As most businesses turned to digital as a sole way of marketing during the past hectic weeks – online audiences are becoming more and more sensitive to BS. How you could (and how you'll be able to) avoid the trap.
By Noa Faran
If, for any reason, your brand or organization has had setbacks with establishing its digital assets, I bet COVID-19 gave you that final push you needed. The same goes for many new sectors in society, individuals who up until now had their own setbacks with making the change to online. Whether the cause was technological or simply a preference to get certain products and services after touching, trying-on or interacting with them – the pandemic has given The final boarding call for passengers to jump on the fast train to a new digital world.
As countless amounts of new people plugged-in, us already digitally plugged folks nearly tripled the amount of marketing messages that flash through our eyes daily. This, I claim, has accelerated our online evolution in more than a few ways, one of them I’ve been secretly praying for, both as consumer and content creator, and that is the development of higher sensitivity of our bullshit detector. I for one, find that the hyper-exposure to content delivered (and still being delivered) to me by brands during Corona days, has made me super-sensitive to cliché, opportunism, dishonesty and plain old hypocrisy.
Examples of such behaviors by a brand would be: doubling the amount of promotional emails without offering anything in particular to make it easier for us to purchase. Going live for no apparent reason, bombing us with video content (that demands much more time and focus for us to engage in). Asking for support (buy more now) or loyalty (pay for future services or become a member) without compromising prices or benefits, and so on. The point is clear: just like in any other real-life relationship, you only get what you give. Diving into digital communication with your clients without going through a process of building a trust-worthy dialog is like a clumsy attempt to get us into bed without even asking us out for a goddamn drink first. As you approach your target audience during times like these, adjustments have to be made:
1. Adjust Your Messages
If you were used to a hard-sale jargon, Corona digital climate called for you to tone it down a bit, in order to acknowledge the fact that just like you – your audience is going through a life-changing crisis too. That said – if you haven’t already established a certain level of familiarity with your online market, now isn’t a good time to pull the empathy card, by constantly telling your audience how you know exactly how they feel and what they need right now.
A good communicational strategy would be instead, to try to keep your messages simple and honest. Consider sharing what you as a brand or organization are going through these days, what your challenges are, and how you support your employees. You could also give your perfect promotional designs a rest, in favor of some ‘behind the scenes’ pictures of real employees and work processes.
2. Adjust Your Product
As your marketing team comes up with new creative ways to bundle-up whatever it is you are selling – try to keep in mind the assumption that your audience might be much more sensitive now than ever before to sales maneuvers. Nobody wants to feel taken advantage of, and so please, try to avoid BSing them. The immediate financial consequences of the crisis on your profit margin are not to be taken lightly. Nevertheless, losing potential leads will have long-term effect as well.
If your product lost relevance due to Corona circumstances (such is the case if you are, for example, a car insurance agency), focus your best copywriting skills on building a refund plan and make sure it gets to them before they ask for it. Yes – spend your media budget on telling people how YOU will pay THEM. Wired times. If you transferred your one-on-one sessions to video calls or quickly turned your classroom course into a digital one – you should probably re-evaluate its worth, and be clear in your messages of what are the changes and how they affect your pricing, while underlining your willingness to be flexible and respond to any concern.
In two words: communication strategy. Such a global crisis as we are still experiencing is bound to bring to light who you really are as a business. Making up new merch items and online paid services is amazing as long as you realize that consumers are more aware than ever before, and they get it – you are trying to survive. We all are. So let’s try to be cool about it.
Noa Faran is Lemur Creatives’ VP Content