Because of COVID-19, we are seeing shifts in how consumers and businesses behave and react. Many employees have shifted to working remotely, are practicing social distancing and are maneuvering through disrupted routines. Businesses have been forced to temporarily close; others remain open, operating under a very different model while adapting to new and stringent regulations.

Both businesses and their consumers are doing their best to navigate through what is quickly becoming their new normal. More than ever, they need to communicate with their customer base and reinforce their company’s brand and values. This provides a unique opportunity to drive consumer behavior while demonstrating the benefits of their products and services.

 

Here are some of the questions to consider:

 

What can businesses do to attract customers during shelter-in-place orders?

The answer is INNOVATION.

Whether you own a local restaurant, a brewery or a heating and air conditioning company, right now is YOUR time to get creative. With an all-hands-on-deck mentality, use the creative geniuses on your team or lean on our specialized marketing team to elevate your customer’s experience of your product/service  letting them know how you have re-invented yourself during these times.

Even though some of these current disruptions may return to normal after COVID-19 is contained, some of these changes will remain, creating a long-term shift that can reshape how we do business in the future. Therefore, businesses must create innovative and new digital experiences using new and emerging technology.

 

How can businesses ease some of the anxiety and fear of their customers?

The answer is CONNECTION.

We don’t mean go door-to-door to your customers as that would be the opposite of social distancing. We mean to find ways to connect virtually.

If you have been hesitating to create a digital presence for your brand thinking “now is not the not the time,” guess what? It’s time.

There is no better time to connect with your audience as they are more likely to switch to brands that are engaging with them while reinforcing brand loyalty to existing customers.

Consider creating branded content videos that offer tips and tricks or live Q&As. Start the conversation with your audience, because they are listening very intently to the brands; eager to hear from those they know and trust. Share with them how they can maneuver through these unprecedented times. Keep it educational, informative and dare to do something you didn’t think to do before.

 

How can businesses emotionally compel their customers to drive action? 

The answer is EMPATHY.

Even though you may be a business owner, a marketer or an employee — you are a consumer as well. Use your personal experience to guide your connection with customers. Give them hope, relate with them with empathy, and listen to their pain points.

And, you don’t have to have all the answers. Remember, keeping it real will create deep connections. Dare to share about you, your staff, challenges, and how you are doing things differently. Humanizing your customer’s experience of your brand will go a long way.

Connect them to your WHY. Connect them to THEIR WHY.

These are examples of how local companies are engaging with their customers through innovation, empathy, and connections.

Local gyms are offering live-at-home workouts – including lunchtime and evening classes to connect with their customers and keep their brand relevant.

Restaurants are offering groceries and a side of toilet paper with food orders providing extra benefits to their customers.

Clothing & accessory stores are offering deep discounts and free shipping for online orders along with no minimums and free returns.

Religious organizations are streaming online to keep people connected.

Auto dealers are offering creative ways to buy your next vehicle with virtual transactions and curbside delivery along with allowances on financial plans and payments.

Therapists and counselors are offering virtual sessions to new and existing clients.

Even though we are physically distant, the brands that bridge the gap through emotionally compelling messaging and innovative services will win in the long run.

We can learn from each other. Look around and see what is working for somebody else, and try it for your business. Even though our needs are changing, we can survive this together. First, we’ve got to adapt to this new norm, however long it lasts.