BRANDS AND PANDEMIC: HOW CAN MARKETING HELP?
By Anita Figuereido
Times are strange times and present new challenges for companies and brands that today need to seek different paths to reach their customers. It is imperative that we find ways to Marketing and communicate intelligently during this crisis.
There are a lot of tips going around a lot of sides: And it is great to absorb everything to have new perspectives. We offer you some Marketing thoughts that we believe can help your brand survive, adapt and even come out stronger in this new paradigm.
Listen to your customers and what they are saying. What do they think of the context, how they are going through it. And what is the feeling about your brand in this context. The situation may have changed a lot, some positions may have improved and many others may have worsened. Your brand may have become essential, in this new context. Or have lost value. Perhaps your brand was part of the day-to-day life of your client and - today - it has disappeared from their thinking.
At the behavioral level, how does your client evolve with this change in context? What new habits does he acquire?
In addition to listening directly to the customer through the service channels that your company has established (hopefully many, hopefully integrated), it is also very important to monitor the social conversation.
Also, it is time to think about doing market research to understand more deeply. Depending on your ability, consider in-depth interviews or qualitative research that is a bit more elaborate.
As a guide, transfer the budget for activations and public roads to advertising that reaches people in their homes, through their screens and devices.
Analyze all the campaigns in progress. What is your communication saying? It is appropriate? Surely, in addition to your active media campaigns and - especially - if the Marketing you implement is modern, there is a lot of automated marketing or interaction with your customers: Check your Marketing, check it NOW.
Be careful with emails, bots, messages from the answering machine and even watch out for the signage (posters) that you have exposed in your stores (if you are lucky enough that they are open). Everything may have gotten old, out of context, or even inappropriate. Think if your communication can make your client feel offended, ignored, underestimated ...
Remember that this is a sensitive time: If there are doubts, check your messages with some loyal customers and ask for their opinion. Don't take chances.
Empathize, - it is always important, we have been talking about this for years and it is fundamental for all brands, in any industry or field. If this was important before, now it is really crucial. Putting yourself in your client's shoes is essential.
Your brand has to be in tune with the conversation and the sentiment of the moment. Therefore, before approving an action or communication, ask yourself these questions. Is it appropriate to communicate this now? Do you agree with your client's and general sentiment today?
In addition to the obvious adjustments that help digitize your business, adapt your offer to the new context, and work collaboratively and productively with your agencies and suppliers, what will your brand do that allows it to evolve its relationship with your audiences?
This is the time to BE, as well as to appear. Brands must have appropriate behaviors, as well as an appropriate tone. Know that your customers are going to punish you if your action, promotion or communication seems opportunistic or insensitive.
And, most importantly: If your brand can contribute to social well-being, don't hesitate. We are seeing brands of all sizes that are contributing their bit to the general well-being: paid services that are released in trial format, cooking classes that great chefs or restaurants offer for free, physical education teachers or crafts that they make alive in Instagram or YouTube, universities that open the thinking of their professors to accompany executives.
The content offer multiplies and everything goes here: entertain, make people laugh, help mental health, provide a tool, alleviate a fixed cost, free up a service.
If your company does not have a purpose with social impact, this is surely the time to help. And if you can help your client with their choice as well, great. What you do for your client in distress today is going to be remembered. What you don't do today, too.
If things are very difficult and you have no other option and you have to make a change that could harm your customers based on this context, apologize and communicate your decision in an open and transparent way. Do not hide. If you have to choose, give priority to your clients who may be most affected by this pandemic: risk groups, recent parents, or people who lost their income. Let your discounts and benefits come first for them.
And of course. Treat your people well: Show -without overselling- the care you do of your collaborators. A responsible company today must be very clear about the measures it takes so that its employees spend this moment in the best way possible.
Regarding the future, it is time to think:
What are the implications that the new context will have on your offer - product or service?
How will your client's view of your product change, after the behavioral evolution that he is doing and will do in the coming months
What opportunities will arise in the new post-Pandemic world? What new products and services will be more attractive?
What does your usual client need today, in this new context? What things in your product and service offering are right NOW for customers who didn't choose you before?
Surely your customers are suffering. In a way, this context switch cut through all of us. Even if your sales have not suffered in this context, you must reflect why. Perhaps, your customers continue to choose your brand, despite being dissatisfied with some practices that your company. Maybe they do it because TODAY they have no other choice.
Know that this moment is not going to be forever and your clients will remember the changes you made now that hurt them or did not take them into account.
The value of the brand is built over time. A positioning takes time to achieve, but can be destroyed in seconds.
Anita Figuereido, Proteína Director