Marketing in the COVID-19 recession

This article is part of a series of articles from the WARC Guide to Marketing in the COVID-19 recession. Read more.

Why it matters

The COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing recession which seems inevitable, will be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Some of the marketing wisdom from previous recessions will remain relevant, but we’re also in new territory now. Facing an unprecedented systemic threat, brands will have to shift priorities and change mindsets. Think of people less as consumers and more as citizens. Focus on cooperation over competition. Put purpose into practice like never before. Business models will be questioned, agility tested, empathy scrutinised. Not all will pass the test, but brands that have a ‘good crisis’ will be remembered for it when the new normal prevails.


  • Review the role of your brand in these unique circumstances and temporarily redefine your objectives to reflect this reconsidered role.
  • Stay closer than ever to evolving consumer sentiment – ensuring your brand role and tone are in lockstep with the lockdown.
  • Recognise that the situation is evolving day-to-day and develop plans against a range of scenarios to remain as ‘antifragile’ as possible.
  • By creating an active and positive role, you will be primed and positioned for post-COVID realities and hopefully, the optimism that follows.

Uncharted territory