Charu Gaur

Charu Gaur is the founder/editor of Runway Square. Don't ask her to meet over tea or coffee. She's currently working on her selfie game which recently went for a toss. Tips are welcome..


COVID-19 is proving to be as difficult for the economy as much as for people, but brands and influencers need to be sensitive. Here’s a guideline.

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Brands around the world are battling for survival as the Novel Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has wreaked havoc on lives bringing the already flailing world economy to a halt with lockdowns. As per IMF, we’ve officially entered a recession. With closed airports, malls and restricted deliveries, the lifestyle industry (fashion, beauty, travel, food, home decor) has already taken the biggest hit. And with loss of or insecurity around jobs and businesses, spendings are bound to be reduced. That’s why it becomes more and more important for brands to bring consumers back to them once markets open and to retain brand awareness. They too need to survive to retain jobs and pay rents. Having said that, we need to remember that this economy is being sacrificed to protect the human race because people are the biggest currency and these people which are all of us, are scared for our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Sensitivity to this fact should be the core of all brand communications because Coronavirus and COVID-19 are not just some keywords or hashtags to get you sales or views. To help navigate this conundrum we’ve put down a few branded content and collaborations guidelines for brands and influencers —

1. DO NOT use Coronavirus/COVID-19 to promote products or services that don’t directly help the consumer in tackling the disease in any manner. It’s insensitive and misleading. Even saying, “hey use my lipstick to brighten up your quarantine” is NOT COOL. It’s too soon.

2. Do not use the public’s fear to promote your products and services. We will not back you there. We would request all influencers to do research before agreeing to promote any product that claims to cure, reduce the symptoms of Coronavirus.

3. If you have donated, that’s great, we’re happy to know that, we’re happy to make it a part of a larger story but DO. NOT. ASK. US. TO. PUT. IT. UP. ON. INSTAGRAM. Similarly, if you’re a brand that’s helping an NGO raise money, make that the focus of your communication. Don’t mislead and don’t hog the attention.

4. Not every communication needs to be about COVID-19. People need an escape from this. People are craving normalcy while they adjust to ‘the new normal.’ The lifestyle industry has the means to do that. Help your audience take their minds off this gloom, create memes, make them laugh, they’ll appreciate it.

5. Just like your brand, media outlets and influencers are also facing serious financial issues. Don’t ask us to offer you free services. It’s neither fair nor acceptable. Never was.

6. Respect the mental space of people you’re speaking to. Don’t make fun of people who have been infected, don’t flaunt your privilege, don’t be tone-deaf. Read the room, Sally! Use this time to connect with your audience on a deeper level. Have fun with them. Make them feel better. Get to know them.

7. We’re open for business. We are as always very happy to help you strategise your digital presence/or create communications and campaigns but on the condition that we will create communication that’s time-appropriate, sensitive and positive. Don’t worry it’ll also be fun, engaging and fabulous.

8. Build relationships. Learn what your media partners think of the future. Ask them how they’re doing. Respect the fact that they’re lockdown too, that they don’t necessarily feel like promoting your products. Plan how you can work together to help each other in the future.

9. Brands please use this as a time to think outside of box. This is an opportunity to break out of the one solution fits all approach to working with media, influencers, and collaborators. Weren’t you tired of the send-products-to-50-influencers-make-them-do-an-Insta-post formula already?

10. If you have a campaign or a strategy that you wanna run with but are not sure of its content, share with us and we’ll tell you whether it’s cool to go ahead with. Free of cost.

If you are a brand that wishes to work with Runway Square or would like our POV on your communication, write to us at

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