Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Without relationships - We have nothing. A customer/brand relationship is - necessary. Without it, the brand only has potential and brands can't survive on potential.
Maximizing the relationship with the customer is they key to a brands success.
5 key ingredients to maximize any relationship
1. Effective communication
2. Trust (=honesty, reliability, compromise, understanding, respect, compassion)
As a brand it is important to effectively communicate to your customer.
NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO SELL! NOW IS THE TIME TO INFLUENCE!
Create a strong enough presence behind your brand, that after the pandemic passes (in a year or two with no vaccine - praying) that the customer reflects on the brands presence in their life during the pandemic. Those are the brands that will thrive. Right now, emotional support is needed by the customer. Customers want to feel good about the money they carefully spend because we are in a recession after all.
As a brand, be mindful of the customers that have supported you. Now it's your turn to support them. Help out in their communities; actively participate and be involved and more importantly be present. There's no better time then now. It will be noticed, and those customers will most likely marry your brand as a result.
For example, Oakley is the number one sunglass brand in gross revenue. Oakley grosses more than its sister brand - Ray Ban (both brands were acquired by Luxottica). Oakley edges out all of the competition's sunglasses because of the relationships they formed after they started. They became a standard in all branches of the military. All soldiers receive one free pair of Oakley's upon enlisting. Military men and women are married to the Oakley brand because of this: Oakley was protecting their eyes during times of distress in combat. They have given them value and their brand experience was remembered. Imagine the emotional connection that service members have towards Oakley. Active and former military also still receive a 50% discount on Oakley eyewear. That is the same percent-off that is given to employees (the brand still profits). Current and former service members are married Oakley!
An example of a company working well in the pandemic is Doordash. They have partnered with United Way Worldwide to serve seniors, low-income families, and mobility-impaired individuals by delivering free meals. They also updated their deliveries to no-contact deliveries - protecting both customers and employees. Doordash has hurdled numerous obstacles to protect their employees. Healthcare workers have $0 delivery fees for at least 60 days (which I would extend for the length of the pandemic).
Another example of a company being mindful is Mattel. They have launched an online activity center to help parents during the coronavirus that offers play from home activities, games, content, and expert advice. In addition, Mattel created a new hero for sale through fisher-price, a brand they own. All proceeds go directly to frontline healthcare workers and their families during the month of May (which I'd advise them to extend, until we are relieved of this pandemic recession). #thankyouheroes #playitforward
Finally, Crocs is donating 10,000 of their shoes for free every single day to front line workers. This will continue to last until supplies run out (after the 10k each day they close the opportunity - which could ultimately be frustrating). I would recommend them to temporarily follow TOMS model of bogo - buy one give one to help alleviate the stress from giving out 10k free each day. Doing this would make everyone aware of how their purchase benefits their community.
Now take notice to the activity those brands I mentioned are doing, to remain present in the pandemic. They aren't raising money, they aren't asking for donations from their customers. They didn't make a contribution and then stop. They are actively participating in the current climate we are dealing with. The brands that do that now, win now and later, first in the minds of the customer and then later in their hearts.
Create your emotional connection to the customers - now.
Follow the influence tips below and avoid alienating your brand from customers.
√ Promote brand awareness
√ Display compassion
√ Stay relevant, involved and present √ Give and participate
ø Advertise ø Send e-mails about promotions
ø Social media posts about current sales
ø DO NOTHING