We all got hit with a crisis we didn’t see coming—at least to this magnitude. No matter what happened before, we’re in it now. While you may be tempted to run for the hills with all the stresses of today, you can’t (You’re quarantined, remember?)!
In order for your brand to survive the storm and thrive in its aftermath, it requires a BOLD way of thinking that results in decisive action.
Your customers need you right now. The purpose of brands is to impact people in a positive way. The world needs your positivity more than ever. If you’re running on short supply, don’t fret—we got you covered. Turn off the news and read below for some things to keep in mind to boost your boldness!
Think Beyond the Storm
When things are good, some businesses are prone to think it’ll stay that way. Conversely, when things are bad, it’s tempting to think that it’s going to be bad for a while. The reality is, this too shall pass.
Fast forward in your mind to when things settle down. Do you imagine having waited until then to start innovating new measures to engage your customer base?
Playing a wait-and-see approach enables aggressive competitors to move up a notch. While your industry and competitors may not relate to others, this scenario is happening all over the place among merchants. We’re talking to business owners who are making bold moves in the middle of the storm to enjoy sunny days at their fullest.
What steps can you take NOW in order to be in a position of strength when the struggle subsides?
1. Look at the calendar and make sure your marketing lead-up for holiday and other sales events are planned-out in advance.
2. Take advantage of the “downtime” to work hard on product launches and website improvements that can impact you now as well as later.
3. Stay in tune with your customer base on a regular basis (via social media and customer service calls) so that you can quickly pivot to any opportunities that would resonate with their ever-changing needs.
Fine Tune Your Messaging
This is where a LOT of brands are missing it right now.
In an effort to not be tone-deaf to the very real anxiety that people are experiencing, companies are sending out grim “What we’re doing in response to COVID-19” messaging.
As I’m sure your inbox can attest, what many brands have done is spammed their subscriber list with uninspiring emails about what they’re doing to observe safety standards. Have you ever read one of those and thought, “This is awesome. I’m so glad they’re doing that. I think I’ll go shop their site right now!” Of course not. This is appropriate for brick-and-mortar retailers, but online merchants, while still being upfront about their preparedness, have to specifically think about what their remote customer base is going through.
Now is the time to be human. Now is the time to lead.
It’s critical to strike the right balance so that you are not being overly salesy and opportunistic. Be upbeat and positive, but also empathetic and dialed-in to what your customer base is experiencing.
1. Look for more ways on your website to express your updated messaging (homepage, blog, merchandising content)
2. Be transparent, relatable—and positive–about how this time is affecting your company through social media posts.
3. Inject personality into dull communication standards that have sat unattended.
Be Creative for Your Customers
This crisis is unlike anything we’ve ever faced, but you’re a creative problem solver that’s up to the challenge. In order to come to a solution on a particularly difficult problem, I challenge myself to “ask different questions.” In other words, if you’re still asking yourself the same questions you’ve always asked prior to all of this happening, you’re unlikely to come up with some innovative ideas.
Stop asking questions like, “Where’s the money going to come from?” because that’s something you can always ask. It’s also focused on your needs, not those of your customers. Obviously, your business needs cash to survive, but your business is also based around satisfying the needs of others. Right now, the public’s needs have changed nearly overnight. In order to get them to spend money with you, you have to engage with them differently.
We can’t forget that buying is emotional. If people are depressed and worried, they’re not very enthusiastic about spending money. Therefore, it’s your job to inspire and engage them in a dynamic fashion. Just remember: Customers aren’t leaving their house very much, which means they’re a semi-captive audience for your unique and creative marketing. People are aching to get back to positivity and normalcy, and your brand has a great opportunity to represent that to them.
Let’s look at some examples of what some companies that sell products that you might not consider “essentials” these days.
Check out what Secret Lab (a store that sells high-end gaming chairs) to promote their “Stay at Home” Sale they’re blasting across social media:
Font-designer Comicraft created this promotion for their “March ‘Avoiding the Madness’ Half-Price Font Sale”:
Michaels is being upfront about how being stuck at home creates a ton of boredom! And they have the solution for parents with kids:
These companies are being real about what’s going on. Now, more than ever, is the time to be real about what’s going on outside.
1. Make sure all of your marketing content is dynamic and upbeat.
2. Utilize a consistent message across all of your outbound media (including aggressive use of social media).
3. Come up with unique promotions that speak directly to what your customers are experiencing these days.
Need some more advice that’s specific to what your business is going through? Give us a call or shoot us a note. We’re in this together with you!