Brand Empathy During COVID-19

How can brands remain relevant & empathetic to consumers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people are overwhelmed with messages each day. Consumer attention is the scarcest marketing resource, and information overload has created attention scarcity. Now more than ever, it’s vital brands deliver relevant, timely communications — showing empathy and providing real value. 

Unlock human truth with empathy for people’s new realities.

Each person is experiencing a unique and unprecedented situation — those vary greatly by person and region. Brands should adjust communications to be more empathetic and harness thoughtful optimism sensitive to the challenges people face.

Old Navy has recently pivoted to authentically address people’s new day-to-day realities and help people feel confident in new situations at home. From working out to tackling chores, Old Navy shows consumers simple ways you stay comfy and stylish. Working from home? Need a quick endorphin rush? Or maybe tackling chores around the home? Even during this unprecedented time, Old Navy sticks true to their brand to make fashion accessible and fun for everyone.

Practice Context Sensitivity. Brands can communicate with empathy for new consumer moments at home.

Reassure people with candid communications.

Now is not the time for brands to disappear or gloss over problems. Brands can earn respect by engaging in a way that’s authentic for the times. It’s vital to communicate with heightened empathy and candidly address the challenges people face. 

Jimmy Johns is known for simplicity — no games or gimmicks — just fresh and freaky fast sandwiches. They provided customers a sincere way to overcome the shared challenge that “finding bread can be difficult now” with freaky fresh bread on demand. They took the existing product, fresh bread made in-store, and used it to reassure and relieve those overwhelmed by the current grocery experience. Then they expanded into social media to showcase customer recipes and at-home hacks for using Jimmy Johns bread.

Sincerely Help People. Brands can tap into candid, shared experiences that make us all human.

Read more strategic learnings from brands like Allstate, Jared and Summersalt in my Hawkeye Insider on what COVID-19 is teaching us about CRM. Attention is the new currency, and with a little creativity and empathy, brands can capture attention in this pandemic environment.

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