. . . As We Head Into Wave 2
Some headlines need little explanation. Unfortunately, this one, how to fight brand fatigue, requires no mention of “pandemic,” or “COVID,” or the new surge that was predicted and is presently occurring across the U.S. Nor, does it need to rehash how tired marketers are, both personally and professionally, in dealing with “pandemic fatigue.”
Marketing professionals are facing another epidemic; “how to fight brand fatigue”. Many are tired of working from home, with endless loop of Zoom calls. During which, they are trying to think of new, better ways their brands can succeed in this new environment. Yes, it’s exhausting!
But this is when brands have to stand up to meet the challenge. When their loyal consumers rely on them most. Where trust and dependability matter more than ever before.
So, how can you “fight brand fatigue” in the next few months? You need to step up to the new challenges that will ultimately impact your planning. Here is a checklist to add to your Zoom brainstorming session that will hopefully spark some renewed energy and enthusiasm:
Product/Service Innovation in brand fatigue
If there’s ever a time to think “outside the box,” it’s now. During Wave 1, we saw restaurants and retailers rise to the challenge with “touch-free, curbside services”. Established brands like Peloton implemented free trials of their on-line classes to raise brand awareness and create new customer opportunities. This worked pretty well for them as their stock has increased nearly five times since the beginning of the year and the demand for product is outweighing supply.
How can your product or service innovate the way it’s delivered or accessed? We’ve seen countless healthcare organizations update their tele-medicine services to provide virtual appointments and phone counseling to patients in all categories, as one example.
Review Brand Operations
From hours of operation to how your brand promise is delivered upon, marketers have to put themselves in the consumers seat and think through every detail of access, service delivery, and (virtual) customer experience. Consumers are more likely to cancel their appointments and put off purchasing during the pandemic. Marketers will have to find new ways to engage and convert them. A new customer journey mapping exercise reflecting current times might be a highly worthwhile exercise.
Your website and other online communications are vital now and into the foreseeable future. From a brand standpoint, it’s critical to assess how your site was used during Wave 1 and the improvements you’ll want or need make in the next surge. Now’s the time to audit your content strategy and develop a response plan to address new situations that will arise in your organization during Wave 2. Check speed, loading time, mobile responsiveness and other technical elements of your site to ensure a positive user experience.
Messaging and Advertising
Wave 1 focused on key phrases such as “we’re all in this together” and “we’re here for you.” As we enter Wave 2, brands will need to be more competitive in order to generate the needed revenue, while maintaining the empathy and unity of earlier messaging – no easy task. New creative work should be reflective of our culture; social distancing, mask wearing, small group gatherings, and diversity.
Progressive Insurance has always done an amazing job of going with the “Flo.” Their advertising is entertaining, warm, and is always culturally relevant. Television viewership during the pandemic has been way up and research has indicated that consumers like seeing (good) commercials. According to studies, consumers cite a sense of comfort and entertainment from commercials; providing some relief from otherwise bleak and overwhelming news.
Social Media Channels
Similar to your website, having a proactive plan in place for your social media channels will serve you and your followers well during Wave 2. Anticipate what could have been done better in Wave 1 and make those adjustments now. Be prepared to address these important questions. Such as, how will you respond to customer questions or complaints about COVID or service delivery? What tips for safety and well-being will you offer? Where should consumers tune in for more information? As before, put your customer hat on and fully anticipate the kinds of content that would be most helpful and insightful to them.
For as much good your organization will do during Wave 2, there are good odds that something will also go array. If you don’t already have a crisis plan in place, get one. If you have a plan, revisit it and make sure it’s up to date and accurate with regards to the current crisis and other potential scenarios.
The most important audience to communicate with during this pandemic is your employees. It’s imperative that your stakeholders know first the topics related to safety procedures in place for their protection, as well as new services and ideas that you’re offering customers.
The employee mindset is fragile right now. People want to know whether your organization will survive the storm and, frankly, if they’ll have a job. While you can’t overpromise, you can certainly assure them that you’re doing all you can to be successful and proactive during the ongoing crisis. All your brand planning will create positive perceptions among employees that your organization is staying and thinking current.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Customers have an affinity and loyalty for companies that give back, especially during times of crises. During Wave 1, we witnessed many examples of brands coming together for the greater good and taking care of our most vulnerable citizens. A social responsibility plan typically pays big dividends in the form of sales, employee retention, and long-term customer loyalty.
Surprisingly, studies showed that, during Wave 1, consumers were more open to receiving personalized communications such as emails, texts, and direct mail. In fact, these were the top-rated channels for reaching consumers. During Wave 2, they worked closely within your CRM system to get direct with your customers. This allows them to help schedule their services and convert to purchases. This is especially important in healthcare, where patients want to know that you’re helping them manage their care, while providing easier ways for them to schedule. MyChart, for example, is an excellent example of staying in touch with patients. It gives them the opportunity to send messages, schedule (virtual) appointments, and pay bills from the comfort of their home.
Brand fatigue is real as marketers are just tired of thinking through the implications to their brands during this pandemic. Wave 1 created burn out and there’s nothing to suggest that Wave 2 won’t cause more of the same. As we ready ourselves for more Zoom calls and balancing the benefits and challenges of working from home, we can ready our brands by being inventive, resilient, and proactive in our planning.
Hang in there, fight brand fatigue and please continue to be safe.
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