Retail stores closed, Airlines operating at a fraction of their capacity, the Hospitality sector in turmoil, we are amidst some unprecedented times. Covid 19 has impacted every nature and size of business. During these turbulent times how brands engage with their internal and external stakeholders is extremely crucial.
Every stakeholder of a corporation is wondering about aspects like business continuity, job security, and capability of the business to weather this storm and corporations need to address these factors when designing and executing their brand communication.
The COVID19 crisis has brought about a significant shift in a brand’s communication. In the case of start-ups, it is a difficult time. Along with various other challenges they are undoubtedly faced with significant challenges in designing a brand communication strategy.
In a post COVID19 scenario, the earlier paradigm of promotion and brand awareness campaign is no longer the only requirement. In the present-day context brand messaging has to be more community-centric, not product or service-centric.
It is important to understand that every market or individual that corporations are dealing with is being affected because of this pandemic. Therefore, the focus should shift from product promotion marketing messages to compassion and informative in every possible way.
Running a sales pitch driven marketing campaign is counter-intuitive as both brands and individuals are focussed on sustaining their operations or finding ways to circumvent this crisis.
Let us discuss some of the key tenets of brand communication for corporations to help them better engage with their stakeholders.
- Trust: In these times of crisis every corporation should focus on building trust. With businesses going under and corporations not sure whether the corporation that they are engaged with will be able to support their operations, it is important to communicate that a corporation has the financial and operational wherewithal to remain operational.
In these times with limited access to marketing budget focus for corporations should be to create your brand’s visibility through organic means. With each marketing channel having a different kind of audience, a corporation needs to work in an innovative manner to build traction and engagement. With the inherent viral nature of content sharing on social media using an online channel will help a brand get recognition and would probably become the primary means of communication with its customer.
- Business Continuity: As outlined earlier it’s critical that a brand communicates that its operations remain functioning even with the healthcare emergency that has been declared in many countries.
On various platforms, where a corporation’s customers are active highlight how core operations are being run and SLA’S are being adhered to even with various complexities of running operations in a distributed manner. With physical interaction not possible now, use tools like Zoom and WebEx to spread the information regarding the change in your operational process.
Grow customer intimacy via emails and in-app notification to keep your customers, prospects, and employees engaged.
- CHANGE YOUR MARKETING EXPAND YOUR BRAND VALUE: Every brand has an underlying value proposition highlighted by their slogans, ranging from Nike “Just Do it” to De Beers “A Diamond Is Forever”. It is important to expand on your core messaging to incorporate aspects that address the current scenario.
Look at how Uber is doing this from an earlier messaging where it used to encourage people to move about and used its services now it’s asking people to stay at home.
- COMMUNICATE EMPATHETICALLY: With this Pandemic, people don’t know what to expect. Therefore, as a brand, a corporation needs to be empathetic with its messages. Do not hesitate to help. If there is an act of kindness that you can do in this period, do it. It will help you build trust with your public and also give you immense visibility. Every action you do is going to determine and speak volumes about your brand. Communication is the key to maintain a healthy relation with your fellow businessmen.
THE FUTURE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION FOR B2B MARKETERS.
In the coming days, all sectors of business are going to witness severe changes. New challenges will appear. From supply chain disturbance to communication and customer behaviour changes, the competition will get real. Things are never going to be the same for Businesses post the COVID pandemic as it is going to have a lasting impact.
Customers will be facing a lot of challenges for months and years. Therefore, a corporation’s marketing strategy should focus on understanding the changing customer needs and helping them cope with the current scenario by educating them about the workarounds that could help them address this current situation.
If a corporation can successfully anticipate future needs and problems, it will succeed. Its product and service portfolio will also face changes. So, corporations must effectively manage this transformation and communicate clearly with their employees, existing and new clients. As a marketing d5rivcen organization corporations need to embrace this scenario and make the most out of it. Sure, there is a risk, but that is what business is all about.