Coronavirus (COVID 19) crisis is at its peak; the mankind and the world economy is at threat altogether. It has made a lot of people, and the companies suffer. Due to the quarantine restriction imposed across the globe, the customers are nowhere near the brick-and-mortar retail stores.
The logistical pull has caused even the e-sales to drop, and as the world’s biggest manufacturer China is out of business, the stocks are going down every passing day. The biggest of the biggest brands are in terror right now. It is getting difficult to grow business.
Somehow all the pressure is being put on the marketers who are expected to ride this public health crisis, which is sort of unfair. Still, during this life-threatening time, there are two scenarios:
i) the demand of your products will be high (toilet paper, sanitizers, gloves, etc.) or
ii) your brand is on the verge of zero sales.
It is time that we join together to mitigate the impact of the pandemic once and for all. Rethink your companies marketing efforts, make new strategies, connect with the consumer, and stay relevant.
To help your brand be a step ahead in the game, we have researched the market and come up with few pointers that are most efficient for crisis management.
At the end of the article, we have examples of some of the biggest household brand names. And how the failed poorly yet made it back to the business with crisis management. Keep reading.
How to do crisis management?
i) Be supportive not over supportive
Everyone has heard as a kid that excess of everything is terrible, and this is the time to implement it. The sales team is brainstorming to look out for ideas on how to sell more in this economic crunch. But right now, we want you to think otherwise. You should plan on how your company can support its existing loyal customers. Making more sales won’t make any long-term profit to the brand image, but if you make the right move, the onetime consumer will become you a loyal customer.
Many companies across the world have stepped up and participated in the cause to help those in need. Luxury group LVMH has bequeathed around US$ 2.3 million to Chinese Red Cross, the beauty brand L’Oréal pledged US$720,000 to help fight the virus, and the list goes on. If you are a startup or a small business, please bear in mind that the help doesn’t need to be in millions and billions what so ever is possible. Just do it. Right now, the customers are rooting for the brands that are putting efforts to bring everything back to normal.
You will be doing one deed and reaping many fruits. Not only is it a kind gesture to give away your products and services to those in need, but it is also good for the PR.
ii) Convert the problem into the solution
It depends on how you want to see things and how you want to handle them. Right now, COVID-19 is big news, and everyone is talking about it no matter where they are from or what they do for a living. People will search for it online and start looking for products to protect themselves from its effects.
This is the time for brands from different sectors like healthcare, wellness, and medical stock producers to build a close and transparent relationship with their customers. But before you make a relation, it’s essential to filter the right audience.
Many Artificial Intelligence-based tools will help you analyze what your consumer is reading about. You can see if they are reading content about the current pandemic or not. To develop more explicit targeting, you need to neatly segment the audience according to the topic and keywords they are interested in.
iii) Let your app and online content spark
We have already mentioned earlier that a few sectors are getting significant conversion and user base during the quarantine. One such industry is the gaming industry. The video and gaming apps have crossed all the download records in different parts of the world. According to a report by Forbes, nearly 574 accounts on Douyin and Kuaishou (video platforms) have managed to gain 500k new followers. All this happened in a timeframe from January 20 and February 2.
So, what’s the way to benefit from this popularity?
Create branded content, apps, video, games, etc.
And not just the gaming industry health and fitness industry should also create engaging content to stay in touch with the customer. The content can be about anything (but related to the current scenario) like how to keep fit during the lockdown, list of superfoods to eat to combat the virus, and so on.
i) Advertise with brand safety in mind
As time has changed, its time drastically that you change the way you market. Make contextual targeting mandatory with a slight change in the privacy regulations. It’s all about how you portray your brand in the right context, most importantly during this time. Keep in mind that more than ever, this is the time when you need to take care of where your ads are placed.
One of the natural examples for this will be if a travel agency places ads for China. Not a good idea.
Besides, there are strict restrictions on traveling right now, and this will be straight away inappropriate. Instead of making such out of place ads and gaining a negative impression for the brand, it’s better to use AI-powered techniques like deep learning, and natural language processing to have a better understanding of the content. This will ensure that from next time you create an ad it’s brand-safe and relevant
ii) Communicate with the customer via as many channels as possible
As the heading suggests, this is the time to stay connected with the customers as much as possible. Tell them why you are unable to get in touch with them, why there will be a delay in delivery, and how you are trying your best to make things better. By keeping in touch with the customers and telling them when they can expect the distribution to be healthy, you can reduce the anxiety and frustration levels. This will stop them from finding a new brand to stick with.
You can try different things like email, social media, push notifications, website, or in-app messaging. This will bring your consumer closer to the brand.
iii) Make your high-value customer feel more valued
While the government across the globe have requested the public to stay at home, it has led to a few surprising turns of events. The rise in e-commerce sales, lower inventory, delayed manufacturing, and bad logistics are making things worse. It is getting harder to deliver products to paying customers.
Keeping that in mind, companies should stop putting efforts to gain new customers; instead, they should try to nurture the ones that exist. These are the actual gold mine; they will stick with the company even after the crisis period.
Now we have mentioned two big household names, how they messed up and tried to resolve things via their crisis management skills.
In the year 2017, Uber faced something was unexpected. The company’s CEO, Travis llKalanick, was working on an advisory committee to President Trump. This gave rise to a hashtag DeleteUber.
Uber’s Crisis Management
Lack of transparency has been the most significant set back for Uber. To resolve the issue, the company CEO wrote a letter that he will be a better leader in the future and won’t get the company far unless the society sees measures and efforts taken to get there.
Pepsi is one of the most renowned cola brands globally, and whoever gets to star in their TV commercial gets paid a lot of money. In 2017 they created an ad campaign with supermodel Kendall Jenner. The moto of the ad didn’t go quite well with the viewers, which lashed worldwide rage.
Pepsi’s Crisis Management
In less than 24hours, they pulled the ad down and gave a press release stating, “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life are coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
Crisis Management 101
This is a crucial time, and all brands are facing the same problem. Some brands have hit the worst bump and PR nightmare while going down the road. What is important is that if the brand takes effective action and increases transparency with the world, it may lead to holistic recovery. Skip defending, ignoring, or hiding the mishappening. In this road, honesty will pay off. Another way is to be prepared for such situations by making crisis management strategies in advance.