During these rather challenging times, consumers are looking for something that gives them hope. They want to feel important, that their opinions and concerns matter, and want to able to trust brands to have their best interests at heart. Incorporating this element of trust in your marketing strategy is therefore more important than ever.
Finding hope in a digital marketing strategy
When the offline world is essentially unreachable, people get scared, and marketers need to use their creativity to become beacons of hope.
Try to engage with your customers on a digital level. Talk and interact with them. Don’t focus on digital sales but on brand awareness. Let them know you’re there and that, even in times of crisis, you are not abandoning them. Make sure they know that your company is thinking about them and has their best interests at heart. Be honest and use social media to communicate about the measures you are taking. By doing this, you will build up customer loyalty.
In times of crisis you, as a leader, need to be a light in the dark. And your whole team needs to preach the same story. Customers needs to feel better, so instead of pushing your online sales strategy, push your branding strategy. Let it be known that you are a steady rock during this crisis, and that the community can count on you during times of uncertainty. Be witty, but not too funny – after all, a crisis is a serious matter and your brand needs to be a rock.
Sprinkle some purpose on your brand
If you want to survive the Corona crisis as a brand, you need to do more than just meet your customers’ needs. This might sound like a cheap sales trick – and sometimes it is – so be careful and conscious about what and how you communicate. The last thing you want is to come across as being opportunistic.
There are some great examples from big brands that have practised purpose-driven marketing and succeeded. Those who get it right managed to communicate emotion, where a physical product or a service is transformed into a warm and positive feeling. For example, we all know Dove; they don’t sell shampoo, they sell a feeling of body positivity that has become an essential part of their DNA.
When the Corona crisis started, some Belgian brands created a big impact by closing their physical stores before it was mandatory. That sent a strong message, showing their customers that they really cared about the health and safety of both them and their employees. Through actions like this, brands showed that they were not afraid to take responsibility – more so than even the government at the time.
Showing that you care more for people than for your sales is a big asset, and consumers take notice. After the crisis people will feel comfortable returning to the stores that acted responsibly. Altogether, this is a great communication-, brand- and marketing strategy to be working with.
Grab opportunities when they arise
This crisis is not only an opportunity for the big brands to show their customers they care, but also for the small and medium-sized business to do so. We all have our part to play in society, both close to home and further afield, so rethinking how we can contribute is important.
We can find opportunities even in the details. For example, letting your employees work from home is great for your employer branding and with a little thinking outside the box, you can even give it a deeper purpose: it’s greener, it reduces traffic in the cities.
This is not the time to keep pushing sales, but rather to show the world what kind of business you are or aspire to be.
Food for thought
As consumer, employer and employee, we all share a responsibility to get through this crisis. How things evolve will be determined by our behaviour, so why don’t we take the opportunity to add value and purpose, to come out stronger on the other side.
We can create added value for our company through our marketing strategy – customers will remember this long after the crisis, even in a B2B market, and respect you as a brand even more. Remember that customers need firm leadership, clear communication and hope. Incorporate this in your marketing strategy and you will give yourself the best chance of emerging from the crisis in a stronger position.