Brands have always focused on making sure that their consumers are valued and heard, but during a time of uncertainty such as now, it is a brand’s responsibility to make sure that their consumers are treated even better!

media update’s Talisa Jansen van Rensburg looks at the importance of strengthening the relationship between brands and their consumers. 

Here are four things brands should do to treat their consumers better during the pandemic:

1. Support your consumers a lot more

Brands need to let their consumers know that they are not alone in this; they need to hear this more than ever, especially from their favorite brands. Because when a brand shows them support, consumers will know that their favorite brands still care about them.

Reminding your consumers that you are there with them will take a huge load off their shoulders, as it will remind them that there are people supporting them, even if they feel a bit lost.

Your consumers have shown you support and have stayed loyal — now, you need to show them the same amount of support in return. A great way to start is to be present online and communicate with them. For example, you can post inspirational content that will make your consumers feel happy and motivated. Most importantly, show that you can relate to the current circumstances.

A brand on Instagram that has been posting great content during the pandemic is The Good Advice Cupcake — is a band that has over 2.6 million followers. This account follows a cupcake animation that owns a pet cat. The user posts content that is relatable and reminds their followers that they are there for them during this time.

Your brand would do well to follow their example by creating relatable and feel-good content to show that you can relate to your consumers and that you are there for moral support during this time. For example, The Good Advice Cupcake creates content specific to people who have pets — something your brand can do is to take turns between creating content for pet owners and then creating content for people who might not own pets.

2. Be open to discussions

When you post content online and receive engagement — specifically comments — it is important to always respond. During the pandemic, there will most definitely be comments from people stating their concerns, or what they think the future holds.

Be careful about what you post, however, as what you say on social media can come back and hurt your brand’s image. For example, if a person says “Lockdown is so unnecessary” and your brand responds with “We feel you”, this can later come back to haunt you, and people might say that your brand doesn't actually care about its consumers’ wellbeing.

Beyond being cautious, if you do receive a negative comment, it is best to engage with it — but keep it neutral and professional. For example, if you do come across a comment that says something along the lines of “President Cyril Ramaphosa is doing a horrible job,” you would mention that you don’t want your brand to be associated with that type of content.

If responding to the comment might hurt your brand or if it is spam, hateful or anything of the sort, it might be better to not respond to the comment at all — however, these are exceptions to the rule, as some people just look for a reaction and will continue to be negative (these people are most commonly known as ‘trolls’).

The general rule of thumb, however, is to engage. One brand that is great at engaging with its audience and is open to discussion is Krispy Kreme. The popular doughnut company recently posted an image on Instagram saying “We are in this together” — and was definitely not short on replies to its followers.

Your brand needs to look at doing the same by being open and talking to consumers about current issues — you need to make them feel heard.

3. Take care of your consumers

Taking care of your consumers during a pandemic will make them feel secure and will ensure that they keep coming back to you. Consumers want to think that they are your top priority, and although they might not always be that #1 on your list, they really should be.

If you are labeled as an essential service, such as a grocery store, a great way to show your consumers you are taking care of them is by putting strict hygiene rules in place.

For example, SUPERSPAR at Eagle Canyon in Randpark Ridge is doing an amazing job at showing its consumers how much it cares about them, and their hygiene. Here is the procedure when you go shop there:
  1. Customers stand in a queue, which begins at a sticker placed on the floor (this is to keep distance between people)
  2. The staff sanitises customers’ hands
  3. The staff asks if they may take customers’ temperatures and show you if your temperature is normal or not
  4. They then sanitise their shopping carts
  5. The staff sanitises customers' hands once more and provide them with a white card before they can enter, and
  6. After the customers have paid, they give back their white cards and have their hands sanitised again.
Side note: all of the staff wears masks!

This shopping centre makes you feel at ease because you know they take care of you and the products that you are buying at their store.

If you are not labeled as an essential worker and are working from home, you can still make people feel cared for by creating content that gives tips and tricks on how to stay safe, and sane, during the pandemic.

For instance, Isuzu Truck World shared a ‘coping calendar’ on its social media platforms as a way to show consumers that the brand cares about their mental health.

4. Make your customers feel included

Since people are in self-isolation, quarantine and lockdown, they might feel that they can’t help people or animals as much as they have before because they are at home. However, organisations can still make them feel included by allowing people to donate and help people or animals who truly need it.

Take One Day Only for example; this is an online store that supplies buyers with essential products during the lockdown. The store recently sent out a post on Instagram about how its consumers can support township families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This puts a little bit of ‘power’ back into the consumer's hand and lets them know that, although they are at home, they can still help people who need it the most.

How is your brand showing consumers that it cares during the lockdown period? Let us know in the comments section below.

You’ve reached the end of what we could only assume to be an amazing article! Instead of having to search for our stories in the future, why not get them delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here.

With the lockdown, it is vital for brands to place their focus on digital marketing. Be sure to find out How to optimise your digital marketing during COVID-19 and use digital to its fullest.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy