As planning for the coming months may seem a bit uncertain and a blend of balancing personal and professional has forced a new level of prioritization, finding innovative ways to reach your consumer may seem futile. Don't stop! As we navigate into the unknown, there are a few shining lights. We encourage you to use this time to put your thinking caps on, dig a little deeper and come up with innovative ways to keep your consumer and employees engaged and build new relationships. These are your most loyal advocates and ambassadors and their support will be imperative when we emerge and propel to greater heights!
With that, we’ve created a list of ways to think differently and keep your brand innovative, your employees and your guests engaged and all of your actions focused on driving results!
BE BRAVE- When the clouds part, those that were true to their brand and consumer, but were bold enough to wonder what could be if they just tried it will be the brands that rise to the top. Find ways to step back from your brand, look at it from all angles and really question, “What if we...?” Use those expansive thoughts to drive creativity during a time when people can be out of the office and have time to dream big!
WHO ELSE?- Evaluate your competitors. What are they doing right now? How can you take what they are doing, and do it better or differently? What do you have that is YOUR unique brand proposition? Capitalize on those and expand them to make a bold statement!
WHAT’S NEXT?- Dust off those 2020 plans and start over. When you come out of this, what do you want your consumer to say about you? Is your consumer still the same? Visualize what you think they will want and what their emotional connection will be to your product when they return. How are you going to deliver on that? Set your goals and make them happen!
VIRTUAL CHATS- Whether it’s a service you provide, or a product you sell, put yourself or a colleague to test on camera and talk to your consumer about it. Offer free chat sessions, or simply get some screen time in to talk about your product. Be genuine and informative and not sales-y in order to engage. Your own website, IGTV, Facebook Live or YouTube.com are great channels to post your content.
PROMOTIONS- Your consumer may be holding their wallet a little closer to the vest right now. It’s a perfect time to offer a discounted price on your product or service or something to incentivize them when the tide changes. It will go a long way, and will help you keep some income streaming in during this unforeseen time. We won’t be in this state forever. Look ahead and offer your consumer ways to buy your product or service in the future. Restaurants, gyms and other service based industries know that once we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming, people are going to want to return to normal life as best as possible, so incentivize them now for a later date.
EDUCATE- When your main focus is selling, you don’t always have the time to develop a good narrative about your brand. Well, no time like the present to do so. If you have a strong voice, or want to talk about a specific matter, hold an online event or speaking engagement to allow your consumer ways to get some free tips and tools from you while they are looking for a spark. Inform your guest or consumer why you differ from the competition, give them your brand’s backstory, and just spend some time teaching them more about your offerings. If you have a membership group, consider what you can do to keep them as your loyal ambassadors. Benefits could include cooking classes, at home workouts...anything to enrich their lives and put your brand front and center.
BE SOCIAL- We know...that sounds taboo right now. But social media is very distant socializing and the best way to engage your consumer in conversation, and market your brand the way you want to. Embrace it and become more present on your platforms. Use a few dollars to boost your posts and get your brand in front of the right audience that you wish to reach.
THE GREATER GOOD- People want to know how others are helping combat the spread of the virus. Let your consumer know if and how you and your business are contributing to the health and wellness of society. Also, if as a company you are helping protect your employees or give them jobs elsewhere, find the right spokesperson to humbly share that you are making extra strides to support your team. Your employees and consumer will both be loyal in return.
SHARE NICELY- People are searching for answers right now, and looking to others to help. If there are certain things that are working well for you and your brand right now, share them with others in the hopes they could be helpful tools for your consumer in their current situations.
BE AWARE, RESPECTFUL, TIMELY AND RELEVANT- Consider all possible perceptions when you put out a message. Will it offend or be off-putting to your consumer? Be brave on subjects that matter to your brand, but be aware of ramifications. Audiences want to know that brands are not tone deaf to the way of the world, and in tune to what is happening to them, as that will resonate well and you’ll be looked at as a trustworthy source.
GIVE BACK- With current restrictions in place, not everyone is able to lend the physical helping hand to those in need. If your brand or business can help contribute to the current world issues, let your consumer know - either by donating a percentage of sales to a cause that's most needed right now, or assisting with developing products that fulfill a need. If your consumer knows that their purchase is going to help a worthy cause, they will feel satisfied that they were able to contribute in some way.
OVER COMMUNICATE- When you find a channel or action that works for your brand, find ways to slightly amend and replicate it. Keep your consumer engaged, educated and above all, hopeful. It’s a great opportunity for you to shine by letting the consumer know that you’re in this with them.