The public health crisis is hitting business owners hard, and many of them have discovered that financial relief from the federal government isn’t likely to materialize anytime soon. Brands have thus been left to fend for themselves during the pandemic, which has frustrated many entrepreneurs and marketing gurus who are struggling to find ways to meaningfully connect with potential customers.
Luckily, there are still some brand building tips that you can rely on even when a pandemic is raging across the globe.
From relying on local creative efforts to showing customers how you’re reacting to the pandemic, here are 5 brand building tips to keep in mind as we deal with the coronavirus.
1. Get local and creative with advertisements
The only surefire way to build your brand during a pandemic is to market to customers in as effective a fashion as possible, but many businesses simply don’t know how to do this now that the coronavirus has upended the traditional marketplace. Many staples of the advertising world, such as investing in billboard advertisements or ads on mass transit, are now not particularly cost-effective. Given that few people are likely to resume regular travel anytime soon, this fact will keep confronting business owners until they learn how to work around it.
When advertising during a pandemic, you have to get local and creative. Taking it to the streets with sidewalk marketing is one of the best things that a business owner can do to build their brand during this pandemic. Using chalk marks on the sidewalk to direct nearby customers to your store, alert them to temporary discounts, and illustrate how to maintain social distancing is imperative in this day and age. This is particularly effective because it resonates with local consumers the most, especially if your artwork and advertisements are pretty enough to catch their eyes as they walk to and from their homes or places of work.
2. Showcase how you’re helping out
The next tip is to showcase how your brand is helping out in response to the pandemic. If you’ve donated to local community charities, you should be showcasing that fact, though do your best to frame it as a supportive effort rather than a braggadocious one. According to at least one report, American consumers are paying very close attention to how their beloved brands are responding to COVID-19. Those brands which fail to make it clear that they’re contributing to the effort to get things back to normal will suffer for it. While creating a business sign will help get the message out, you should be investing in marketing materials that show the local community how you’ve been involved in the response.
3. Put the spotlight on your protective measures
This next tip is related to showcasing how you’re helping the local community respond to the pandemic. You should be putting a spotlight on the protective measures you’ve implemented to keep your workers safe. Take a look at a press release recently put out by the Chipotle company. The company has made it clear they’re thanking frontline workers during the crisis, and offers discount or free delivery services to drum up business. More importantly, customers who order from Chipotle find little notes inside of their food bags which detail the protection measures being put in place to ensure sanitary conditions are maintained.
Customers want reassurance right now. Do your best to provide it to them by showing them – not telling them – how you’re responding. Something as simple as a scrap of paper given to each customer that’s filled with information on how your company is responding and keeping workers safe will help you achieve that goal.
4. Project an image of strength
Everybody understands that businesses are suffering right now. While some consumers want to help companies that look like they’re about to go under, it’s nevertheless imperative that you project an image of strength. If your business appears to be closed down due to the coronavirus, customers may be hesitant to walk through your doors at all. Having sanitary items like hand sanitizer and wet wipes freely available is important. Having employees wearing masks, washing their hands, and taking the crisis seriously will matter tremendously.
Project an image of strength and show that you’re a company with a serious commitment to enduring COVID-19. Do that, and customers will be more likely to stick by your brand.
5. Monitor current consumer trends
Consumer trends during a pandemic are radically different than those during normal times. You should be monitoring current consumer trends to identify customer habits that are only popping up now that a pandemic has changed our way of life. You may find that some of the data you collect on consumer habits becomes invaluable once the actual pandemic ends and things begin to go back to normal.
Be transparent in your data collection efforts, and you’ll find your brand has valuable consumer information to work with once the pandemic is over.