Brand Communications in the Age of COVID-19
Companies are navigating new ways of working and communicating during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as preparing for what lies ahead. It’s more important than ever to showcase support and thoughtfulness to customers while simultaneously demonstrating to employees their value to the organization. Here are a few tips we’re sharing to help clients with external and internal brand communications challenges related to this new and unfamiliar, fully virtual, economy:
General Brand Communication Guidelines:
- Offer Something Different. Your audience has been inundated with messages from seemingly every brand it has interacted with in the past. To break through the noise, offer a different perspective or unique solution. By approaching the topic from a new direction, you’re more likely to make an impact.
- Timeliness, Tone, and Brevity Matter. As new developments emerge daily, be quick to respond, when appropriate, with important information that’s quick and easy to digest. In an environment flooded with content, don’t bog down the social feed. And review your messages (paid and owned) to ensure that your tone does not appear insensitive.
- Be Human. Speak from the heart. Lead with the ways you are helping to keep your employees, their families, and your customers healthy during this time. Create a true connection by speaking authentically and avoiding robotic statements or copied-and-pasted sentiments.
- Stay Connected. Working remotely for an extended period of time can feel isolating. It is important to keep team members and employees informed about relevant information. Without the benefit of sharing a physical workspace, the need to communicate frequently is crucial. Make sure your teams are clear on key deliverables. Even when there are no new updates, connecting with each other helps maintain a sense of normalcy.
- Be Patient. While we don’t know how long this will last, we know there has been a dramatic shift in many people’s “workplaces”. That includes balancing parental and familial duties, or other work-from-home challenges, with job responsibilities and deadlines.
- Show Compassion. Our employees and coworkers will remember the way we treat each other during this process and, in some cases, it will define our future relationships. Share uplifting stories and warm messages while providing resources for spending time at home or connecting with others from afar. Everyone is working through challenges and there exists a real opportunity to demonstrate compassion while still being productive. Be good to each other.
Marketing Research Guidelines:
- Reconsider Your Qualitative Research Methodology. The current situation with COVID-19 has eliminated the potential for in-person qualitative research (e.g., focus groups, ethnographic interviews, etc.). What’s the best way, as a brand manager, to continue conducting qualitative research during the era of social distancing? We have been successfully utilizing online qualitative methods such as moderated webcam sessions, chat sessions, and telephone depth interviews for years. These types of methodologies are needed now more than ever to safely conduct qualitative research.
- Uncover how COVID-19 is affecting the purchase behaviors of your customers. With most Americans stuck at home during this difficult period, consumer shopping behavior has been significantly impacted. How are the shopping habits and attitudes changing during stay-in-place orders? How will your customers shift their spending? Fortunately, we have found consumers appear to be more likely than ever to respond to market research surveys while at home. We have decades of experience locating the right respondents and asking the most appropriate and relevant questions to identify how your market is rapidly changing.
- Determine how you should adjust targeted digital ad spend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current market research indicates massive shifts across multiple categories regarding PPC spend, social media spend, revenue, and conversion rates. What’s the best way to reach your target audience while they’re cooped up at home? We have been closely monitoring market statistics and can offer advice on how to shift your digital marketing spend to increase conversion rates and capture more customers.
If you need support navigating your brand communications or market research needs during these uncertain times, we’re here to help. Reach out today to build a solutions-based strategy for your business.