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The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm. Entire cities have been put under lockdown and economies have been disrupted like never before. It has also led to a deluge of information landing in people's inboxes and messaging apps.
As a company, then, how do you ensure that you cut through the clutter, stay relevant, and be appropriate during these trying times, all together?
More than the frequency of communication, it is the content of communications that matters more. If a brand's messaging is perceived to be opportunistic and trying to profiteer from the crisis, it can severely backfire. Backlash over McDonald's change in logo is a case in point. When it comes to communication with customers, here are 5 kinds of messages businesses can safely use to stay relevant to their customers.
During a crisis of this magnitude, things can change rather quickly. An area might be completely cordoned off, which can make deliveries impossible. Stocks might be running low due to disruptions in supply chain. Or a business might not be in a position to work at 100% efficiency due to shortage of staff. Companies should be proactive in communicating any such changes to their customers. It could be as simple as streaming platforms resorting to SD quality to avoid overloading internet networks.
Governments around the world have announced relief packages for those affected the most by the pandemic. In addition, there are a host of volunteer groups and non-government organisations that are doing their bit. Given the diversity of ongoing relief efforts, businesses can help organize this information for better engagement. They can also use their loyal customer base to mobilize relief efforts for the less fortunate.
If businesses can align dissemination of information with their larger brand values, that's even better. For instance, Ola, a ride-hailing app, has launched a fund to help drivers meet their basic needs. It is using text messaging and push notifications to drive mobilization for the cause.
A B2B E-Commerce platform, for example, can share information about any relief packages announced by the government to help SMEs. Similarly, food delivery apps can focus on food-related initiatives that people can donate, to.
Share information that people can put to use, easily. It could be as simple as a short video on how to make a mask at home. COVID-19 has led to a global shortage of masks. Any information that helps consumers stay safe and sane is going to be welcomed. Mental health is another area that is a cause for concern, since people are having to cope with staying indoors.
Businesses can collaborate with mental health professionals and disseminate information around mental wellness. They could also collate a list of free resources on mental health available online and share it with their customers. Companies can also come up with a communication strategy based on the age-group they are serving.
For example, people over the age of 60 might not be very comfortable around technology. However, they might be forced to rely on it a lot more, since they can barely step out. Share simple guides on how to spot fake information on the internet, or even how to troubleshoot their WiFi router when their internet is down.
The pandemic has led to very uncertain times, with stories about gloom and doom, abound. In such times, any bit of positive news can help boost people's morale. It could be heart-warming stories about people coming to the aid of animals and fellow human beings. It could even be short stories on how people have tided over personal crises in the past; words of wisdom from popular philosophers; or even reports about successful relief campaigns.
It is important here, though, that messages shouldn't urge consumers to ignore the enormity of the situation, at hand. It can come across as toxic positivity, which can backfire. The idea is to be the bearer of some hope during these testing times.
Given the amount of information that's out there related to COVID-19, local news can easily get buried under the pile. Businesses, especially local companies, can help communities by focusing on hyperlocal information that might be useful for their consumers. Think delivery services in an area, updates on COVID numbers in a locality, and steps taken by the local government to curb the outbreak.
With any kind of messaging during COVID-19, the idea is to add value to consumers' lives. Any information that businesses share with their consumers should be useful and concise. There is no room for opportunistic marketing messages, right now. Instead, businesses should come across as empathetic entities that care for their consumers and the community, at large.
We are doing our best to serve our global customers in these unprecedented times. We’ve enacted our own measures to combat the virus and we are happy to serve you online. Our highly resilient and always available CEQUENS Communication Platform is available with a click of a button for you to get started.
We are all navigating in unchartered territory as the pandemic takes us all for a swirl. It is our hope that we can bring the virus to heel with minimal damage as possible. Until then, stay home everyone.