Advertising is often a constant effort of empathy that people behind brands and advertisers need to make in order to understand their consumers. And in this period of time, when a general state of confusion predominates, marked by changes and uncertainties, the question “What do consumers want?” becomes almost a mantra of those who offer products and services.
According to the global report by Edelman Trust Barometer on brand trust during the Coronavirus pandemic, consumers want brands to continue to be present in the public space and get involved.
They must communicate honestly, in a positive, empathetic manner, carefully informing and urging calm, appealing to all their creativity. In times of social distancing, it is important the brands to unite and to join other actors from the society, government and NGOs in supporting collective action to combat the medical, social and financial crisis we are in. Also, the focus on effective solutions to solve the problems that many social categories face, prevails over detriment to sales-oriented marketing actions that consumers consider to be inappropriate in this context. The same reluctance is encountered in the case of campaigns based on humor or extravagance, which are far from the reality of today, consumers going to the point of convincing their acquaintances to stop buying the brand, if they consider that it did not behave properly.
But how can brands integrate these consumer expectations into their marketing plan?
Dr. Jill Avery of Harvard Business School and Richard Edelman of Edelman have identified a number of ways in which brands can help in times of crisis, meeting the needs of their consumers:
Brands really have the power to change things for the better. Using brand authority and media presence, they can provide factual information about the crisis, how people can protect themselves, the brand’s efforts in this fight, and the progress made. Also, now is the time to let the experts to speak. According to the aforementioned report, consumers have the greatest trust in doctors and health authorities, brand representatives or even ordinary people, to the detriment of influencers and celebrities.
2. Offer products for free or at a reduced price
A good way to show your support for the society is to help those facing difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, offer help to those who fight the virus, medical or defense personnel, to those who have lost their jobs or to those who need help to learn.
3. Rethink a part of the activity
Where possible, start producing and providing goods and services to help fight the pandemic.
4. Bring people together
Use the platforms you have and provide the space for the communities to meet, even remotely. Communicate honestly, empathetically, focused on the values you and your consumers share and provide social support. Start the conversation and create opportunities for interaction.
However, whatever you choose to do, keep in mind that people are the most important resource. So, the safety and the honesty must always come first, in times of crisis or not.