The coronavirus crisis has upended all expectations for the near future. It’s also upended brand strategy plans for businesses across the globe. Your messaging can’t be “business as usual” right now; while it’s crucial that your company keep marketing, your brand must make necessary adjustments to trim tone deaf messaging and lead with empathy and compassion.
Take the time now to determine the brand story you want to tell the world at this time. As you navigate the uncertainty of marketing during a crisis situation, keep the following questions top of mind in building your brand strategy.
How Can You Be Present?
Now is not the time to stop marketing and let your brand presence go dark. Now is the time to work harder to be present and maintain strong relationships with your loyal customers. If your brand name falls off the map, your customers won’t be waiting for you to return once the crisis has passed. Instead, they will remember the brands that were present, providing support and communicating effectively during a time of uncertainty.
How Can You Authentically Adjust Your Messaging?
Yes, you should continue marketing during this time, but first you need to conduct a messaging audit for the remainder of the year. Does your current brand strategy include messaging about travel or being out in public that will be seen as insensitive and tone deaf now?
Work with your team to eliminate tone deaf messaging and pivot toward messaging that leads with empathy, kindness and caring. Humanize your brand to your customers and remind them that you’re here to support them. Be open and transparent about the actions you’re taking during this crisis.
How Can You Remain Relevant?
Being present during a crisis is a good first step, but your presence must be relevant and helpful to customers. One way to remain both present and helpful is to maintain updated information on your website and social media about your hours of operation, changes in services and products and how customers can get in touch with customer service representatives. With more customers doing business and making transactions online, ensure that your customers know how to reach you to purchase your products or services.
Another way to demonstrate value is to provide helpful content. Identify new pain points your customers are facing and publish content that offers solutions to them. Can your products and services help parents who are working from home while watching their children? Can your products and services serve someone who has recently become unemployed? Does your brand have industry knowledge on how to keep yourself healthy or how to stay active at home? Determine how the knowledge and expertise your brand possesses can best be used to provide value to customers.
How Can You Continue to Put People First?
Remember that your customers come first, even during times of decreasing sales. While so many people are unemployed and struggling right now, customers will remain loyal to brands that continue to build a brand strategy that values people over profits.
What can you do right now to improve the customer experience? Can you increase your customer service hours or expand the options customers have for purchasing your products and services online? Or offer financing options for customers who need your products and services, but also need manageable payment plans due to financial difficulties? Can you offer limited-time free trials of your products and services at this time? Above all, can you extend flexibility, empathy and grace toward your loyal customers?
During this time, customers will not only be watching how their favorite brands treat them — they’ll also be watching how company executives treat their employees. Brands that provide safety measures like sick leave and remote work options to their employees will be viewed positively, because customers perceive that how a company treats its loyal employees is a direct reflection on how that company will treat its loyal customers.
Where Can You Give Back?
During a global crisis, what can your brand do to help your community? Adopt community-centered thinking to explore how you can give back to the people and businesses around you. Are there local organizations where you can donate food, money, resources or volunteer time? Or can your brand provide free access to news, online courses or webinars that are educational or helpful?
Whatever your brand is able to do for others at this time, do it with no expectations or strings attached. The more you help your community, the more your community and customers will help you in return.
Trust Your Marketing and Communications to NewGen Marketing
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the current marketing challenges facing your business, we can help create your brand stategy. NewGen Marketing provides a full range of marketing services, including strategy and investment, analytics, paid media, social, remarketing, content marketing and customer acquisition. Our goal is to help you spend your marketing dollars efficiently by allocating resources into the campaigns and multimedia channels that generate real results, conversions and sales.