Growing a trusted brand is difficult enough when your products & services are matched with brand reputation and customer experience. Now, many organizations have had to close temporarily without a clear roadmap for reopening. It’s these unsure times of COVID-19 that can really put your company to the test. But, this test will not be met alone. The Tampa Bay Community must rally together to support one another.
The Tampa Bay Chamber recently convened a panel of marketing executives on how to Maintain a Trusted Brand throughout these uncertain times. The panel gathered to provide resources, tips, and share perspective as companies pivot their marketing in the face of Covid-19.
Strong brands are built from the inside out, and it works no differently in a crisis
Throughout this quick 60 minute webinar, four trusted and accomplished executives in the Tampa community will discuss three important topics and themes for brands to focus on. First and possibly most important, it’s how to communicate effectively during a crisis.
Brands will want to determine and focus on their key audiences. As Sparxoo CEO David Capece shared during the panel “Strong brands are built from the inside out, and it works no differently in a crisis.” Internally, it’s how we can move the conversation from panic, to purpose. Making sure everyone is on the same page, and the game plan of how you can shift your products and capabilities to servicing the public is communicated. With that game plan, brands will want to strengthen their core group of existing customers. That core group of “regulars” will be your backbone through times like these. Once that is solidified, and as your services shift to accommodate this new situation, you may recognize additional prospective customers that may not typically use your service. This will allow you and your brand to engage in some general community engagement that can increase visibility and good will within your audience.
In terms of communications, oftentimes it’s best to go back to the fundamentals of building a strong brand, while adding in that new found agility. “It’s important to think about how your brand is adding value or helping others”, Capece states. This personal outreach creates a few things throughout your environment. You’re creating trust and a 1:1 connection with your audience by delivering on your core product excellence as well as providing a personalized touch. Showing the market, your consumers, and your internal team that the brand has embraced this agile environment lets everyone know that you’re flexible, and in the end, here for them.
Now that the communication narrative to your audience is solidified, let’s make sure it’s getting out to the correct people, in the appropriate places. Typically, these media relations can be focused on your owned assets. COVID-19 disrupted many industries who are now looking for tools that they haven’t considered before, creating opportunities to review and strengthen your brand’s content within the marketing funnel. This is a good opportunity to put that added attention to your website, email, social channels and content and make them as strong and aligned with your core message as possible.
We’re seeing companies move to a pillar strategy of their key messages and content across their marketing funnel – and those pillars have shifted based on COVID-19 to be as hyper focused on what the audience is in need of, as opposed to what you are trying to sell. This content strategy is thinking about your core audience first who now may have more time, who are looking for more educational and inspirational pieces. As Capece mentions “At this point, what you have is your content to offer to others, to provide education and training, stories and positivity.”
During these times, there’s been a tremendous increase in time spent viewing and interacting with digital content. Social usage is up 50%, with a 60% increase in video content. The key to getting in front of your core audience is to engage with them where they’re spending most of their time online. This looks different for certain industries, but if more people are spending time on LinkedIn, researching different job opportunities, it’s a viable place to reach them as well.
As your brand moves forward adding strength and depth to your marketing funnel, this ensures you are taking steps to prepare your brand for the future. Across all of your communications, it’s important to be humble and know that we don’t really know what is going to happen next. It’s tough to have visibility into 2021, even Q3 or Q4 of this year. But throughout your preparation, keep in mind to always be authentic and inspirational in your approach. “Purpose-driven branding was a big trend moving into 2020 and should remain that way, especially during a crisis where the community needs our help.” Capece mentions.
Let’s face it, this may be an opportunity for brands to show a more human and caring angle, bringing out more personality that can relate on many different levels with your audience. As we may have more down time, encourage your team to engage with and support social media and the community. Donate and share local non-profits, even considering co-branded opportunities. The accessibility with people is at an all time high, let’s reach them with the best message possible with a service that truly helps and encourages them.