It arrived without a warning. It has ravaged countries, both from a health and economic standpoint. It has brought the world to a standstill.
Such is the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Companies far and wide have been affected. It has driven people inside their homes, marking a halt in operations for many businesses around the globe. As they wait for a cure or a vaccine goes on, how do you, as a brand, continue to engage your customers?
Branding in the Age of COVID-19
Some may say that continuing your branding, marketing, or selling efforts can be insensitive. Yet, people still need to eat, purchase essential items, and even gain access to non-essential provisions of information, entertainment, or distraction from the unfolding events brought on by this pandemic.
Branding in these trying times is not a sin. As long as you remain grounded and attuned to the needs of the people, you can still leverage your brand without seeming cold and callous. Now, more than ever, your company’s mission and vision must work tightly with your customer relationship goals. This is the time to make your market feel how you genuinely care for them by providing a swift and appropriate reaction to the call of the times.
Lockdowns and quarantines are happening all around. Mobility for most is limited. Strict social distancing rules are observed. It is definitely not business as usual. How will you ensure that your brand is still top of mind? Read on and find out how you can still engage your customers amidst the coronavirus crisis:
1. Go Back to Basics
Do your company’s mission and vision remain applicable in today’s current scenario? Will your brand proposition apply to the situation at hand? How can you leverage your point of differentiation in delivering an agile and relevant response to the needs of your consumers?
You need to review your organization’s core values and see how you can adapt it to address the current needs of your customers. Similarly, you should revisit your brand proposition as well and check whether it can be applied to engage your target market.
Going back to basics will also help align your content and messages with your brand values and proposition. It can help you drive home your point of differentiation through communications and actions that support your brand philosophy.
For example, Volvo Cars have always been a benchmark for automotive safety. When the coronavirus struck, they tailored their content to say that the safest place to be at the moment is inside their homes. This message is still in line with their core value of safety. It is supported by similar efforts such as providing safe transport for health workers or using the vehicles for relief efforts.
2. Bank on Customer Experience
With your brand values, proposition, and point of differentiation in place, you can then focus on delivering tailored content, messages, and action to your target audience.
Start by maximizing your existing relationship with your current customer base. Send assurance letters, offer tips to stay safe and healthy, and share other pertinent information that will assure your clients that you still think of them in these trying times. Make sure to use a tone of voice that is warm, human-centric, and trustworthy.
At the same time, take this slowdown in business operations as a chance to innovate. You can take a look at your current processes and systems and see how you can create or take advantage of opportunities. Put together what you have learned to design a customer experience that is relevant to the times.
If your business didn’t make deliveries before the time of COVID-19, then this is a good time to start doing so. You can also open a virtual shop where your customers can still browse through your offerings and purchase products or services that they might need.
3. Think Outside the Physical Box
Always return to what your clients need and use this information to create mutually beneficial solutions.
Since most people are now at home, Internet traffic has gone up. The information superhighway is rife with people who either work from home or need something to while away their time while cooped up indoors.
From the physical aspect of your stores or business establishment, shift to online channels. Make use of your website or social media channels to connect and interact with your customers. Use this to deliver services that they need or will appreciate.
For instance, you can create short videos that demonstrate how to properly wash hands or practice respiratory hygiene. You can also establish an online assistance system where clients may contact you through chat to ask for technical support or informative answers to their questions.
Adaptability and Agility
These are unprecedented times. If you lose the ability to adapt and respond efficiently to the requirements of your clients, then you may also lose their trust and loyalty to your brand.
If you want to become better equipped to manage and leverage your brand in the age of COVID-19, it is best that you ask for assistance from brand experts. The experience and the expertise of a branding consultancy firm will surely help you become a brand and business that is attuned to the needs of its clients.
Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region’s leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success time and again. Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.