Remote working is now the norm. The shops, restaurants and bars we usually visit without second thought are closed. Nipping to the gym is now a no-go and holiday plans are on pause.
We’ve all been ordered to stay at home. Our brief is to literally help save lives.
Almost overnight everything changed – and what can be difficult to grasp right now is that nobody’s to blame. We’re in a situation of nobody’s doing, but we’re all feeling the effects and – with that in mind – it would be all too easy to hit the panic button without a second thought; we’re all human!
In that vein, this naturally feels like a time for everybody to pull together and do their bit.
Research from Kantar has found brands that take a human centric, fearless and bold approach during this period will be noticed and valued. Consumers don’t want brands to stop their messaging, but it’s obvious any messaging right now shouldn’t be exploitative or insensitive.
Naturally, some sectors will see huge growth during these challenging times as there’s sudden demand for their product or service. Others will of course struggle as people can’t go about their normal routines. People are stuck indoors – and while the personal touch might be missing, technology has stepped up to the plate.
Families have celebrated Mother’s Day via FaceTime while those of us working remotely are keeping in touch with colleagues through video calls. It’s been a regular occurrence here at S3 and we even held our weekly full agency meeting through Microsoft Teams – all members of staff touching base, albeit on screen rather than in person.
Whether it’s to check in with loved ones, to work or for entertainment, we’ve all just been pushed online, which will lead to some big changes in consumer behaviour – and it seems evident brands who don’t understand how to market in this now even more digital world will fall behind.
Your audience is still out there!
Kantar research shows people in the UK have been consuming more media in the last month, but rather than going to the cinema, they’re watching more streaming services, visiting websites more often – and spending longer on social media.
So, keeping communication between you and your consumers flowing is as important now as always. Just make sure you focus your efforts across the right channels.
Not all brands will have customers who’re ready to buy this second. But, across social media it’s a chance to boost engagement. Show you’re there and you care for your customers during a time of crisis and take the opportunity to build a loyal community – a group of people who will consider you when the time’s right.
One tip, just make sure your ducks are aligned and that your messaging rings true!
Consistency is key.
Kantar have observed social media posting frequencies have declined for most. So, does less noise mean more reach? Social Chain’s CEO Steve Bartlett recently claimed during his “The Opportunity in Crisis” webinar that organic social media reach had increased dramatically in the last two weeks, giving brands the opportunity to double or even treble impressions.
For our client, Brace’s Bakery, we’ve been utilising our in-house Content Producers to create graphics and help ensure regular updates are posted across their social media channels. These have kept customers reassured the production lines are still moving and that there’s therefore no reason to panic buy in supermarkets.
A note from our Directors, Mark & Jonathan Brace 👇 pic.twitter.com/mGzYb266lA
— Brace’s Bakery (@BracesBakery) March 16, 2020
Across Facebook, we’ve seen page views increase by 102%, while through some proactive image tagging on Twitter, we also managed to secure Brace’s some press coverage. BBC Wales chose to film at the factory for their evening news programme.
🍞 We’re here for you during this challenging time — and in the last week alone, we’ve produced an extra 250,000 loaves to meet increased demand.
— Brace’s Bakery (@BracesBakery) March 21, 2020
Ask yourself, can you support your customers in the current climate; whether they need to adapt, or whether you need to help reassure them that there will be a pandemic-less future – and give them the opportunity now to make plans for it. It can be argued this is an opportunity to experiment.
But, importantly, listen!
Keep a close eye on how your messages are being received. Everybody – from brands to employers to individuals themselves – has a part to play in maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing during an unprecedented time for the country.