If you haven’t read our previous article on reaching audiences post-circuit breaker, click here.
When the COVID-19 outbreak occurred, businesses were challenged to navigate a volatile and unpredictable landscape, with little information to go on about the virus. With a constantly changing situation, customer communications have become the top priority for many businesses.
Keeping customers informed is crucial for businesses, but it’s not as straightforward as one would think. As more businesses rely on digital marketing, the competition for the viewer’s attention intensifies, making it even more challenging to cut through the noise. When done right, however, the strategic use of communication tools can boost sales, and in the long-term, improve public perception of your business brand.
In this article, we’ll be analysing some of the businesses who have performed well in spite of the crisis, and also covering some important communication tools and principles to follow.
Businesses took a massive hit in sales during the COVID-19 outbreak, as people began spending less money on non-essential items. Faced with the possibility of closure, American clothing companies such as Pomchies and Origin USA saw the shortage of face masks in the US, and realised that they had the resources to fill a gap in the market. This decision not only allowed their businesses to stay afloat, but also gave their brands a positive image, as they were directly serving the needs of society.
Another company that has been resourceful during the crisis is IMGN Media, which planned a media campaign around choosing date night outfits prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The lockdown ruled out the possibility of date nights, making the campaign “dead in the water”, until IMGN saw an opportunity to refocus their campaign on how to dress up for zoom meetings instead.
These campaigns, which would ordinarily take a brand months to plan, were executed quickly in a short amount of time, resulting in great business results.
Oddly enough, the crisis has provided unique opportunities for smaller businesses. While most businesses are cutting their media budgets, consumers have shown an increased willingness to purchase from newer brands. This gives smaller businesses a chance to compete against their bigger, more established rivals, and highlights the importance of maintaining good communication with your customers.
The most important thing to avoid here is information overload. The average attention span is 12 seconds for millennials and 8 seconds for Gen Z (more on this in our article here). In addition, you’ll be competing for attention in a crowded media space. To cut through the noise, use clear and simple messaging on a regular basis to keep your customers informed on your business.
Infographics are another great way to condense a large amount of information. In the earlier phases of the pandemic, panic was widespread and credible information was hard to come by. Given the urgency of the situation, infectious disease researcher Eliah Aronof-Spencer decided to team up with illustrator Wendy Macnaughton – creating a flowchart that clearly outlines how people should be reacting during the crisis. An impressive amount of information was conveyed, but the flowchart made it clear and simple to understand – showing how effective the use of creatives are in communicating information.
Another option is influencer/celebrity marketing, which is great for social proofing and establishing trust and credibility with your customer base. In an effort to slow down the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) kickstarted the #SafeHands challenge, which enlisted celebrities from around the world to post videos of themselves thoroughly washing their hands, and challenging their fans and fellow celebrities to do the same. Through this campaign, the WHO was able to deliver important information in an engaging “challenge” format, and also conveyed a positive “we’re in this together” message – resulting in nearly half a billion TikTok posts with the hashtag within 48 hours of its launch.
In times of crisis, businesses are tested on multiple fronts, but by being resourceful and broadcasting a positive message, you can build up a loyal customer base that will stick with you in the long run.
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