Designing in These Times


At the beginning of March 2020, most of our clients were in full swing with their Q2 marketing programs and plans. Messaging and creative were developed and ready to rock ‘n’ roll. We were heading into the fun advertising seasons of spring and summer.

As we all know, that’s not really how things went this year. Once the initial shock settled and the scramble to initiate necessary communications and practices were in place, it was time to reassess everything that had been put on hold. Where do we go from here? Needless to say, we were all faced with questions about what was still appropriate and relevant.

It was evident that our clients still needed to communicate with their customers. Maybe now more than ever. I think a lot of us were looking for reassurance that the things we trusted and relied on were still there for us. Some sense of normalcy. Yet the norm had changed. That photo in your ad of the summer family gathering with everyone hugging and kissing was no longer appropriate or a responsible image to use. That drive for customers to visit your physical location was restricted by local, state and federal guidelines.

In some cases, it was right to just hit pause on a marketing initiative. In others, it was just a matter of getting creative. Part of that was just acknowledging the reality of the current state of affairs. That image of the family gathering that can no longer happen responsibly in person can now happen virtually. Who doesn’t love a ZOOM-B-Q? That ad of smiling and trusted healthcare providers needed to be revised to show they were prioritizing your safety. Hard to see the smiles under PPE, but that’s when you smile with your eyes.

As we continue to work through this crisis and gradually plan for our emergence, there are a few questions I keep going back to – and I encourage you to review as well – as marketing initiatives go forward:

  • Does the imagery present current best practice guidelines for safety?
  • Is the imagery still evocative of your brand and mission?
  • Are we being genuine within this crisis?

Chartwell’s marketing team is here for you during this process and can help you work through what’s best to do now, what’s on hold, and what to do next.

Stay safe. Peace.