The importance of maintaining brand integrity, strengthening customer service and modifying your digital strategy to adapt to unprecedented business challenges.
A hasty search engine query, “What can my brand do during coronavirus?” will garner countless “How-to” survival guides for navigating through the uncharted territory that is COVID-19. Countless articles stress crafting the right marketing messages to avoid any negative brand association.
In reality, the underlying advice that “it is better to stay quiet than to contribute noise,” isn’t necessarily a recommendation many growing CPGs can afford to take. This is your business, your livelihood, your voice. Thankfully, consumers will continue to grocery shop during a crisis, even if they must resort to alternative shopping methods online. This presents a unique business opportunity for brands, most notably food and beverage.
So how can you keep your brand top of mind while maintaining integrity in sensitive, uncertain times?
Consider the Context with Compassion
Contemplate how your marketing efforts, especially online, can either resonate positively with your audience or face rejection due to irrelevance or ill-timing. But to reiterate – don’t feel as if you must halt your efforts out of fear of the unknown. For the sake of your future growth, simply pause before you publish, post or produce, consider the context, and proceed with the best intentions.
Another note of advice: unless your product specifically and actively helps your customers through the pandemic, it’s advisable to stick with what you know.
Prepare for a Shift in Consumer Expectations Online
Without a doubt, there has been an influx in online orders and shipping as a safe and convenient alternative to braving the brick-and-mortar crowds. Prepare to deliver a stronger customer service experience online than you normally would in-store to manage shifting consumer expectations.
As you ramp up your online efforts, review your consumer-facing copy and creative. Focus on adding value for consumers with helpful promo codes that offer a discount, free shipping or free samples. Geotarget your ads around retailers where you’re on the shelf. Shoot out a newsletter with links to your store locator and recipe blog. Bolster your online customer service by responding quickly and efficiently to posts, reviews and submitted questions.
Position Your Brand as a Helpful Resource
CPGs, food and beverage in particular, are currently experiencing the unique opportunity to be useful within the crisis. As consumers stock up on goods and stay tucked inside their homes, they’re now constantly looking for solutions and resources online to help them cope. Take this opportunity to revisit the relevance of your digital and social media engagement efforts. Adjust your approach to align with what your audience will perceive as valuable and helpful.
Perhaps you can offer a free, downloadable recipe booklet for a week’s worth of meal prep at home. Or create fun recipe videos incorporating your brand’s signature cooking tips. Stay active on social media by sharing consumer content featuring your product in family meals and recipes. Stay true to your roots and do what you do best!
Nearly every CPG probably feels compelled to make a statement on the coronavirus crisis and what they’re doing to face the challenge. It’s well-intentioned. But a brand’s actions speak louder than its words. Set the tone and lead by example. When the world is in crisis mode, offer the value and help consumers seek that makes the most sense for your brand.