Friday Forum – We bring the hottest questions from the Chinese Social & Digital space to our brightest minds.
How should brands communicate with their audience during the coronavirus outbreak?
Senior Creative Director / We Are Social
1. From a macro perspective, brands should take the opportunity and show its humanity and sense of social responsibility. Build a closer connection with the audience by either donating materials or engage with consumers to donate together.
2. From the consumers’ perspective, almost all people are forced to stay at home under the current circumstance. Utilizing the brand persona might open up new interesting ideas for online activities, such as cloud gatherings, cloud greetings, and cloud office.
3. Brands can also connect with their audience by being aware and engage with the expressions and meaningful idioms related to the virus that are shared among people.
Creative Director / We Are Social
Brands need to handle the epidemic positively and responsibly.
1. Take the opportunity to understand consumers' lifestyles during the epidemic. Find topics about people's lives that strengthen the brand-consumer communication; extract material and stories from consumers; understand and discuss the consequences of consumers' confined living situation.
2. It's important to touch this topic calmly, but with consideration. Unlike other hot events, this event is unique. Sales marketing attempts will easily consume many commercial brands' resources in vain and may even affect the brand image. Therefore, a limited degree of communication at a particular pace with consumers would be more suitable and would be conducive to establishing long-term brand preference among them.
Creative Director / We Are Social
Three major strategies brands should follow:
1. Don't mix sales marketing with the current epidemic situation. It's better to emphasize the emotional support for people who are quarantined at home.
2. Be cautious about the information and news sources the brand potentially would share regarding the epidemic, and ensure it is accurate from a credible media authority.
3. Brands need to be sincere in their public welfare initiatives. If a brand is considering donating money or other support, do it wholeheartedly, and not as a publicity stunt.
Associate Creative Director / We Are Social
Let's illustrate a potential brand approach with an example.
Brand - LAVAZZA Coffee:
Consumer Status: During the epidemic, consumers stay at home all day and have nothing to do.
Consumer Insights: People would make a cup of coffee at home. However, despite high-quality coffee beans and a good coffee machine, it may not even be as tasty as the coffee in the coffee shops.
Solution: Pleasant Coffee Shop (Note: 'Epidemic' is a similar homonym of 'pleasant' in Chinese)
Idea: During the epidemic, consumers have the chance to experiment to create the perfect Café Latté. LAVAZZA, in this case, can provide daily 15-second instruction videos on how to perfect your coffee making.
No matter during an epidemic or normal life, the solution to a problem is to focus on the current situation of consumers and the insights of their daily lives. Instead of having access to a wide range of activities, consumers are limited to their homes and family. Furthermore, it is even possible to use media platforms near consumers' homes, such as billboards and elevators, to display ads, thus achieving high brand exposure.
Senior Art Director / We Are Social
Consumers today are all worried and involved in every development of the outbreak. Therefore, brands need to be very delicate and consider the audiences' viewpoints. Typical promotion sale ads would probably be the wrong strategy, however, a simple and heartfelt message directed to the audience would be more suitable. Luis Vuitton is a good example of this when they reached out to their consumers on WeChat with the message “Every paused journey will eventually restart”. They leverage the situation into an opportunity of showcasing their CSR and establish the sense of “we do know what is happening, and we do care about you” with their audience to build and strengthen the brand loyalty.