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How to connect in a crisis

It's a weird time to be in business, no s*** Sherlock. Connecting with customers is both more important and more difficult than ever. So, I've been reading and listening to a load of interesting content about how to build your brand during COVID19, here's what I've learned..

Be a human

If you don't use your own authentic voice, your audience knows. Remember that you are a human talking to other humans. Your followers will be confused if what you say one week is undermined the next. Tone of voice is a whooole other topic, but remembering to be a human first and a business second is a great place to start. Imagine you're talking to a close friend, which leads me to..

Storytelling not Selling

People want to know you. Not the polished coporate vision, but a fallible, real person. A super simple format to storytelling is:

  • A hero we can relate to. The hero is not your product or service. It’s your prospect/customer.

  • A villainous challenge. The hero encounters a difficulty and they need help.

  • An epic struggle to resolution. The struggle that you can help them with to get to resolution.

Build Relationships

These days, we need to start putting in the effort if we want customers to buy in to our brand. Think not only of what brought customers to you in the first place but what do they need right now? This is not business as usual and listening and building this trust will earn you loyalty in the process. Certain promotions may need to be put aside, or the tone radically altered so that you..

Don't ignore the crisis

Basically, 'read the room'. Adjusting your tone and taking a more empathetic approach to your communication style may be needed. Most people are finding it difficult and your audience most likely isn’t looking to be sold to. Promotional messages should be supportive, so engage with your customers on a human level.

I.e If you've got 'summer body ready' content ready to go and the vast majority of your audince are stuck inside juggling childcare and unable to travel, then wait, you don't want to appear tone deaf. Whilst you don't have to dwell on the news (many people will come to you to be uplifted) to not mention what is going on during a pandemic is a mistake and quite frankly, a bit weird.

Don't go dark

A silent brand could be perceived as a struggling brand by consumers. Especially one that was constantly on transmit until lockdown.

Going to ground during this time raises the question, are they concerned? Is there a problem in their business?”

Tell your customers about any changes to your operations (new hours, staff reductions, customer service availability, ordering options etc). It’s way better to be proactive and motivated by your customers’ best interests than going silent..

PS, I'm no marketing guru and I know there's so much more to be said on this topic. If you think I've missed something here, let me know in the comments!

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