Right now, companies are resisting putting their business on hold as they explore new ways to move forward in the midst of our global pandemic. While some brands have been unsure of whether to share their plans or message with the world, it’s important to be strategic about what you share and why.
Customers may not be interested in how your business will continue to operate, but they will likely be interested in how you will help. In a survey recently conducted by the Institute for Public Relations:
• 56% of respondents are pleased to hear about brands taking actions like making donations of goods and services
• 40% want to hear what brands are doing in response to the pandemic
• 43% feel it’s reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust
Here are some timely tips to help decide what information to communicate with your global customers right now.
Fear is running rampant in every country touched by COVID-19, and people are seeking reassurance. Not just for their own health and safety, but also for others. Now is a good time to communicate how your business is coping, of course. But more importantly, people want to know: how is your business helping?
Companies such as Abbott and Johnson & Johnson are actively working to help diagnose, treat, or prevent the virus. Many 3-D printing companies have stepped up to donate or make items such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and ventilators for patients due to an extreme shortage.
Many Fortune 500 companies have pledged to help people get through this trying time, whether in monetary, time, product, or service donations. Even major beverage distilleries, such as Bacardi and Tito’s, have converted their facilities to produce hand sanitizer, also in short supply. Crocs has pledged to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes per day to healthcare workers. Airbnb will subsidize housing for 100,000 healthcare professionals working to care for COVID-19 patients. These aren’t just gestures – they are important contributions that directly benefit essential workers who are actively saving lives in this fight on behalf of the rest of us.
Take notice that these brands have made their efforts public. This isn’t just for brand image, though it certainly helps. They are actively seeking to provide reassurance when the world needs it most.
Think of ways your business can also contribute to the greater good and communicate your plans to your customers. An authentic, meaningful contribution can help create loyalty to your brand.
Now is the perfect time to give back, without restraint, without any expectation of reciprocity. If your business is financially sound enough, consider offerings such as:
• Deferred payments for small businesses
• Discounts on goods and services for essential workers
• Donations to funds and foundations that benefit your customer base
In addition to creating loyalty within your customer base, you can rest assured that you have done something that positively impacts those who have supported your business.
Many companies have other businesses who rely on them for services, Amplexor included. Some have had their supply chains disrupted or halted as a result of the virus. If business as usual has become…unusual, let your customers know as soon as possible. This can help them prepare for the changes to come.
Sadly, due to government regulations and shelter-in-place orders, some businesses are forced to pause their operations for a period of time. If this is the case for your business, it’s understandable. The important thing is to communicate your plans to your customers who rely on you for goods or services.
Be aware and sensitive across all of your communications and ensure that the voice and tone are compassionate and helpful. Otherwise, your message may be negatively perceived as taking advantage of human hardship.
While these are challenging times, our global community will persevere. We’d love to chat with you further on this topic – please feel free to reach out to our experts.
Allison McDougall thrives in the intersection of global business + digital marketing + language. Over the course of her career, she has partnered with several global brands to re-imagine how they engage with customers through Content. Allison is an active Connector, and maintains strong affiliations with U. of Illinois, Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and Women in Localization, where she has served on the Board for 9 years.