Managing brand communications during COVID-19 – Michael Giannulis shares crucial guidelines

The keywords for 2020 are social distancing and lockdown! The novel coronavirus has created mass havoc on lives, economy, and businesses. Right now, offices and business houses are opening in phases. A few areas that were in the unlock phase and have resumed lockdown again. No one has the blueprint as to how things will improve. However, despite the crisis, brands need to create a connection with new clients and maintain a harmonious association with the existing clients and customers. It is essential to pay attention to effective brand communications.

Michael Giannulis lists down crucial ways to go about it

Organizations in most areas are dealing with a partial if not a complete shutdown. Hence, the marketing and branding initiatives during these times need creativity and subtlety. You need to communicate your brand and marketing message effectively. Michael Giannulis, an entrepreneur, lists down some of the best guidelines for the same:

  • Social media has a vital role to play

During this global pandemic,social media will reign supreme as a business communication mode. The majority of public and office staff are practicing social distancing. And this has increased the time they spend online. Social media browsing and interactions have increased manifold. It is a perfect time to leverage this trend and start connecting with your existing new customer. It will help to maximize brand visibility, get organic views and traffic, and create user engagement through your posts.

Don’t just get online on a social media forum for the sake of it! To leverage the trend of increased social media engagements, you need to make interesting posts. Share relevant updates that would add value to your customer’s life. Or help them solve a query. You might also try and gather customer feedback about your brand and products by posing questions. The inputs you get will stir up an online conversation amongst your customers and followers. It will also provide you with insights you can implement to better your brand offerings.  

  • Give the business-as-usual marketing a break

Does your brand have a service or product that you can sell in such a testing time? If yes, then you can evaluate the brand communication message. Ensure that it isn’t very insensitive during this time as people all over are slightly scared and carry palpable energy. Customers should not think of your brand as opportunistic and sales-y. Instead, think of innovative and creative ways to sell your product.

For instance, if you are an herbal food and supplement provider, you could make a post about the relevance of boosting immunity presently. Connect the article with the herbs and food supplements that is essential to add in the diet chart. Add other food supplements and herbs that you do and don’t specialize in. You can leave a link for the food supplements and herbs that you sell, allowing the customers to take a judgment call. By doing so, you will not be marketing your product aggressively, which will work in your favor. 

  • Create remote customer service during a lockdown

If you want to come up with a service that needs in-person interaction, you need to currently weigh and assess the pros and cons. You will also have to examine the existing resources you have at hand to make the necessary business operation changes. You can make the most of social media for disseminating the data about your business and operation changes. Additionally, you can use the communication modes you are already using with your existing customer base, such as apps, online communities, and even emails and mobile texts.

Most of the workforce is operating remotely right now. Hence, you can assist and support the service teams to deal with customers and clients online. It will provide your customers a favorable experience with your brand and want to keep coming back.

  • You need to update and educate the customers

It is time to generate awareness about the existing condition we are living in. It will be useful if you urge your customers to take protective measures to stay safe from the novel coronavirus. When you update and educate the audience at large, you fulfill your role as a business leader. You can curate thought leadership articles and share in your social media or website+. It naturally helps to create and retain the trust amongst your customers and clients. Spreading awareness about safety protocols doesn’t need vast resources. You need to figure out smart tactics, like short videos and social media posts with infographics, to foster the relevance of wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizers when needed. Your audience will feel counted and appreciate your efforts. They might purchase your brand soon.

  • Your communication should be empathetic

Uncertainty is ruling every passing day! People are not sure about the future and are in an alert zone. Hence, it works if you, through your brand communication, are empathetic towards their tensions and needs. Having an understanding and benign tone in your marketing message helps than taking on an aggressive tone. People will remember your kind gesture and get back to your brand the moment everything returns to normalcy.

For instance, you could plan live sessions with your audience to know how they are coping up with the pandemic. Don’t try and sell anything in this session. If you want, you can conduct this session from your store or café outlet. If people show curiosity on a specific product, take time to answer the query but don’t sell it. That way, you might make a few sales. Make sure that any information you share via a video blog or social media post is authentic and verified. Make sure not to use a harsh tone to make a point, else you will lose your customers. If you are asking for feedback, allow your customers to think and get back to you.

Your customers will judge the way you communicate with them during a crisis. Know that rapid sales aren’t happening anytime soon. It’s time to stay active and operating. And for that, you need to invest in smart and thoughtful brand communication tactics like the ones mentioned above.

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