Diana Conconi and Taylor Gadde
The impact of COVID-19 on our healthcare system, economy and day-to-day life has been unprecedented. In Canada, the closest comparison we have is the SARS epidemic that occurred in 2003, though on a much smaller scale. Fortunately, technology has improved drastically since then.
As nearly all consumers have transitioned to either working remotely or unfortunately no longer being employed, our need for brands has shifted. As consumers, we are no longer looking for updates on product deals or board member appointments. The brands that are visible and able to pivot to provide valuable, supportive information to customers and the public in general will get through this challenge better.
To be a supportive brand during COVID-19, we’ve put together some helpful tips on ways to stay top of mind with stakeholders while staying authentic and sharing helpful information.
1. Communicate. One of the primary rules in crisis communications is to over-communicate. Your regular customers lives have been uprooted. Reaching out with a regular cadence of communication is a great way to let them know you are there for them and increase brand affinity. Think about it – If you don’t speak to your customers now, someone else will.
This doesn’t, however, mean bombarding them with messages. Be respectful of their new reality and the accompanying information overload and only share what information is relevant and useful. Good judgement is always important but is especially crucial in our current environment.
2. Collaborate. Ensure what you’re saying is helpful. Customers will know when a brand is reaching out just for the sake of it. Now is the time to provide a service, not to sell a product. Look to ways to partner with relevant companies or industries to provide a more comprehensive offering. Brands must make an effort to answer the difficult questions, reassure when they can and collaborate with others in the industry for the greater good.
3. Spread awareness. We live in a digital, connected society driven by social media. While typically used to share information about the company and its products or services, brands should now be using these platforms to share informative resources. During these challenging times, companies need to find new ways to educate. Organizations that remain visible and provide value in this way will have a less arduous climb out when the recovery begins.
4. Vary your communication avenues. Organizations tend to use email for its quick and efficient ability to send mass messages, but consumers’ inboxes are being flooded by other companies doing the same thing. To ensure you reach your audience with the right information, leveraging a variety of owned, paid and earned channels can help spread awareness to a broader demographic.
With most of your customers stuck inside, the need for connection is more important than ever. Make sure you are there for them now or they may not be there for you in a few weeks.