During this unprecedented time when most brands are experiencing a crisis, we thought it worthwhile to set out our approach to communicating effectively.
Firstly, every company and brand is in a unique position and in our experience in order to ensure your communication or action is effective, you need to first understand how your audience is feeling. Every market and country will be different, but using insights gained via social media can really help you read the room.
Often the temptation is to revert to corporate speak during a time of crisis, but your marketing strategy and brand values should always dictate everything you do when communicating with your audience to ensure you remain consistent and human. If you take the time to analyse the social situation, assess what people are saying about your brand and what the sentiment is online, then you can tailor your content accordingly and push your messages out with greater confidence.
Using your insights and strategy capabilities effectively will mean you can see the conversation topics that are relevant to your audience and ensure you’re landing the right kind of message – not being seen to sell or take advantage of the crisis. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to come up with a novel way to do ‘kind’ marketing? Undoubtedly, consumers will connect with brands that are perceived to be empathetic to the crisis situation. By leaning into a kind and empathetic approach to your marketing, this will help your brand in the long run if they see you being helpful, thoughtful and showing an understanding of their situation. In a time of crisis, people are scrambling for information and will be totally turned off by brands who push out inappropriate messages.
For example, there was a chain of grocery stores, Budgens in the UK, that put up prices of goods and were forced to apologise for appearing to be capitalising on the situation. On the flip side, Sainsbury’s and Iceland in the UK opened up slots for the over 70s to do their shopping in a specified time.
Tone of voice is also massively crucial at this time of crisis. All social communications, whether it is advertising or community engagement, should be appropriate, empathetic and kind. If in any doubt about your content, read it out to your colleague to decide whether it sounds human. If there ever is a time to be overly cautious about your tone of voice it’s now to ensure all social messages and responses show that genuine human connection. We are all in this crisis together, no matter what the brand.
Especially during a time of crisis, your communications need to install confidence and leadership when talking with your customers. They are looking for reassurance and to see what steps you are taking to improve your service/product. Be ready to switch tactics and step up your marketing when the time is right.
Here are three things you can implement now:
- Review your social listening set-up including queries and mentions to ensure you are able to clearly review current sentiment towards your brand(s)
- Look at all of your scheduled content to ensure your TOV is aligned with the current situation, and that there are no issues with the actual content itself. For instance, content that promotes social gatherings, or preparing for your vacation
- Don’t forget your social media community. This is the time to listen and respond to your consumers. Ensure you are clear about the messaging you can use to respond, and also that you are doing it in a human way.