How Successful Brands Connect With Customers During Covid-19

Lowe’s Home Improvement connects with customers during Covid-19

Covid-19 is transforming the marketing landscape, and agile, successful brands are changing their tactics to meet the challenges. Brands with the correct tone can continue to connect with customers not only to uplift spirits, but to lessen the stresses of a now homebound consumer society while keeping the brand in the customer’s consciousness.

Today’s current shelter-in-place situation means the traditional ways brands reached out are on lockdown. There are no in-person desksides with print editors to pitch coverage in magazines, and all product deliveries to publications are forbidden. Photography and video shoots to showcase new launches are a thing of the past, event sponsorship is out the window, and sporting events and trade shows are on pause. The basic ways to connect and spread the message to potential buyers via advertising have been eliminated.

Meanwhile, online content consumption has soared and proven to be the sweet spot with influencer marketing leading the way. According to Global Web Index, 80% of consumers in the U.S say they consume more content since the outbreak, with online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across all generations and genders. (https://www.visualcapitalist.com/media-consumption-covid-19/)

At this juncture, social media influencers are more important than ever to brands, because they can continue to deliver a brand’s message via a consistent though changed format. At BabbleBoxx, we see brands and influencers providing more long-form content, as online audiences are searching the internet for education and advice of all kinds – from home schooling tips to easy, helpful recipes to creative DIY projects that families can do together.

Repositioning media spend to take advantage of influencer marketing is a way brands can shift easily, and quickly, to turn marketing dollars on and off with little risk. With a virtual campaign, influencers can provide complete packages with photography and timely content. These campaigns are highly scalable and are an affordable solution to increase awareness and generate buzz about a product. In fact, many influencers are now adjusting their rates to help brand partners, and are ready and available to immediately create and launch content.

Granted, we have seen some fails from influencers who continue to send messages that are tone deaf during this crisis. Case in point, a renowned high-end, luxury brand partnered with a well-known influencer who flaunted how she was enjoying her luxury goods while purportedly confined to her luxury residence after testing positive for Covid-19. Predictably, backlash was immediate and vicious.

Instead, brands need to refocus on messaging that is appropriate and highly controlled. Additionally, influencer selection is key. The aspirational tone that worked before should shift, as emotionally customers have suddenly taken on different values. Now, audiences are craving education, entertainment and comfort, which should become a top priority for brand messaging.

Here are some recent examples of brands and campaigns that are getting it right.

National brand Lowe’s Home Improvement utilized 173 powerful influencers to generate 400+ pieces of content on Facebook and Instagram and earned 10MM impressions in less than a week. The Lowe’s team refined and reoriented their message by not urging people to go out and purchase goods, but instead use the things they had on hand. The campaign, entitled #BUILDTHANKS, showed influencers at home with  homemade signs and family art projects that said “thank you” to the many people on the frontlines keeping the country safe and healthy.

For Gilmour AquaArmor Lightweight Hoses, the influencer chose to highlight a positive of being at home by talking about gardening with a new line of hoses and sending people to her blog to see how things are blooming in her garden.

To emphasize the work at home situation, and how everyone is turning towards more relaxed clothing, Lane Bryant chose an influencer who expounded on her tips about loneliness and how to deal with it. She shared her favorite comfy outfits as well.

For an entertainment show from Spinmaster called Zo Zo Zombie, the brand selected  an influencer with two kids who posted an unboxing video which contained products centered around the show’s characters. They joyfully explained how they could watch the show and use the products while doing so.

In summary, brands need to make sure their campaign briefs are clear and extremely relevant to the times in which we find ourselves. Campaigns need to create and impart a brand message that resonates well with consumers in this novel landscape. And it should go without saying that everyone on the team should sign off, including legal, to consider impact on a newly sensitized public.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: The Rookie Dad