March 30, 2020
Sensitive moments like these are when brands have the biggest opportunity to win customer’s hearts and long-term loyalty. However, communication has to be strategic and thoughtful, balanced between empathy and strategy, brain and heart.
In their own ways, brands must Pay It Forward; whatever the message, there must be an underlying, genuine empathy. Brands should be vocal, but never salesy or pushy. Right now, customers are looking for kindness, sincerity, calm, and relevancy. Brands who don’t acknowledge this time seem out of touch and unworthy of loyalty.
Whilst there is uncertainty in the world, people are stress shopping and spending online right now. It’s up to brands to show how they can be calming, guiding partners throughout the storm.
Here are some moments that show how brands can shift their strategies and communicate thoughtfully with their audiences…
Moving #DoingThings indoors, Outdoor Voices raises endorphins via Livestream workouts and playlists.
Nike inspires their community to come together as one team and by providing daily inspiration.
Some brands, like The Citizenry, lead with heartfelt messages directly from founders.
Brands, like Hodinkee, are using their reach to put focus on independent retailers and brands.
Todd Snyder and Jenni Kayne curate WFH apparel.
A gift with purchase that matters from Saturdays New York.
Good American gives back to their audience and community with discounts on stay-at-home attire.
A few brands are simply using smart copy, like this clever one-liner from ThirdLove.
Some food brands are giving back to hospital workers while raising internal wages like &Pizza.
And finally, everyone can use a simple, thoughtful message.
Every single move during this time can make the difference between being just another brand and being a great brand. Now is the most crucial time for brands to think beyond numbers and focus on community and building genuine connections.
A few communications strategies to get through this time…
Whilst every brand’s tone of voice will vary, every brand’s tone of voice should shift when communicating about the state of the world.
Tone of Voice should be… Genuine, Calm, Optimistic, Careful
Never… Snarky, Forced, Negative, Overbearing
Yes, you can still be a little cheeky
Yes, you can still be sarcastic.
But take moments to pause and strip away the banter to show the real, authentic care, then get back to back to being yourself when the timing is right.
A Few Words to Use & Avoid
Use… Welcome, Connect, Balance Community, Care, Calm, Support, Mindful, Positive, Collaborate, Move, Sustain, Nourish, Help, Aid
Avoid… Act fast, Buy now, Stupid, Ignorant, Deprive, Casualty, Disservice, Woe, Affliction
It’s okay to acknowledge fears and anxiety, however, brands must be optimistic and helpful. Once your message has been said, remember to engage with your community in positive ways. One positive email, one funny Instagram post, one heartwarming Tweet- all these things can lighten up a customer’s day. However you choose to communicate, be you. Customers are extra sensitive right now to forced communication so make sure to do what feels right from a thoughtful lens.
In summary, brands must…
Acknowledge the sensitive times in your own ways
Be vocal in a calm, genuine, optimistic and careful manner and never salesy
Use this time to build and strengthen your communities
Show how you step up in the world, don’t tell.
Brands, take this time to really live up to your mantras and values. We know your brand books are full of them so show them to the world.