Dear Brands, Your Customers Will Remember

We don’t know much about all the changes that the coronavirus will bring about in the next few months or how they will be implemented. What we do know more than ever is that everyone, every person and every business is in a difficult situation and the coming months will reveal the long-lasting impacts that this pandemic will have on our world.

This sense of uncertainty is not just confined to the future, but to every individual person. Every day another story of a hero is released which warms our hearts. Yet, for every story that warms our hearts there are stories that break it. At Three(i) we want to help you figure out how to do good, warm hearts, and continue gaining support from customers and clients, while sustaining your organization in the process. One thing is for sure: people may remember the organizations that warmed their hearts, but they will certainly remember the ones that broke them.

According to the Edlerman Trust Barometer, 71% of customers say if brands put profits over people, they will lose trust in the brand forever.

Whether severely limited or limitless, what you do with your resources during the pandemic matters. If there’s one thing that you don’t want to run into in the middle of the pandemic it’s the loss of future clients and donors because of scandal, or worse, because you didn’t do something better than other organizations. Even inaction is an act, and we want to help you avoid that with these tips.

Know Who You’re Working With

I know, on the surface this sounds so simple. Yet, in the age of the pandemic, everything has changed. Needs have changed, resources have changed, and people have changed, so if you are not staying up to date on who your community is and what they need, you will seem to not care. Is your target audience a member of the 32% of Americans 18-24 who believe they will run out of money during this time - and let alone struggle to find work? Connecting with them will need a different marketing strategy or PR campaign than the one you develop to serve the 16.4% of people 65+ who are worried. We encourage spending some time asap launching new surveys on social media or by mail, hosting virtual focus groups, and letting your audience see you want to know. Here’s the thing, everyone is facing some tough challenges, but your clients and supporters need to feel that even when everything is in the air, you are capable of understanding and making the best decisions - for them and not your pockets.

Be A Problem Solver

In these times, people are scared of what the future holds. Every day, they are overwhelmed with problems that seem to stack up on one another instead of getting solved. If you want to stand out, solve a problem or two. When the number of Americans working from home skyrocketed to 36%, Zoom solved the problem of needing an effective online work meeting space. You may not create the vaccine for the virus, but you have to develop a strategy to show people that the work you do alleviates some of the pressures that this virus brings to the table. McDonalds became a food resource for students hungry and out of school. Barcardi and ExxonMobile became a resource for hand sanitizer. Show how you are still relevant in the world with corona. You want everyone from clients to donors to understand that you don’t just care, but that you care so much that you are willing to change how you do something to respond to their needs in the moment.

Don’t Applaud, Act

Your customers and supporters are tired of hearing you praise heroes. They want you to be one. Instead of only recognizing the amazing work that other organizations and people are doing, try to be a hero yourself. By the end of April, almost 20% of people had a family member or friend whose health has been impacted by COVID-19. Your customer or employee or board member could very well be a part of that number. At Three(i) that’s always been our goal, to help do-gooders reimagine the world and then magnify their messages. Positive earned media will come to insurance companies that take action and reduce monthly payments for struggling customers. Viral social moments will come to the fashion brand that’s intentional about switching to digital and donating a product for every product sold online. Figure out ways that you can accomplish your organization’s goals while still addressing and supporting the needs of people experiencing hardship, whether they are current clients or not.

The pandemic will not last forever, but the impact will follow us around for years. You have the choice to be remembered for doing all you could or not doing nearly enough. If you want to make it to the other side of this, you ought to consider developing a strategy that prioritizes your source of survival - your customers.