Maintaining a robust brand presence is tantamount right now, and planning out your marketing strategy is a vital part of that. But the COVID-19 crisis and the recession it has generated means that businesses need to regularly revisit their messaging and marketing strategy to better meet their clients’ and prospects’ needs as we move through this period.
Understanding the best strategy to make your audience feel whatever “normal” there is during this time will provide a long term benefit for your brand.
Here are some of the things we’re doing and recommend to our clients during this time.
Don’t Go Dark
The initial knee jerk reaction for many businesses in this recession has been to go dark or pull back on their messaging because it’s an unprecedented time, and that makes it difficult to understand what the best course of action is. But the worst thing you can do right now is to stop communicating. Don’t ignore that captive audience that you worked so hard to build. You need to maintain the same consistency and same level of communication you were doing prior to this crisis, but you need to adapt your messaging to meet your audience.
While in-person meetings were the norm, now we’re having those conversations via video or through email. Your clients and prospects are also spending vastly more time on social media. Having a strong online presence that leverages technology to interact and communicate remotely with your audience of clients and prospects will be key to making your marketing more effective and helping you stay top of mind. We’re seeing in the data that organizations and brands that continue to stay top of mind with their audiences will have long-term success because the consumer who is interacting with those brands today will have better brand recall over time.
Right now, everything generates emotions in our lives. For many consumers, messaging and communications are going to be processed and stored through episodic memory. This is a memory funnel that is more emotion-based, so facts, figures, and statistics don’t come into play. It’s a reaction and a memory trigger based on how you feel. It’s one of the reasons why we’re also seeing a lot of people turning towards brands that bring them comfort. Tide has seen a spike in their sales because the smell reminds people of the safety and comfort of home.
With this need to make up for the lack of in-person interaction that we’re all experiencing while sheltering in place, your audience wants messaging that leans heavily towards personalization and personalized communications that reach out in a familiar, warm, personable way. People are drawn to less filtered versions of your brand and the faces behind it. They want to work with companies who share their values and learn more about what the real people behind the business are doing to meet the challenges we’re all facing. There has never been a better time to talk about your “why”. Be the person who starts the conversation. Share your deeper story and the purpose behind what you’re doing and what challenges you’re facing.
Also, take some time to inventory what you’re responding to in the messaging you’re receiving from brands. Think about what communications are getting your attention and why. Take a look at your current messaging and ask yourself, “Is this how I would like to be talked to during this time?” Strategize changes you can make in your communications to bring them more in line with those expectations. I’m not talking about completely changing the way you communicate. But understanding your normal voice, and then imbuing that with a tone that is more personal and more sensitive to the environment we’re all in right now is how I would position thinking about your communications.
Provide Value First
Now is not the time for the hard pitch – and that never really worked anyway. What your audience is looking for right now is value in exchange for their time and attention. They need actionable insights and resources that they can use to face the challenges of this time. It is the perfect opportunity to talk to your clients and really listen to what they have to say. Then take that information and use it to craft content and solutions that help your audience navigate the challenges they are facing.
Put Focus & Energy Behind What You Do Well
Word of mouth has never been more important. Now is the time to drill down and understand what it is that brought your business referrals in the first place. Analyze what you do and do well. Then put effort and energy behind those activities. Spreading your marketing efforts across multiple platforms or multiple focus areas for products and services isn’t going to work in today’s climate. Focusing on what you do well will yield more success.
The customer experience can make or break your company during the best of times. With emotions running high and people feeling stressed, it is more critical than ever to meet your audience where they are right now and provide them with valuable information and solutions that meet their needs.
Learn more by listening to our B2B Word of Mouth Marketing podcast episode, How to Strategize a Marketing Campaign.
All the best,
P.S. At boomtime we help our clients make the most of LinkedIn and email every day. Click here to see our pricing.