The current consumer mood is anxious, and the messages that might appeal to a customer today are completely different from those that appeared just last quarter. Great sensitivity is necessary in all communications. In a recent article on health crisis brand strategy, e-commerce selling platform Shopify recommended that brands reconsider whether their message seems “appropriate and considerate of the context we’re in”. Sellers need to be responsive to the current situation without being negative, while also being reassuring and authentically empathetic.
Being authentic means going beyond mere product presentation to offer an online experience that communicates the spirit and ethos of your store or brand. Retailers and designers have been posting uncharacteristically personal stories: for example, the owners of London-based online retailer Scout & Co. have been documenting the lives of their kids in lockdown in Instagram Stories and sharing the struggles that come with balancing home schooling and running a business – a challenge that most of their customers can relate to.
It is telling that advertising spend on social media has declined since the start of the year, according to Facebook’s recently released revenue report. As they reduce their paid advertising budget, brands are relying on organic social media content shared with their followers on Facebook and Instagram. For example, Epoque Evolution, a US-based sustainable leisurewear brand, is using social media content on Instagram to educate customers about their product range. The brand shares yoga classes, product giveaways and recipes on Instagram Live, thus becoming part of household life in ways that extend beyond a simple sales transaction.
It is important to remember that online is not the be all and end all of marketing. With their lives mostly happening in the digital realm under quarantine, custom- ers are longing for physical objects. Now is the time to advertise in exciting print media. Also, put creative effort into designing the windows for your bricks-and- mortar stores to wow those customers hungry for real-life experiences once lockdowns ease.