Using a photo of a packed, lively buffet line might be tempting, but it’s probably not the best choice for your marketing collateral right now. Sure, we all miss the closeness of pre-pandemic life, however, using an image like that can feel unrelatable to potential customers. Instead of showing a photo of a crowded restaurant, opt for an image that focuses on a solo diner or even a curbside to-go order. Consider avoiding photos that show people interacting too closely or images that contradict safety guidelines. Stock photography websites like iStock.com have been quick to add social distance-approved images into their collection to help make your choices a little easier. 

Impactful Messaging

Now is the time to start bragging—just make sure you are boasting about all the great things you are doing to better serve your customers. Give foodservice operators, who are facing immense pressure, a reason to pay attention to your message by focusing on problem/solution scenarios. Acknowledge the problems they are facing right now and tell them why you are their best solution. Educational content remains important as stay-at-home orders are lifted and foodservice establishments begin to navigate the complicated process and decision-making around reopening. Tools like a reopening checklist can inspire brand loyalty by showing your customers that you can help them develop an action plan.

Intentional Design

Avoid using overly complicated designs right now. Be clear and concise to quickly communicate to customers how you are prepared to help them. Since many of us are glued to our phones more than usual, this especially applies when designing bite-sized content for social media. Also, be sure to say on-brand since design consistency is key for brand awareness whether you are developing email campaigns, social media posts or direct mail pieces. 

Things are far from the norm right now, to say the least. I get it. As marketers, we are used to working weeks or even months in advance. However, now isn’t the time to rely on canned marketing messaging and visuals that may conflict with the current situation. Be sure to create compelling content that meets the moment…and always remember to disinfect your phone. 

Jamie Bell

Jamie Bell – Creative Director

Jamie is the creative director at CFI Marketing. With 10 years of design and marketing experience, she specializes in brand development, content creation, project management and marketing strategy.