A Strange New World.
We are living in a strange “New World”. Everything changed, and most of us are working from home, avoiding crowded places, sports stadiums are empty just like the streets we used to see full of people every day. And there is one big concern that came with this COVID19 Pandemic: Fear.
Fear came to stay according to branding guru Martin Lidstrom in his new book “Buyology for a coronavirus world”. Not only the fear we have from dying or get sick with the disease but also, of being lonely, lack of purpose in this world and from being excluded from our tribes.
A recent McKinsey survey about US consumers found out that 64% of the respondents have felt depressed, anxious, or both over the past few months. People are not okay. Companies can’t change that, but they can help their customers and those actions can have positive repercussions for both sides and will improve the customer’s loyalty.
We are going to cover on this Article:
A Big Opportunity.
Covid-19: The most talked subject of the year. It has affected all of us: people, companies and the world itself. But as a marketer, something I always tried to take from all bad situations is that there are benefits we can have, we have to be smart and don’t be afraid to fail. The world is fragile right now, and people are scared as never before, why can’t companies help them? This is the perfect situation for companies to gain probably the most challenging thing they can have nowadays, the customer’s loyalty.
The question is; Are you willing to take your chances now? Or are you waiting for your competitors to take the lead? | João Vital – Marketing Expert.
Marketing during a Crisis: Don’t Underestimate it.
When confronted with a crisis, most companies start to think about doing a divestment in marketing, to save costs. The COVID19 crisis is no exception. I’m here to explain why this act could turn around to become the end of your company.
Marketing is the best way to connect with your customers and is the way that the company has to reveal and show (trough actions) their mission and values. When we are on a crisis, companies start to think where they can cut costs, but what happens when they cut on marketing is that they are letting the competitors who don’t, take the lead on the market and possibly, on the industry narrative.
The best way to confront a moment of crisis is to put your marketing department in full use, without ever thinking about cutting costs. We can make an analogy with a bug plague that is attacking our crops, is the solution to de-invest in farmers, pesticides and other methods to fight the plague? Of course, you can think about some ways to deliver the message the same way with fewer costs, that’s the rationalization of resources, and it should always be in place, not only during a crisis.
A Farmer when there’s a Bug Plague attacking his crops doesn’t fire farmers, cuts on pesticides or stops taking measures to fight this menace. In the business world, we should follow the same philosophy, using all the resources we have available, turning adversity into opportunity. – João Vital. | Public Domain Image.
Never stop pursuing an idea just because you don’t want to spend a bit more money. The truth is that it is easy for a company to think about cutting the marketing costs, as Marketing is often seen as complementary to the company, but it’s because of this line of thought that you, as an expert manager, must act differently.
What is your audience seeing during the crisis? Exactly… your company actions.
Customers will remember you. They will know that you are still there and didn’t hide, and most importantly, during a crisis is essential not to think only about your company, because your company is not the only one suffering. Think about your customers and trust me, they will remember.
Take Risks, your Customers will Remember.
The world is in a crisis, and as I said before, that includes the companies, so why should companies act and perhaps invest more money during such a difficult time? The answer is the most critical asset in any company, the customers.
Stick to their Memory.
Companies, can change lives, people’s lives, their customer life, so why not do it? Everyone is having a hard time during this pandemic, habits have changed, lifestyles too, and fear is everywhere.
So, as we established that this is a challenging moment for everyone, let’s talk about how you can move your strategy directly to the customer’s present needs.
But before we move to what strategy is better for the current times, let’s talk about the “why”. The answer? It’s the perfect opportunity to put your company in your customer’s mind.
“It costs ten times more to acquire a new customer, than to keep one” – Martins Lindstrom | Buyology for a coronavirus world
You must act now! Show them you care and don’t hide. It doesn’t matter if it will cost a little more, in the long run, you will see that it was worth it. You have the opportunity to show them that your company is human and that you care about your customers, and not only when everything is pitch-perfect. When this is over (because it will), they will remember who was by their side in the darkest moments, and they will have no second thoughts about what company they will choose.
Caring Strategies During Covid19.
Because everything begins with planning, I have prepared 4 Strategies that you can use to improve Customer’s Loyalty during the COVID19 Crisis.
Show your customers compassion.
They know how the world is. There is no need to try to show them things are fine because they know they aren’t.
The least you can do is show you’re with them, be a friend and don’t lie, this is no time to try to sell your product/service at all cost, we are all suffering, one way or another, and they need to know that, they need to know you’re human too. So, use your social media, send emails, put new sentences on your website about the real world, do all you can so they know you’re together at this dark time.
Care About your Employees.
I know this could be hard in some cases, but you have to guarantee that you’re doing everything you can to help your employees. A study about Happiness & Productivity from the SMF shows that happy employees are 20% more productive, so there is the first reason why to don’t let the employees down. But that is not the only one, as the way you treat your employees could send a message to your customers.
What message would give to your customers if you’re telling that you’re with them and that you’re human too if you can’t even treat your employees the right way? The first step to becoming human in the eyes of the customers is by taking care of your employees, because if you can’t even make sacrifices for the ones who help you every day, how can you be able to tell the world you care?
Give Back to the Community.
“Business has a responsibility to give back to the community.” – Ben Cohen | Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder.
Everyone is suffering, companies included. However, companies have more considerable resources to take a stand and help the community. Simple actions like serving free food to the poor, discounts in some of their products/services during one week or create a donations fund to distribute for the people in need of their city, are ways to show the world and your community that your care.
Giorgio Armani Donated $1.43 million dollars to four hospitals in Rome and Milan, as well as to the Civil Protection Agency.
Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, the CEO of Prada, came to the region’s aid by donating two full intensive care and resuscitation units each to three Milanese hospitals.
This demonstrates the integrity of your company, and when this is all over, people will remember and respect you, and that is something that can’t be bought.
Bring Joy, Not Concerns.
It can seem paradoxical when comparing to the first strategy, but you can be playful and tell the truth if you do it on separate occasions. As I said before you can’t hide the situation we are living from your customers. With that in mind, you have to remember that most of them are stuck at home, so why not bring them a little joy by putting some funny content or interesting challenges which could make their day better?
This type of content costs barely any money and can reinforce your emotional connection to your customers.
Nobody knows when or how this situation is going to end, but one thing we must believe in, it will end. However, the scars will remain, the society will never be the same, and some changes came to stay.
Companies need to understand that they are playing their future right now, and to be honest, they will not see the results right away, but they have to play anyway, and not defensively.
Throughout this article, I tried to deliver the message that companies need to start thinking about their customers first, as it is the only way of surviving in this situation. When the pandemic is over, they can’t forget them again. The scars will be there, and your company will have to stay with the customers to maintain their loyalty. The feeling of being alone, to not have a purpose in life and the feelings of anxiety and depression will not vanish.
To end this article, I want to say that the world has been through challenging times, so don’t use these strategies unless you really care, because customers will know. Use it because you want to improve their lives and you care about them because in the end, the customers will be your best marketing. If you use these strategies for the right reasons, success will come on its own.