9 COVID-19 Phrases to Ban from Your Marketing

Six months ago, none of us thought we’d end up here.

Wincing as one brand after another hurls their unimaginative best at us via melodramatic music and inserts of deserted city streets.

As if the coronavirus wasn’t dreadful enough—you’re now subjected to a 24/7 assault of vomit-inducing *community building* cliches. All while you juggle grade 11 math problems, making lunch, deciding if it’s viable to move your offline business online, and trying to recall the last time you showered. Gahhhh!!!

If you’d rather rip your TV cable out of the wall, then hear #standtogether… but six feet apart… one more time. This post is for you.

We’re calling out 9 cringe-worthy phrases from the COVID-19 era { ← how is this already a thing?!} that we NEVER want to hear again.

1. In these uncertain times…

dark and difficult times from harry potter

Also known as “in these difficult times”, “in these challenging times” and the final tired go-to—”in these troubling times.”

Here’s the thing. You and I both know these COVID-19 phrases are code for—we’re scared sh*tless, and know you are too… but, we still need to sell stuff… so here’s the best we can do.

It reeks inauthentic.

Yet, there’s a risk to big business if they take a stab at saying things in an *out-of-the-box* way. Many of you know people who are struggling or may face hardship yourself and let’s face it—they can’t afford to put out an ad right now that’s taken the wrong way or appears tone-deaf. They might have the greatest idea for a mood-lighting commercial, but if it falls flat, the repercussions could be brand-ending.

But there’s a lesson here for smaller, more intimate businesses.

How you handle yourself, your business, and your message with all eyes are on you, is and always will be of the utmost importance. Stay true to who you are, your values, and inject tidbits of your personality along the way to build powerful connections with your customers.

Related → Why Empathy is a Game-Changer

2. Pivot!!!

ross is moving a couch

First came the beloved 90s sitcom Friends, using *PIVOT!!!* in its literal meaning… to turn. Next came the startup industry, as hoodie-wearing *Zuckerberg-wannabes* plowed forward with *move fast and break stuff* abandon. They live by the rule: if your idea’s not working… pivot!

Enter COVID-19. You can’t read a blog, email or Instagram post without hearing someone reference the *p-word.* And heck, we’re guilty of it too. It’s the one word that’s tough to replace with one more relevant.

Think about it.

If your business is looking towards re-opening {fingers crossed} in the next couple of months, you know things will look slightly different. No waiting room, reduced hours, and fewer staff. There’s an excellent chance you need to *pivot* in a few areas of your business: over the phone bookings to online scheduling, new late/no-show policies to keep appointments flowing—you get the picture.

Related: How to Move to Virtual Appointments (Without Having a Meltdown)

3. What we’re seeing is unprecedented…

two guys in an office looking in disbelief

Is it though? Off the top, you’ve got The Spanish Flu of 1918 and The Plague. Not to mention The Great Depression, WW1, WW2. *Unprecedented* seems uncalled for.

Let’s call it what it is… scary, overwhelming & unpredictable. Just because it feels like the world was under-prepared doesn’t mean humans haven’t faced life-changing events in the past… we have, and we’ve survived.

The difference? We’ve got 24-hour news stations blasting hourly infection counts, horrifying headlines splashed across our daily news feed, and traumatic videos on replay… THAT’S unprecedented.

So, rather than feed off the terror of the *unknown*, you can take small steps to begin preparing for what you do know. Many of you will have a waitlist of hundreds, maybe even thousands of clients who need to be rescheduled in the coming weeks. What processes can you put in place to make the transition as easy on your clients as possible? Consider some of the following:

  • Post updates to your social media to keep your clients in the loop
  • Update your online booking page with *re-open dates* or *booking dates*
  • Email/text your clients with new procedures (i.e., in-business policies, late/no-show updates, booking details)

4. We need to start adapting to the new normal…

man slamming his head on the couch

Ugh, this COVID-19 phrase. Again, we’ve got to put our hand up here. If you refer back to the Bookedin home page you’ll see us asking: Is your business prepared for the new normal? *gulp* Guilty.

What is normal anyway? That’s the question we asked ourselves at Bookedin.

For most of you, we imagined it’s getting up, sending your kids off to school, and heading into a *full-contact* day at work. There you spend the day interacting (face-to-face) with your clients, maybe you hit up a local hot-spot for lunch, before heading home to start your second full-time job—your family.

Sound about right?

Well, that’s not the *norm* at the moment… or for the foreseeable future {arghhhh, despise that phrase as well}. So, it made sense to invoke the *new normal* until we transition to something permanent, or fall back into our old ways.

5. Work from home, alongside its fancy acronym (WFH)

dancing while working from home

Within days the pre-COVID-19 phrase *work from home* began popping up on newscasts, late-night shows, and radio programs… and that was to be expected. As brick & mortar businesses shut their doors the luckiest could continue working from kitchen tables, couches, or if you were truly blessed… a home office.

We saw a meteoric rise in *virtual appointments.*

Ready or not—you began walking your client through root touch-ups, their morning workouts, and desperately needed couples therapy. #forbetterorworseinquarantine

The *eye roll* inducing moment came when the phrase morphed from situational to sales tactic. To see what’s happening, just take a peek in your inbox. How many emails do you have right now with a subject line containing *WFH?*

Retailers have created entire “collections” dedicated to your new remote positions—loungewear, activewear, even business on the top with optional pants on the bottom. All to take advantage of your new *WFH* wardrobe. Capitalism at its finest.

6. The COVID-19 phrase trifecta: social distancing, flatten the curve & self-quarantine

two people kissing through plexiglass during COVID-19

Three COVID-19 phrases none of us ever want to hear again: social distancing, flatten the curve, and self-quarantine. Pretty self-explanatory, yeah? First off, social distancing. A nightmare for both marketing and well… life.

You and your clients spend a significant chunk of time on *social* platforms, and as the pandemic has grown that hasn’t decreased. In fact, as your business has slowed, becoming more visible online is the key to building the connections that’ll carry you through to the other side of this mess. To keep your clients updated on when you’re re-opening, what you’re new setup looks like, and how you plan to keep them safe… you’re relying on social media.

Social distancing, no. Physical distancing, yes.

Next up, flatten the curve & self-quarantine. Both hella important, but from the daily press briefings to the *hostage-video* style PSA’s… these are two phrases I’ll be ecstatic to never hear pass through my eardrums again.

7. Now… more than ever

now more than ever... right now

Hold on. Let me just grab you a pillow to scream into. I’m guessing that you, like me, don’t need Apple to tell you *we need each other now more than ever.*

Every second commercial break you hear the same haunting violin start playing. The scene is a vacant restaurant with an elderly owner gazing longingly out the window as a man’s voice reminds you—restaurants have always been there for you. Now they too, need you more than ever.

Oh. Come. On. You don’t need guilt piled on top of your worry… do you? Supporting your community definitely matters, whether that be a restaurant, barbershop, hair salon, or your Mom & Pop grocery store. It’s not the message… it’s the messenger.

8. Better days are ahead

leslie knope talking to ann

Oh, really?! Thanks for looking into that magical crystal ball for us Karen. Though it’s really one of the more positive COVID-19 phrases out of the bunch, it’s equally enraging. You know better days are coming, it’s the reason you get out of bed each morning with the motivation to figure out how to make your business work when you re-open post-COVID-19 { ← well that and your kid jumping on you like it’s Christmas morning every. damn. day}.

You don’t, however, need to hear it 16 times throughout every 90-second commercial break or see it scrawled in fancy font 43 times on your Facebook feed. Thanks, but no thanks.

9. The twin terrors: We’re in this together &  We’re here for you

Does Audi *separating* their four rings in solidarity with your lockdown make you feel like they’re in it with you? How about a billionaire checking in from his 20 ft yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean?!

LOL. The definition of tone-deaf. Though this COVID-19 phrase makes most of us want to shatter glass immediately when we hear it, there’s a vast difference when the sentiment behind it is real.

Your husband telling you not to worry ‘cause “You’re in this together”… super sweet.

A group of A-list celebs singing *Imagine* on Instagram to keep up our spirits? Vomitous.

That brings us to the now gag-inducing *We’re here for you.* Who knew Ford, Subway, Lowe’s, Lexus, Verizon… were all HERE FOR YOU?! Sweet. So that means forgiveness on car loans, free sandwiches, and reno’s for all, right? Yeah, not so fast. They’re here for you in the *thumbs-up from six feet away, come see us when you’ve got a pocket full of cash* kinda way.

Look… we know it’s a weird, scary & overwhelming time right now. If you’ve been part of the Bookedin family for a while you know we run on three core values: candor, empathy & fulfillment. That means we value openness, understand the struggles of running a small business & believe the key to life is to be of service… authentically. That’s why you won’t hear us using tired *Corona* tropes to force a sense of community or jump on the advertising bandwagon.

Instead, we’re offering our support as one small business to another with our expertise as an online scheduling provider and our empathy as a teammate on the field.

BONUS: Panic Buying {AKA the great toilet paper shortage of 2020}

sponge bob panicking

Panic buying instigates panic buying. As you saw stories, posts, and got texts from your family with photos of empty shelves it only fueled a vicious circle of feeling like YOU. MUST. BUY. NOW. When people are anxious, they feel the need to do something practical to stay in control—enter toilet paper hoarding.

I imagine there are corners of the globe where people are sitting high atop a mountain of Scottie’s wondering when on earth they’ll ever use it all… and how maybe, beans & rice would’ve been a better investment?

What is your *if I hear this again it’ll be too soon* COVID-19 phrase?

alec baldwin and tina fey in 30 rock

So, we’ve shared the COVID-19 phrases we can’t wait to see leave the zeitgeist… to say we’re counting down the days would be an understatement.

Now we want to hear yours. Pop your *turn the TV off immediately* phrase you can’t wait to see silenced in the comments below ⬇️. Let’s rage out together.