Read other posts on Marketing during the Coronavirus:
Coronavirus: Marketing now, preparing for the future
Talking to consumers in the right way during the Coronavirus pandemic
During the Coronavirus outbreak, I actually have the time to scour the web and look at the marketing strategy of businesses and what others are doing to help weather the storm; making sure that they rise up stronger on the other side. It is possible for sure but it’s important to understand how to do this and why you should do this.
We are living in what can only be described as unprecedented times, I’ve never seen anything like this. With outbreaks before they’ve been quite contained and it’s never really touched the lives of so many.
At the moment, people are feeling anxious, worried and really quite scared. The news and media are covering the Coronavirus 24/7 and we’re getting differing information from different countries as to how they are handling the crisis.
Here is the UK we’re now in lockdown. Police can issue fines for those people who are out and gathered for no valid reason. Schools have closed and parents who are not key workers must stay at home to ensure that children aren’t left with grandparents. There’s loss of work, changes in working habits – who knew that whole companies could work from home.
Humans are naturally social creatures, so isolation in this way is tough and possibly going to have real impact on mental and physical health. I think the worry people must be feeling right now is quite substantial, especially from a financial and economic point of view – while employees are most likely wondering “how am I going to feed my family?” “will I lose my job after all this is over?” “how will I pay the rent?”.. businesses are most likely worrying about the same thing firstly for their employees and then for themselves – however, it is likely to be more focused around ensuring the stability of their businesses and making sure that they are able to ride the wave and come out the other side.
Alongside this, over the coming months people are going to feel more and more disconnected and isolated.
PUTTING EMPLOYEES FIRST
From an employee point of view, being honest and open is the best thing that you can do in this trying time. Consumers are worried and need to know that you understand and that you are going to do the best you can. Reassuring your team that ‘you are in this together’ will go a long way. My father runs a gift company, he is not customer facing or open to the public but he does have a roster of employees that are reliant on him.
When this pandemic broke out, he began implementing measures to maintain a united, motivated and loyal team. He put their health and safety first, enforcing the 2 metre social distance rule, bringing in shift patterns to ensure that there were minimal staff on the workshop floor and providing a clean and sanitised workspace. It’s a simple strategy showing solidarity and care.
Now he is faced with the big question – he adds value to people’s lives by brings them gifts that make them smile but in a situation like this, his proposition has to change.
“How does he add value?” “How does you business add value?”… this question is more poignant than ever.
WHERE TO START
Think about how your brand/business can be of value to your consumers now. What are they most concerned about, adapt your business to those needs as best you can. I think it’s really important to note, that actions right now speak louder than words. We’re in a time of need, and brands need to act.
I spoke in my last post about gin companies producing hand sanitiser, GiftsOnline4U.com releasing tools and resources to help consumers weather isolation more easily and online streaming of fitness classes becoming the norm.
Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.. we’ve gone back to the basics and so keep it simple and help to ease the worry of your consumers.
With the government offering mortgage holidays, brands changing their product offering and focus shifting towards supporting society – we’ll get there and we’ll get there together. Life will go back to normal and the Coronavirus will be beaten back, but it is going to take time – with that time, the businesses that plan and think beyond the ‘financial’ side of their business, will be the ones we remember.