As COVID-19 pushes customer-centric businesses and organizations to change how they do business, marketers are being pushed to create content that is empathetic, responsive, and forward-thinking. While many are overwhelmed with finding the best ways to respond to this crisis, questions arise like – do you continue marketing as is? How do you connect with your customers while continuing to run your business? Consider the following to effectively navigate through all of these questions.
Be empathetic and relevant
As the coronavirus crisis forces a new normal on businesses and customers day by day, the pressure of saying and doing the right things at the right time has become a quick reality. Living in a society where overcommunication is the norm, businesses are trying their best to adapt by acknowledging the issue at hand, ensuring that they are working safely and remotely, and rescheduling their planned engagements digitally when possible. But is this enough?
As a reminder, several 2020 marketing strategies and toolkits that were introduced earlier this year indicate that customers expect a business to be more socially responsible by acknowledging the current issue and acting on it. When doing so as a business, you don’t have to sacrifice your entire business and marketing plans. Instead, you can spend time listening to customers and better understand how the current situation is affecting them and their families. In what ways does their situation continue to evolve daily and how can your business help?
Based on how you want to be remembered during this crisis, your marketing and communication should reflect this instead of ignoring the challenges your customers may be facing. Actions should go beyond sending empathetic emails by adapting more tangible solutions, which will also keep your business moving forward. Be there and do the right things, so your customers can have what they actually need.
Focus on Serving to Increase Your Brand Loyalty
Companies like LVMH have transitioned their manufacturing operations from producing perfumes to producing germ-killing alcohol due to the shortage of such products in the current market. The Maine-based company Origin USA, an athletic wear manufacturer, has now moved their production to creating masks for the public because of the fact that the world is at a shortage due to the rise in demand from COVID-19.
Similarly, food delivery services like Uber Eats has waived delivery fees for local restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to support small and local businesses. Other examples of how to approach price during this time are gyms and fitness clubs who have taken the route of freezing membership payments and instead are offering free workout classes with trainers via online and social media platforms daily such as Instagram and Facebook. On their websites, they are also offering free fitness and eating guides to accommodate the new work-from-home and/or stay-at-home schedules for many.
These are great examples of finding innovative ways to increase the value of your offering, which, in turn, will increase the value of your brand. In addition to showing a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, it displays a sense of humanity. All in all, this is a time that customers will look back on and remember your brand actions during a challenging time, which allows you to build and grow relationships that gain respect in the eye of your customers. Businesses should understand how to move along by providing real-time, innovative, and tangible solutions, yet also continuing with business, resulting in impactful changes for all stakeholders.
Lydia Michael is a speaker, media contributor, and CEO and founder of Blended Collective, a multicultural marketing and brand consultancy in Detroit. The certified Women’s Business Enterprise is known for offering services such as brand development and engagement, multicultural insights, international marketing strategies, and diversity and inclusion efforts. For more information, visit blendedcollective.com and lydiamichael.com.