Three Things Your Brand Should Keep in Mind When Responding to Current Events

When certain events or issues dominate a news cycle, many brands may want to know if and when they should make their own opinions known. Protests, demonstrations, public health crises, political controversies – these are all situations that businesses might feel the need to make a statement, or to communicate where they stand to customers.

A smart brand statement can help in gaining customer loyalty and support, while one that is less well thought-out could result in backlash or be perceived as insincere or opportunistic.

When the conversation on social media and the press is dominated by certain events, here are some things to keep in mind as your brand formulates a reaction.

 

Put Substance Behind Your Statement

A statement without substance can sometimes be worse than no statement at all. Make sure that your statement is genuine and sincere, and where appropriate, show what you’re doing to make a difference or give back, such as a donation or supporting a petition. Especially for issues related to social justice or inequality, consumers want to know where your corporate social responsibility lies. If nothing else, explain to your audience how the event has affected your brand, and what you will do as a company to ensure that you are standing on the side of justice.

 

Provide Resources

Before you comment on a situation, consider how you can lead by example. Encourage your audience to take a stand alongside your company and make a difference in their own way too. Include resources that consumers can use to educate themselves about the problem at hand. What can you share with your audience to help them be more informed?

 

Pay Close Attention to Engagement

After making a public statement, pay close attention to the engagement and feedback you receive from your audience. Whether it is negative or positive, it is imperative to respond to direct customer engagement. By acknowledging their comments, customers will feel valued and heard. Respond to a difficult comment with answers to their concerns, or when in doubt, direct them to another team member or resource that can help.

 

An open dialogue between your brand and your audience can be healthy and effective for your business. It may not always be an easy conversation to navigate, but if you are genuine, supportive, resourceful and attentive to the problem, your brand can use its platform to make a difference.

Creating Comfort for Customers as Businesses Reopen

Back to Business - We can help!

We are all eager for life to begin to return to normal – or at least a new normal, with increased social distancing and safety precautions. One element to that process that cannot be ignored is customer comfort. Even once stay-at-home orders begin to be lifted, individuals may still feel anxious at the idea of resuming normal activities like shopping and visiting local businesses.

As a business owner, there are ways to create comfort and stay top of mind for customers as you begin to reopen and welcome people back:

Share What (Unique) Things You’re Doing to Keep Customers Safe

Be thoughtful about the safety and hygiene practices you’re highlighting on social and in emails to customers. What do they really want to know? We have all started to feel fatigued at the sight of yet another COVID-19-related brand email with no new information. Try to anticipate your customer’s questions and concerns for your business in particular: “While we are following all local, state and federal guidelines for health and sanitation, I want to tell you about a few unique ways our business will be keeping you safe next time you visit.”

Let Your Customers Know You Missed Them

We’re all missing one another during quarantine, and now is a good time to let your customers know they’ve been on your mind. You may choose to send personalized messages to your most loyal customers, share heartfelt notes from your team or find other ways to communicate how much you’re looking forward to seeing them in-store once they feel safe enough to do so. You can even create an invitation to visit, date TBD, with a small promotion or discount included. Above all, be genuine in your words and put a face to your business as customers begin acclimating to communities reopening.

Express Community Gratitude

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Show your support for the community with signage and graphics outside of your business and on your social channels thanking medical professionals, first responders, essential workers, teachers and other frontline workers. If it makes sense, create a special giveback for frontline workers or make a donation to a COVID-19 relief fund as a way to show your commitment to frontline workers in your community.

We know business owners are eager to reopen and welcome back customers and clients, but getting back to business will not be as quick as turning on a switch. In the meantime, nurture your relationships with customers with thoughtful touches as you begin ease them back into doing business with you once again.

Four Things to Consider Before Reopening Your Business

Allegra is open!As restrictions are beginning to loosen, more businesses are working quickly to adapt to a new normal. Officials are releasing guidance with unique requirements and restrictions, and as you begin to look ahead to the future, keep in mind ways to make sure your business reopens on the strongest footing possible.

Revisit Your Business Model

What should your business model be when you reopen? Thinking about switching things up may be the last thing you want to think about right now, but you should still be asking if there are ways to pivot your operations, products or services into a better revenue stream. Many brands have been forced to get creative with inventory, operations and services during the pandemic, but it may be necessary to see these less as temporary pivots and instead as opportunities to continue to diversify revenue in the days and weeks ahead.

 

Communicate with Employees

Be clear with your employees and staff on the safety precautions you will be following to safeguard both their, and customers’, health. Share all guidelines as early as possible. If there are new requirements for face masks, hand washing, social distancing and enhanced cleaning, let your employees know and remember to ask if they have any questions, suggestions or concerns.  As you are laying out new guidelines, anticipate how they will be implemented and enforced – will you provide face masks and gloves to employees or will they need to bring their own? What is your sick leave policy, and will it allow people to stay home when they are symptomatic? Above all, it is important to show that you value employees’ opinions and care about their safety.

 

Clean Frequently, and Implement social distancing

Sanitation and disinfecting practices are paramount to fighting the novel coronavirus and that means reevaluating the way your business is cleaned. Beyond that, everyone will need to take part in keeping an office or business clean as a joint responsibility. Employees may need to be trained on how to clean high-touch areas and offices will need to be spread out with desks or work stations at least six feet apart. Keep alcohol or cleaning wipes around the office, remind staff to regularly wipe down surfaces and make sure everyone, from managers down to the newest employees, is pitching in to keep the workplace sanitary.

 

Acclimate to the New Normal

At this point, it seems likely “business as usual” is not in anyone’s future in the near term. Instead, employees and customers will be wearing face masks, facilities will be undergoing more frequent cleanings and social distancing practices may change the way your business looks and feels. Regardless of what type of business you are in, as you prepare to reopen your focus should be on demonstrating to employees first, and only then to the general public, that the work environment is safe and that you have developed innovative and creative ways to continue to delivery valuable services or products.

Businesses that stick to new guidelines and show concern and proactively plan for employees’ and customers’ well-being and safety are likely to succeed in the new normal.

Allegra is ready to help you navigate getting your business ready for reopening. Contact us today for our Reopening Readiness Checklist.

 

What’s Next? with Carla Johnson

Your ability to adapt, embrace, and find opportunities in every interaction with customers and staff will help drive the success and continuity of your business. Things continue to change rapidly. Business owners across the U.S. and Canada are figuring out ways to reopen their businesses while keeping their team and customers safe. If this is where you currently are, this video is for you. Allegra has partnered with author and marketing expert Carla Johnson to bring you a series of short, 10-minute videos to help your business. Here she discusses five things to keep in mind as you plan the next steps for your business.

Working with other businesses in the community has given the Allegra team the expertise on solutions you may need to get back to business. If you are looking for help with anything related to print, marketing, or mail, contact us today!

Consistency Rules with Carla Johnson

In times of change or crisis, being consistent is the key to success and business continuity. Consistency is the key ingredient that helps businesses build trust and become memorable. In this short, 10-minute video, Carla Johnson explains how to build consistent business practices and shares common mistakes to avoid. Here, she discusses unique ways to stay present in your customer’s lives. Being at the right place at the right time is necessary, but the most important thing is to always deliver a consistent and meaningful message that represents your brand.

If you need help finding new ways to reinforce your relationship with your customers, contact your local Allegra today!

Triple Threat with Carla Johnson

Balancing how much of your marketing efforts and budget are used to nurture existing customers and attract new ones is always a challenge. In this insightful, 10-minute video, Carla Johnson will walk you through a new way to approach your strategic planning. Here she will give you a few examples of ways your business can reevaluate your short, medium, and long-term goals. By following this exercise, you will be able to identify valuable opportunities that you can begin implementing from immediately. Taking an overall look at the larger picture will help you pave the way to accomplish your business goals.

If you are looking for a partner to help you plan your strategies, consider reaching out to our team. Allegra has years of experience helping businesses in diverse industries reach their marketing goals. Contact your local Allegra today!

Becoming an Indispensable B2B Partner with Carla Johnson

A partnership is an arrangement between two or more people, where they establish a mutually beneficial relationship. When working with B2B clients, establishing a good partnership can help you build successful and lasting business relationships. Allegra has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson, to bring you useful insights on how to become an indispensable B2B partner. In this short, 10-minute video, you’ll learn about earning your client’s trust, exceeding their expectations, and anticipating their needs. Her simple and effective advice can help you deliver valuable and memorable experiences to your clients and help you become an indispensable B2B partner.

If you are looking for other ways to improve your B2B partnerships, contact your local Allegra today!

Take 10 Video Series – Marketing on Purpose with Carla Johnson

Consumers today care about the impact brands have in their communities. They want to know and understand what a brand stands for…in both good and tough times. Defining who you are as a company or organization through your brand purpose, can help differentiate you from the competition.

Listen to marketing expert Carla Johnson in this 10-minute “Marketing on Purpose” video where she discusses the importance of developing your brand purpose to accelerate your brand and help shape future marketing decisions. You’ll learn what a brand purpose is, why brands need one, the benefits and energy it can bring to an organization, and how to create your own powerful brand purpose statement.

RSVP has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson to bring you proven tips to enhance your brand. If you are ready to get started and need help promoting your brand, contact your local Allegra today!

The Rise of Video Marketing in the Age of COVID-19

Person holding tablet, social network conceptIt’s no surprise that the use of video has become increasingly popular in content marketing. Especially with the ever-evolving landscape of COVID-19, videos can be an excellent tool for companies to connect with consumers. Think about it – if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is 10 times that. Videos can surely allow for companies to get the most out of their content, without overextending themselves or their resources. Here’s why:

Authenticity

We’ve all seen companies produce messages surrounding COVID-19 to discuss how their brands are adapting or coping with the rapidly-changing environment. Especially during uncertain times, it’s important for brands to be genuine and authentic, and to be able to connect with their audience. Capturing a message through video can be an excellent way to humanize the brand and to show its authenticity to consumers. Of course, videos should also include accurate and new information in order to be effective and resonate with consumers.

Informational

Videos are incredibly digestible content, making them a great platform to spread information. A company that has a lot to say can benefit from making a video for customers instead of writing an essay in an email. However, informational videos do not have to be an executive talking to the camera – you can certainly show your audience new information instead of telling them. Sure, you can have your CEO present a message and it can be effective, but you can also film the health and safety processes your business has implemented, while your CEO speaks in the background. Videos allow you to be creative and express the tone and meaning behind your message in a variety of different ways.

Teaser

So… what about post-COVID-19? We don’t suspect video marketing will slow down anytime soon – when used correctly, it can be an effective tool regardless of the situation. It can even be useful to promote events and products, or highlight team members and brand executives in the form of a “teaser” video. Restaurant brands who begin to open their dining rooms may benefit from announcing their plans through video, showing the precautions they’ve taken to make their restaurant clean and safe for guests. What about grand re-openings for non-essential businesses? Teaser videos can help attract customers to the event, as well as produce ongoing content from the event itself.

Words are effective and photos are lovely, but videos can connect with and resonate with audiences in a way far beyond other tools. That’s not to say every communication your brand sends out must be in the form of a video, but putting in the time to create video content can truly enhance your marketing plan.

To learn more about video marketingcontact Allegra today!

2020 Branding Webinar: 5 Small Steps to Make a Big Impact

In the upcoming Allegra Marketing webinar, “2020 Branding: 5 Small Steps to Make a Big Impact,” marketing expert Carla Johnson will teach us the five steps to build a brand, no matter the size of the company.

In this hour-long session, she’ll explain the importance of little interactions customers have with your brand throughout their buyers’ journey.

Whether we are talking about corporate branding, product branding, service branding, and even personal branding, each detail and interaction matters. A brand is an idea your customers have about your company and the products or services it delivers. You have the power to shape these ideas and perceptions by customizing each experience a customer has with your brand.

Shaping the idea of your brand in the mind of customers is an ongoing process, and it requires consistency. According to this global study from SDL, 90% of consumers expect a consistent brand experience across all channels and devices. This is why it’s crucial to start thinking about the small moments’ consumers interact with your brand to always deliver a predictable service that meets their expectations.

To build a consistent brand, it’s necessary to start this process from the inside of your company. The first people who need to understand your brand are your company’s employees. Each one should know the promise, vision, and mission of the brand. The more informed and engaged each employee is, the more empowered they will be to advocate for your company and support your brands’ identity.

Exploring in detail each touchpoint a customer has with your brand includes rethinking all the moving pieces that work together to build long-lasting relationships with customers and prospects. This is where branding comes into play to help you forge emotional connections with your audience at every touchpoint. Doing this will shape the identity of the brand and reinforce its message.

Paying attention to these small moments will give customers a consistent impression of your business, which is key to building brand awareness and loyalty. This webinar will help you identify the different opportunities you have to engage your target audience. You’ll walk away from this webinar with a new perspective and tips to make the most of the small moments where customers experience your brand.

Register today and don’t miss this FREE Allegra Marketing Webinar on May 6 at 12 p.m. ET!

Allegra has partnered with author and branding expert Carla Johnson to bring you game-changing tips to enhance your brand. Allegra is your local, single source for strategic marketing and print communications with measurable results. Register here for this upcoming webinar.