At the hint of a burgeoning global health crisis, brands scrambled to share the same message: we’re in this together. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked a growing movement of community-based values in marketing. The interaction between brands and consumers is rapidly changing as a subsequent effect of social distancing. Today’s consumers are looking to brands to lead and respond in times of uncertainty, and are clinging tightly to the brands that have prioritized community-building efforts in their marketing strategy.
That being said, brands have a greater impact on consumers than ever before. With a captive global audience, brands are competing to reach the people endlessly scrolling through the same content on their social feeds as they shelter in place. This is the time for brands to be empathetic, to rethink their approach to community, and ultimately to humanize their brand in a way that is unique to the customers they serve. It’s important for brands to establish this connection in a way that causes people to stop scrolling & interact.
Humanization begins with a brand’s existing community — brand loyalty should be the first priority. Focus on nurturing relationships with the customers who already love the brand. Identify who those customers are and consider:
- What do they want or need?
- What do they fear?
- What role does the brand play in these customers’ lives?
Once brands identify what their customers want and need, they can get creative with new ways to engage their customer base. Consider the role that this community of customers plays in regard to the brand’s mission and values, and how that can be implemented into an existing strategy. This can mean creating new ways for consumers to connect with the brand across social platforms, starting meaningful conversations within the community, or getting your community involved with charitable causes.
Right now it’s important for brands to be present and take action. Consumers are looking closely at the way brands are reacting to our current health crisis, and brands’ response will have a significant effect on the way that consumers view and trust them, both now and in the future. This is a time for brands to invest in their community and cultivate stronger, lasting relationships with the consumers they care about the most.