Curating Confidence Amid Crisis: A Call for Marketers
Much of marketing is about delivering the right message at the right time, yet in many ways, campaigns are missing the mark right now. After all, how many commercials, e-newsletters, or digital ads have you seen over the last few weeks that are cringe-worthy given the global context? Think of how that may have affected consumer confidence in those brands, and how that could apply to you.
Beyond conducting an audit of your automated messages and in-the-can campaigns, it is critical to understand how your audience is feeling. No, this doesn’t mean in relationship to your brand. Nor is it about simply monitoring sentiment shifts after a campaign completes. It means tuning in to specific cues and doing so frequently. As the situation regarding COVID-19 changes by the day and hour, this is truer than ever.
Indeed, the brands that take the time now to listen to their audiences — both to what they say and what they do — will be better equipped to communicate in ways that matter. So, what are people saying? How are they reacting to COVID-19, and what does that mean through the lens of marketing?
Let’s dive into a few lessons learned from DISQO’s study on the impact of COVID-19 on consumer confidence, attitudes, and behaviors.
Curate Consumer Confidence
Despite headlines and viral social content (let’s rethink that phrase, shall we?) that may suggest otherwise, people are more confident than they were just a few weeks ago. How so?
As the weeks have progressed, people have understandably reported that they feel less safe from the coronavirus (50% in our most recent survey, down from 55% the week prior). Nevertheless, those same people have also attested that they feel more prepared to face the challenges ahead. Indeed, as of March 16, 61% of people we surveyed attested that they feel prepared in the event the virus spreads to their city.
Why is there confidence amid the chaos? It is because many people are getting the information and goods they need. Yes, any individual news conference or press release might be met with mixed reviews (and we definitely saw spikes in certain online behaviors in response each time).
Yes, any particular milestone in the situation may cause unease, and a single off-handed comment about toilet paper can cause a buying panic. However, people are beginning to find what they need. It’s on all of us to make that search as easy as possible.
Thus, at a time when the news is volatile, it is imperative for brands to instill confidence and put people at ease. How can you reassure your audience that the goods they rely on will still be available, and that they will be safe?
From a messaging perspective, be consistent, be open, be informational and be reassuring. Nearly every peak shift in digital behavior we measured was aligned with a moment of media chaos.
For instance, we saw an immediate 240% spike in online browsing activity pertaining to COVID-19 after one particularly discordant news day wherein announcements from Capitol Hill and the White House were at odds (Feb. 27).
The lesson? Do not let your brand be discordant. Be consistent.
Now is the time — if you don’t already — to embrace the concept of under-promising and over-delivering. Yes, you want to reassure customers that you’ll still be in business and fulfilling orders but be honest with them about delays. Clarity and consistency of message right now are key.
But please, above all else, be genuine. This is not the time for gimmicks or disingenuous promotions. Set your guidepost to another brand’s positive mantra, if you must. Whether you identify with being a good neighbor, keeping the light on, or being a helpful whomever, err on the side of wholesome.
Barbie Koelker, VP of Marketing, DISQO is a communications and marketing leader with over 15 years experience managing brands and their campaigns. As the VP of Marketing for DISQO, Barbie leads brand marketing efforts for the rapidly growing insights platform, defining its voice, crafting its story, and driving discovery.
Prior to DISQO, Barbie has led marketing efforts for a myriad of companies, from tech & entertainment startups to publicly traded enterprises. Most recently, Barbie served as the head of marketing for AUDIENCEX and led developer-facing marketing efforts in her role as a Director of Marketing at AdColony.
Committed meaningful audience engagement, Barbie holds a Master’s in Communications Management from the University of Southern California and was a President’s Scholar at Cal State Fullerton, where she attained her Bachelor’s in Communications.