BRAND LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA.
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we no longer live in the world we knew. Everything has changed – how we work, socialize, behave and consume. Hence, we are forced to quickly adapt to this new normal.
The same thing has happened to brands.
Suddenly, how to access and consume their products has changed. The way they should interact and engage with their fans abruptly needs to evolve. And the pressure to stand out and stick in the minds and hearts of customers amidst the crisis is growing.
Here are three ways how to strengthen brand love in time of Corona –
#1. Remain present.
Out of sight, out of mind is what they say. Especially with everyone screaming now for attention, all the more it is important for a brand to show its fans that it’s here to stay.
However, its mere presence is not enough. A brand also has to provide value while engaging and connecting with its customers.
One good example is what Chanel has been doing. We know Chanel as one of the world’s most iconic fashion brands. Everyone awaits its runway shows and the accompanying soundtracks which have also been gaining popularity. Hence, in 2018, the brand’s favorite sounds have reached a wider audience with “Sound of Chanel” on Apple Music.
Just as the world started with quarantine periods, Chanel has not only dropped its latest playlist to keep its fans at home company with beautiful music but also even extended its brand experience via an intimate Instagram performance with Belgian singer and brand ambassador Angèle. A simple initiative but fans appreciate and can keep their connection with the brand.
Another great example for maintaining its presence is Pottery Barn, the American home-furnishing chain that is always on the list of décor aficionados. Understanding that everyone now has the time to tackle a home project, the brand launched its Virtual Design Services so its Instagram fans could consult with their in-house designers for free. And with #PBatHome, Pottery Barn also curates content that inspires its fans to make the most of staying at home – like hosting a virtual happy hour with an award-winning bartender to talk about barware basics and how to make some of his favorite drinks.
With a limited budget, some smaller brands still try to maintain their connection with fans through posting of inspiring quotes or tips how to stay healthy and productive – showing support as many still struggle to adapt to the new normal of staying at home.
#2. Cultivate a community.
Brands that win are those that have successfully cultivated a community – where they help to meet the needs of their fans who remain loyal to them.
With the call for quarantine, one could easily think that it may be the end of a sport brand. However, Nike continues to cultivate its community of sports enthusiasts with #playinside – encouraging everyone to stay active and inspire others to do the same. The brand also constantly creates content for its Nike Training Club that fans can access for free workouts to keep moving and achieve their fitness goals while staying in.
Another brand that is all about being active and outdoor but has still found a way to connect and engage with its currently home-bound community is GoPro. With #homepro, the brand encourages its fans to stay creative and innovative with their time at home. And the content that the community generates provides an interesting glimpse as to how people are coping and adapting in this new normal.
Smaller brands have also shown that one does not need a big budget to stay connected with their community. Yoga shops, for example, have started giving free online yoga and meditation sessions to get their members focused and fit. And hosting Instagram Live conversations just to make sure everyone in the community stays healthy and sane through the quarantine period.
#3. Be human and do good.
They say that a crisis shows the true colors of an individual. Or of a brand.
And in the unsettling times brought by COVID-19, the world is taking notice which brands are showing empathy and standing up to do good.
When France was running short of disinfectant products, LVMH converted its facilities which usually churn out fragrances to produce hand sanitizers. Over one weekend, the production sites of Guerlain, Christian Dior and Givenchy immediately started to produce, bottle and deliver the sanitizing gel to French health authorities and hospitals. Free of charge.
The agility, flexibility and compassion that LVMH has shown in addressing a pressing issue did not go unnoticed. Everyone saw and appreciated its human side.
A lot of food brands like Starbucks, Chipotle and KFC are also showing compassion amidst the Corona scare. American frontliners including doctors, nurses, police and fire fighters are getting free Starbucks coffee until May 3. Chipotle is giving away 100,000 burritos to employees in healthcare facilities. And KFC is sending 1,000,000 pieces of chicken to its stores for donations and giveaways.
All over the world, many establishments and brands have also been doing their part in trying to ease the burden of this trying time. Empathizing with its customers, financial organizations are extending payment deadlines while landlords are waiving rental fees given that businesses and offices have been closed.
Given the uncertainty brought by a crisis, it could make sense to take advantage of any opportunity to make a sale. However, if it means compromising what it means to be human, then a brand should think twice. Because showing empathy and doing good for the society especially in difficult times would certainly put them in a good light – which could be worth so much more than any short-term gain.
For some, it may not make any business sense to continue to invest in brand-building efforts during a crisis. However, just like in any relationship, one cannot just enjoy the good times and suddenly switch off when things go bad. Instead, when a brand remains present, continue to cultivate the relationship, show its human side and do good – even with no immediate gratification or return via a purchase – customers will take note and appreciate.
And when times are great again, they will not forget and will also choose to remain loyal. Because their brand love has been strengthened in the time of Corona.
THEKRE8TIV BRAND STUDIO is a full-service agency that helps build your brand and accelerate the growth of your business. Aside from leading THEKRE8TIV, Andrea also instigates the #brandovercoffee conversations on Instagram where she helps individuals and businesses with their brand questions. Follow her at @andreaa.ferri.