We are facing a crisis right now, each time we look at the news, COVID-19 has us in a tailspin, particularly for businesses.
Marketing plans are taking a hit due to the travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, deferment of large-scale events and with more people working remotely. Companies are toeing the lines of maybes and what-ifs waiting for the situation to improve. However, we must accept that this may become the new normal for a long time to come. So, how can businesses fulfil their goals during unprecedented times? Where is the transition line for businesses to function?
With marketing budgets scaled back, it is important to realign where the dollars are spent. It is time to return to the drawing board and reshape business goals for 2020.
Forward thinking, continuous learning and education are vital during these challenging times. It is more imperative than ever to send the right message to customers and stakeholders. Active marketing efforts must consider how the business responds to the COVID-19 situation.
Here are some ways that marketing efforts can be reshaped. What is important to note is that most of these efforts can be planned and produced via emails, video conferences and phone calls.
- Pilot your Efforts, not your Brand
Be sensitive and don’t keep pounding your value as a brand. As we grapple with the reality of a situation that has most people in a panic, the best thing to do as a business is to reassure your customers and stakeholders of the community value the brand can convey to others.
Be a part of the solution to ease mounting fears, think of ways the brand can help pilot community efforts to support the fight against the pandemic. For instance, LVMH, turned its manufacturing lines at brands like Guerlain, Parfums Christian Dior and Givenchy to mass manufacture hand sanitizers for French hospitals. Their actions enacted change and showed solidarity during a hard time.
As a small and medium-sized business, it may not be feasible to do what LVMH has done, but there are more ways to do so. For example, invite customers to link up with the brand’s efforts in showing care to others. Start a campaign on social media and encourage your customers to contribute to it. Perhaps it could be making 100 handmade cards for health care workers, have customers send in their pictures via your social media.
Regroup your marketing budget to digital marketing – Now is the best time to make use of what technology can offer us. Engage with customers even through social distancing. Clients desire to feel assured and heard, and as a business, you can help provide that. Do not send customers mass emails informing them that you take their health and safety seriously, implementing hygiene measures during this time is a necessity and part of the brand’s social responsibility. So, do not make it seem like it is an added effort on the brand’s part. Rather, address how your brand can help support customers during this time.
Employ the right use of social media to be socially responsible and to create an outreach with social media to connect with your customers. Draw them in with efforts of how you are addressing their concerns with the brand, for instance, if you are selling property, inform your customers about payment schemes that could tide them over during this challenging period.
- Boost the Morale of your Business with Videos
Vexed about the worldwide state of affairs and the economic repercussions that follow, morale is on a high-time low. Aside to worries about being infected, people are also cutting back on their expenses, such as taking taxis, eating out, buying clothes and indulging in any form of self-care because they wish to save for a rainy day. The what-ifs hang precariously over everyone’s heads now. However, staying positive is half the fight won; we do not have to remain despondent. A brand can help change that narrative, with the power of videos.
Let us start with the brand’s employees because they form the heartbeat of the narrative. How employees are treated and how they respond, as a result, is a direct indication to customers about how the brand is coping with changes. Treat employees right, and customers will have continued confidence in the brand. For instance, Virgin airlines received criticisms for asking employees to take eight weeks of unpaid leave, due to the tremendous hit that the airline industry has taken. To many, this came across as being cold and undeserving.
Instead, take this opportunity to connect with your employees. Interview employees about their experience within the brand during this time of crisis and how they are still striving hard to produce ideas and work through strategies for the brand’s products and services for the customers. Have them share the creativity and culture within the company that is still thriving.
Interview customers about their experiences during this time with the brand. Perhaps, it was a product they purchased with the brand that put a cheer in their day or service rendered that made them feel cared for. For instance, if as a hotel, how a staycation in the hotel made the guest feel like they were on vacation, despite the travel restrictions.
There is nothing more powerful than what we can see for ourselves; however, COVID-19 has made that hard for us now. Without marketing events, customers cannot connect directly to the business. Our solution is to employ the power of videos to nurture that connection. Entire marketing campaigns can be done through videos alone. Personal, engaging, and dynamic, artfully produced videos can be quickly delivered across various social media platforms. Limited to a small group of people, these videos can be produced in a socially responsible way.
- Reach out to your Audience
Content truly becomes king during this crisis because the right information empowers and educates people. Go creative and ‘speak’ to your stakeholders, and clients through well-conceived original content. Social distancing does not mean that you cannot have an honest conversation and sharing of ideas with people. While your customers are cooped up at home, perhaps now is the time to give them something to read about. The right content will address the immediate needs of your audience, depending on the type of business. Newsletters, articles, and blogs are a great way to remain relevant to your audience.
Let us start with what you should not share in your written content, do not share medical and/or regulation information about the COVID-19 pandemic, instead, direct your customers and stakeholders to credible sources where they can get information from the authorities and experts.
Do update information about shifting trends within your industry, have reputable guests to contribute their thoughts to articles, newsletters, and blogs about how the pandemic will influence the business and what the forecast for the industry will look like.
Do inform how the brand is adapting to rapid changes to meet the needs of customers during this time. For instance, if you are in the hospitality industry, you can share the measures undertaken to ensure the well-being of everyone. This can be done in a digestible manner using infographics coupled with informational content.
Do educate customers and stakeholders about the questions they may have with regards to the brand and industry.
Everyone is looking for a silver lining during these times, while it is hard to see, there is one, if brands choose to see it. The unseen benefit here is that through the power of technology and words, marketing efforts can still go on, and businesses can continue to keep up. Take this time of crisis to show your employees and customers that you care more about what you can do for them than they can for you. If the brand is there with them today, they will be with the brand tomorrow, when life goes back to normal.
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About WriteHaus Asia
WriteHaus Asia is a Singapore based branding and content agency. Founded in 2016, we accelerate brands through content, video/photography, digital media, and branding. We believe in dynamic storytelling for lasting conversations between your customers and you. Content and design tell a compelling, curious, and centred story, find out how with us.
For more information on what we do, please visit http://www.writehausasia.com/.