In a recent blog, we wrote about what the world of experiential marketing might look like in a post-Covid-19 world. In some parts of the world, including parts of the U.S., restrictions are lifting and people are able to gather in person again, with guidelines. It is encouraging to see the joy of people getting back to spending time with family and friends. However, for many, measures such as social distancing, remote work, and digital education will be a continued reality through much of 2020.
What can your brand do to connect with your audience in the meantime? What actions can your brand take to serve and grow your customer base? What kind of content should you be producing? Keep reading to learn more about how to be a model brand in times of crisis.
How to Go Above and Beyond During a Crisis
- Give your customers what they need.
Think about what your customers need during this time period. It is possible that social distancing and remote work has led to stress, boredom, loneliness, or anxiety. Parents may be having trouble juggling work and providing supervision and education to their kids. Everyone is worried about their finances, and many are worried about their health. What can your brand do to make your customers’ lives a little easier?
Acknowledge that your customer’s priorities and behaviors are different right now. Show empathy with their current struggles. See if you can provide a service or product that will relieve some of that stress, anxiety, or boredom. Build a relationship beyond selling, and focus on helping. Maybe you can offer a distraction for the kids, to help the parents. As an example, the Amazon audiobook service Audible is now offering free audiobooks to entertain and engage students.
2. Associate your brand with good.
We have written a lot about the benefits of being a purpose-led brand. 64% of customers choose to buy from socially responsible brands, and that figure is growing. During times of crisis, this approach to business is more important than ever.
In the spirit of experiential, consider what your brand can do actively do good, rather than simply providing a monetary donation. If feasible for your company, steps such as doing what you can to keep paying employees or providing free products for essential workers will make a positive impression. People will remember brands for their acts of good during this time. Your actions now may be enough to make a permanent impression on consumers’ mindsets about your brand.
3. Create feel-good content.
As we mentioned above, everyone is managing a lot of stress and anxiety right now. You may feel that your brand is limited in what it can provide to support consumer’s needs (Step 1), or how much it is able to donate time or resources (Step 2). Or, perhaps you want to keep engaging with customers in a fun way. While maintaining the appropriate tone is important, there is nothing wrong with providing welcome distractions. Feel-good content with positive messaging can go a long way towards relieving anxiety.
4. Focus on care and connection.
Connecting with customers may be more difficult now that opportunities for in-person engagement are limited. But, that doesn’t mean you should neglect it! Focus on care and connection with your audience. Engage with your customer base, and provide them a platform (such as a social media post) to discuss their concerns and worries. Or, provide them with a chance to connect with others in a social way while stuck at home — some brands are even offering Zoom video hangouts for their loyal customers. Your community can be a place to provide information, guidance, and support. Your audience already trusts your brand, so provide them with a sense of comfort during this uncertain time.
5. Stay authentic.
Of course, any of the approaches above will only work if you remain authentic. Stay true to your company values and purpose. Consumers recognize authenticity, versus attempts to profit off of a difficult time. Always think carefully about your marketing approach and how it will be perceived by customers who have greater concerns right now. Show that your contributions to good causes, and your care for your audience, are real rather than for commercial benefit.
In times of crisis, interactions with a company can trigger a lingering effect on a customer’s sense of trust and loyalty. Care, connection, authenticity, giving back, and meeting customer’s needs will help your brand forge stronger ties in the post-COVID-19 era. We don’t know what is coming next, or when the pandemic will end. But model brands will survive the crisis by being understanding, and going above and beyond to meet customer’s needs.
Want to learn more from an accomplished experiential marketing agency with 25 years of experience? Pro Motion is an industry leader in creating engaging, effective campaigns. Give us a call at 636-577-8507.
Learn More About Experiential Marketing from PMI President Steve Randazzo in his book Brand Experiences: Building Connections in a Digitally Cluttered World. Click here to download 2 free chapters!