The world is going through very difficult times with the dreaded coronavirus and everyone is in the same boat. It feels like one of those Hollywood action-packed blockbusters, only there’s no hero to save the world right now.
However, during these times of crisis of complexity, brands are rising to these new challenges and are really engaged with consumers. Over the last week consumer brands such as Holland & Barrett; Boots UK; Riverford; Nanuska; Space NK to big global brands such as JCrew have been emailing their customers to reassure them of measures taken in-store to deal with the virus. Their messages have been mindful of others and reflect their company’s values.
This is an extract of what Seb James, MD of Boots UK sent out to the customer mailing list last week:
“For 171 years, Boots has been at the heart of community care, providing support, advice and healthcare to communities across the U.K. Never has this been truer than today, as our colleagues work tirelessly to support you and your families whilst the COVID-19 situation is ongoing.
We are doing everything we can to help our customers and our team to stay healthy and safe; whether that’s through the products we sell, the experience in our stores, or the support we provide to our employees”.
Brands in today’s chaotic world have a key role to play, especially in these new times of dealing with public health challenges. Companies need to imbibe lots of empathy with a balanced tone that is understanding, cautious and optimistic. Trust needs to be reflected along with the ability for everyone to work together and find solutions. This engagement is so much easier with all the multiple social media channels; and apart from engaging externally, internal communications is also crucial to inspire confidence in the brand.
So, what can you be doing right now as a business or brand? Well, there are three simple things you can be doing to manage your business communications during these times:
- Understand and know the role your brand plays in people’s lives, how it has changed and how your brand can help or be useful during this crisis. Look for opportunities to do the right thing, where it makes sense for your business. One brand who is doing this is, LVMH Moët Hennessy, the French company behind major brands like Louis Vuitton, Fenty Beauty and Benefit Cosmetics, announced on 15 March that its factories, which normally manufacture perfume will shift to manufacture hand sanitizer gel.
In a statement according to Reuters LVMH said,
“LVMH will use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands … to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels from Monday.”
The brand said it would be delivering the products to French healthcare authorities for free.
- Stay on top of the news and conversation. Everything is changing fast and what was the right message yesterday, might not be appropriate the next day. Recognising this, is the UK government who has decided to step up its external communications and hold daily briefings to keep the public informed.
- Understand the needs of your customers. As people are being asked to self-isolate, or stay home, there will be a number of behaviour changes that might impact their needs, as well as how they interact with your business.
Organisations and brands and that includes governments who continue to communicate factually and with empathy at this time, have the chance to resurface from the crisis with deeper consumer, customer and public connection.