Since the pandemic back in March, there has been much discussion regarding and what is the best strategy for companies to convey their key messages, product launches, corporate news, if at all, during the COVID-19 crisis. Certainly a few things have changed.

Getting Your News Out

Early on most companies rightly deferred distributing any type of self-promoting news and instead concentrated their efforts on a conservative and sensitive approach with messaging and communications in line with the seriousness of the situation. Many editors and journalists reported they were struggling to get in touch with company spokespeople and marketing teams, due to the new work-from-home edict, furloughs, layoffs or just the reluctance of companies to respond.

These same journalists reported a major drop in PR activity from their industry contacts, receiving far fewer press releases and accompanying pitches…a situation that in ‘normal times’ would be unheard of. They were actually clamoring for quality, creative stories as long as PR professionals were sensitive to the given situation.

As weeks went by and things started to get back to what would be the ‘new normal’, at least for the foreseeable future, automakers and Tier Ones proceeded with plans, albeit differently, to launch highly anticipated vehicles and their newest technologies. No longer could they rely on flying in journalists for ride-and-drives at exotic locations, unveils at the major auto and industry trade shows, or tech days at the OEMs. They had to start finding out new, creative alternatives to reach their targeted media and continue to engage their audiences with the absence of traditional media outreach.

Virtual Trade Shows are the Norm

Major auto-related shows such as the New York Auto Show and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit amongst others were postponed or cancelled altogether, while others such as CES, AAPEX and SEMA held out hope that by year’s end, the pandemic would be under control and the show could go on. Not so much.

Almost overnight, everything went virtual. Zoom became a household word, and being the smart marketers they are, OEMs along with some suppliers immediately began to implement programs that would still connect with their audiences and deliver their targeted messages, and manage product launches without missing a beat.

There are a number of communication options that you should consider to tell your story, although some may not be as familiar as the traditional marketing tactics you may have relied on in the past. For instance, The Quell Group is currently working with clients on two major industry tradeshows that have gone virtual: AAPEX and the ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition. Although virtual, these are still highly impactful shows in which you can reach your sales contacts, media, customers, etc.

While each event and sponsorship package differs, Quell can assist your team through a multitude of services and deliverables including: virtual exhibit hall ads, banners, booth headers and graphics; presentation materials, downloadable product information; engagement and lead analytics, pre- and post-show email marketing, gamification and immersive experiences to name but a few.

It’s Time to Act

But for many suppliers, the ‘new normal’ was anything but. Those that had committed to various tradeshows and industry events took the opportunity to back out with some opting to save budget, while others chose to stop communicating with their customers and key constituents altogether for a multitude of reasons.

Smart marketers are doing just the opposite. They realize that to keep and increase the company’s share of voice in the marketplace, they must continue to remain visible with the media, analysts, customers and prospects. The good news is that it’s not too late to shift your communication strategy and become a part of the conversation. Unless there is a business case to delay, the time to act is now.

If you need help getting the news out, mounting a successful virtual trade show experience, producing videos and digital collateral materials for virtual engagements, or you want to host your own webinar or live virtual event, The Quell Group has the experience necessary to make you successful.

Quell has more than 25 years of crafting and shaping messaging, marketing and public relations programs that resonate with automotive and mobility audiences, whether they are in the same room or thousands of miles away. We hope this ‘new normal’ doesn’t last long. But if it does, we’re ready to help.