Redefining Approaches for Business Continuity – Factoring in Empathy and Sensitivity

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The enormous and total impact of Covid-19 on business is being experienced globally in unprecedented ways. In response to this, companies are responding in ways to minimize risk – offices are shut and the world’s largest work-from-home exercise is on. Immediate overnight change has got all of us struggling to cope. These massive disruptions have made companies rethink how to ensure business continuity and manage business functions like sales, marketing, customer support and continuous compliance. For marketing their product, it is fast becoming the norm for marketers to look beyond this situation and adopt a long-term perspective when it comes to marketing their product.

Once the crisis is over, brands will have evolved, changed and adapted to new communication strategies. This crisis has taught us to prioritize, ration and collaborate. If in a matter of a few weeks, most consumers have revised their pattern and made a seamless transition to digital mediums, then marketing will need to be redefined, and brands will have to invest in the right processes to ensure the mediums are more effective and inclusive. The need of the hour will be on recrafting the approaches and communication, factoring in the awareness, safety and empathy.

For the “New Normal”, here are some approaches that can help: 

Communicate, Reassure, Prioritize Empathy

The pandemic has totally disrupted the old set ways and a new normal is in the process of being formed – here, how people react, purchase and behave will be forever changed. Consumers would like to see a brand being more considerate with goal-driven actions and messages – this will be a core differentiator. Amidst all this negativity, crisis and gloom, virus outbreak, people are reacting and absorbing positive and inspiring content. Hence, for brands, Customer trust is the new currency for brands, and it is important to earn, sustain, and grow every single penny.  During these tough time, hard-selling messages delivered to the audience may backfire – it is better to approach with empathy, courage and humility woven into the messaging.  Gradually, over time, this can help brands strike the right note with people. Primarily, marketing communication will need to be reassuring and focused.

Rethink Traditional Channels 

With digital adoption increasing day by day during this lockdown, there is an increase in leveraging and the use of digital platforms. People are engaging with video conferencing, DIY videos on social media, mobile phones etc. In the new normal, new channels for communications & distribution will need to be a norm and not an exception. It will become the core of strategies for customer engagement and customer retention. Also, using digital data, brands can focus on distribution strategy and focused content, thereby defining the best approach for each element. 

Ensure Brand Safety

There is a surge in extremist content, fake news – often, brand advertising often appears next to unsavoury content and hence brand safety has now been thrust fully into the limelight. In the new normal, brands move beyond intellectual property protection with marketers tailoring their messages to avoid misinterpretation and avoid inappropriate content to ensure brand safety. With new customer segments and vigilant government policies, brands need to be very careful about how and what they say. Especially with the increase of user-generated content, vigilance is imperative. Robust steps are needed to protect the brand image and reputation in such situations. We need a more focused robust approach to identify content devoid of any risk to brand safety and implement tailored approaches for what we deliver to our audience.

Thus in these changing times, there is a lot of uncertainty and businesses will need to be agile, responsive and look at newer ways to properly react to challenges. Restoring customer confidence and giving the right message will help to retain customer loyalty, build the business and gain insights into coping with the situation. Proper thoughtful communication, brand messaging, empathy and dynamic ways of reaching consumer mindsets will help to get the edge on competitors. Of paramount importance is the brand reputation and businesses will need to get it just right. Addressing customer concerns with empathy, sharing the problems of the customer and responding to the best of your ability – will help build bridges and closer connects with customers. These difficult times will certainly pass. And amidst all the turmoil, people will remember brands that stood by them and were forthright in their communications. 

Consumers are already swamped with a lot of Covid-19 content right now. For now, the main principle for everyone is to be kind, helpful. Businesses need to sustain their brand presence. Thus it’s time for them to develop new marketing strategies, strengthen bonds with customers, give better customer support and plan for continuity post the crisis. Planning for a focused, relevant comeback in the new normal will certainly help ensure business continuity.