How to Show Customers You Are Here For Them.

Thinking bigger than the bottom line.

In the scheme of our favorite restaurants and stores closing and now shifting through phases that may lead us back to Phase 1 (if not done properly), life has become more complex. Our daily routines are put on pause and we’re searching for support from our friends and family. But what about our favorite brands that we interact with on a weekly, if not daily basis? Where did they go in my time of need?

Although nobody is expecting a personalized letter from their favorite brands demonstrating that they know what we’re going through, it is commendable for brands to remind us that they are here, and they are listening.

Every brand is different. Whether your brand is a staple for its product, messaging, or voice, you must find a way to stay in touch with your audience. In a time full of loneliness, your audience must know that you are still here and that you care.

Find Your Platform

Living in an age full of new technology and interactive social media platforms, there are multiple options for your brand to focus on audience reach. It’s possible that your brand’s largest following appears on social media, and focusing your efforts on connecting with consumers via Facebook live or IGTV is the best idea. Maybe your product would be used most efficiently if converted into an app-based solution.

Before choosing your platform, ask yourself: Where is my brand’s greatest following? What platform will best portray my product?

Peloton found its most successful platform would be using technology to create an app with at-home workouts. Before COVID-19, Peloton was a brand making at-home gym equipment that can be synched to an exercise app with videos to keep users motivated and engaged. With gyms closed, at-home workouts have been rising. Peloton switched gear to providing those that may not have their equipment with alternative ways to workout. Peloton is offering new users free workouts for 90 days using their app, no equipment needed.

Peloton (credit: USA Today)

The creation of this app shows consumers that Peloton hears them: with gyms closed, they need the motivation to exercise, and Peloton is providing that motivation.

Stick With Your Voice

As a brand, if you aren’t sure exactly what you can provide for your audience amid these changes, stick to what you know: your voice. Your brand becomes special through its voice or messaging — so use it! Whether that means using your humor to post Buzzfeed quizzes to determine what type of Corona cutie you are, or creating polls about a new White Claw flavor, your audience will appreciate it!

Is your brand voice sarcastic, funny, serious, or informative? Does your messaging target issues like sustainability, mental health, or physical health?

Madhappy is a streetwear clothing brand promoting mental health awareness and conversations. By calling their following a “group of local optimists,” Madhappy instantly gives their audience a sense of community. With a strong brand voice of inclusion and positivity, Madhappy emphasizes this messaging amidst COVID-19.

As May was mental health awareness month, every day Madhappy posted questions on their Instagram stories inspiring mental health discussion among the community. With their filter, followers were encouraged to reflect on their own mental health, because Madhappy is paying attention.

With an inviting brand voice and messaging surrounding mental health, Madhappy remains on brand and present while tackling COVID-19.

Show Your Audience You Know They’re Here

In a time where people have to remain physically apart, it is reassuring to know who is still here. Although consumers do not expect to receive daily texts from their favorite brands checking in, they do want to be acknowledged. Just as brands want to remain relevant in today’s landscape, individuals also want to remain relevant and want brands to know “Hey, our lives may be on pause right now, but we’re still here.”

If you have an audience that you know you can directly engage with, do it! Beauty industry followers love beauty influencers like Jeffree Star and Jackie Aina. They have set the precedence for beauty routines to be virtual long before COVID-19.

Now, large brands like Glossier are posting makeup tutorials on IGTV to show their audience that they know they’re here by giving them attention. The audience now feels that Glossier understands that their lives are on pause and they need new ways of receiving makeup tips. It’s as if Glossier said “Our lives are changing too, but we know you’re here. Let us help.”

Brands Are Made Up Of People, Too

What we’re suggesting is nothing crazy. Although we are remaining apart, the daily struggles that we are going through bring us together. We want support, attention, and motivation. Brands understand this, because well, they’re made up of people too!

To the audience, the next time you see that a brand is trying to reach out, whether this is through a product, post, or writing, appreciate it!

To the brands, we, as audiences, just want to be seen. What can you do to show us we’re not alone?

by Brielle Hoffman

popshop is an online platform for short term retail bookings as well as a global community for brands to interact, collaborate, and even share spaces.