How to Connect During a Crisis
Small business owners are facing new challenges during this crisis. Communicating with customers requires more focus and depth than ever before. Mat Zucker, a PR guru with 25 years in creative and leadership positions at Ogilvy, R/GA, Razorfish and Agency.com, discussed the importance of communication in a recent article for Forbes Magazine. Jay Mandel, who runs The Collective NYC, a marketing consulting team focusing on a customer’s experience, emphasizes that companies must start with “a clear understanding of their mission and values so that their actions are not forgettable or un-ownable.”
There are three major kinds of content to guide your messages:
Informative. Each customer reading your business’s website needs to understand your hours of operation, any limitations to service and what is being done to ensure cleanliness. Providing this information establishes to your customer your seriousness of precautions which will be appreciated during this time.
If your financial situation allows, focus on your employees, donate to charities or offer discounted or free products. Emphasize what the customer needs in this scary time rather than sending another “we care about you” note. By marketing this information, your brand’s scope will bolster with the customer as well.
Useful. Most customers are adhering to social distancing guidelines put forth by their state and the federal government. Now, more than ever, it is important to exhibit to your customers how your brand can be utilized beyond your brick and mortar. Zucker notes how universities are offering free online classes and telecommunication companies are offering two months of free service to low-income families; King Arthur flour is promoting its library of comfort food recipes (yes, please!). Thinking beyond your storefront to put your service or product into your customer’s virtual hands is important.
Entertaining. By each passing day, customers are looking for new stimulation to help the time go by at home. Movie companies are sending theatrical releases to online streaming services. While it isn’t necessary to always make your customers laugh, it might be within your branding to aim for content geared towards warmth, humanity and empathy.
The metric for engaging your customers is changing; moving beyond views and shares to quality feedback or social impact on your community. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Cited in Zucker’s article, Social Media Today warns of virtue signaling or declaring a set of values but not following through on the actual deeds.
This is a fantastic opportunity to consider your marketing strategies for when this crisis ends. What will your business look like once you are able to open the doors? How are you able to stay relevant with your competitors? These are all questions needing answers, but today we must do our best to accomplish what is in front of us.
Read Mat Zucker’s full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/matzucker/2020/04/01/content-in-a-crisiswhat-brands-can-deliver/
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