March 18, 2020

Tips for navigating COVID-19 for agriculture marketers

By Rosie Thoni

We find ourselves in challenging and uncertain times as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. In agriculture, business must continue – crops will be planted, cows will calve, and the world will need to eat. But the effects of this crisis will be far-reaching and long-term, from changing food demand to market volatility and concerns over supply disruption. No one is unaffected, and it is our responsibility in marketing to communicate with clarity and empathy.

Our tips for navigating COVID-19 for agriculture marketers:

  1. Lead with heart. Remember your customers are going through hard times as they navigate the personal and business implications of this crisis.
  2. Evaluate ALL existing and planned campaigns and communications. Ensure the tone, phrasing and intent reads right. If you feel it’s now in poor taste, it’s time to rework or scrap.
  3. Communicate direct impacts for your customers first. This includes location closures, supply disruptions and personnel updates.
  4. Ensure the communication is clear and concise. Share messages where your audience will be looking for them: social media, email, your website, and/or through your sales network.
  5. Continue to share your solutions in the proper tone. Farmers and ranchers still need to do business, and knowing what options are available continues to be necessary.
  6. Have an unrelated announcement or press release that could wait a few weeks? Trust your gut and wait it out. Your announcement will have more impact once the crisis has subsided and the news cycle settles.
  7. Provide regular updates on critical information. Your audience understands that things are changing by the day and appreciates access to accurate information.
  8. Consider how your company can uniquely serve your customers right now. Deliver information through digital means, provide resources for families isolating at home, create opportunities for virtual community and ideas sharing.
  9. Seek opportunities to share positive stories from your employees and customers. Agriculture is a community of resourceful and resilient people. Let’s support one another in making the best of the situation.

We’re here to help our partners in agriculture navigate this challenging time. Reach out to pr@adfarm.com if you’d like a consultation on your company’s crisis management of COVID-19.

Rosie Thoni is AdFarm’s U.S. PR and Content Lead, Canadian farm kid turned suburban Kansas dog mom, and resident AP Style nerd.