Usefulness And Speed With A Heavy Dose Of Empathy Will Build Brand Preference During COVID-19

Usefulness And Speed With A Heavy Dose Of Empathy Will Build Brand Preference During COVID-19

What can we learn from brands getting it right during the COVID-19 crisis?  They are listening and acting fast. It’s hard to know what each day will bring, but with quick thinking, creativity and a heavy dose of empathy, brands are leaving their mark. Bob Liodice, the CEO at ANA, whose Center of Brand Purpose has also developed content to help members drive more purposeful, compassionate and responsible marketing for their brands says, “In this time of crisis, brands are exploring every possible means to remain helpful and relevant to their customers, and making empathy a key part of their decision-making process is a wise approach.” 

Let’s peek at a few examples of brands leaning into displaying empathy.

  • Disney released FROZEN II on Disney+ to parents who didn’t expect to be home with their kids and now have something unexpected to watch
  • LVMH and their actions to turn their factories from making perfume, which makes me a smell a little more pleasant, to hand sanitizer which makes us all more safe
  • Google made Hangouts Meet available to their G-suite customers through July 1
  • Even the NYC Met Opera created a free streaming option so we can catch the best Operas online!
  • Planet Fitness is hosting daily free exercise classes via Facebook live

In each of these options, brands are using empathy metaphorically as a VERB. It’s their brand actions that matter.

What are some key highlights of this thinking?  

  • Empathy: It helps to lean heavily into being empathetic. Empathy will win the day both internally with your stressed employees and externally with consumers or customers. As discussed in yesterday’s article, best-in-class brands are doing right not only with their customers but their consumers by showing empathy in the eye of the storm. People will notice brand actions now and remember them in the future. 
  • Speed-to-usefulness. We have seen a lot of graphs lately, so think of it this way:
  • Right now, we are in the “adjust” phase where consumers are trying to come to terms with what is going on. What can your brand do to help? 
  • As they enter into the “peak” phase, they are trying to figure out how to balance work, life and home now that it is all mashed into one location without a real sense of when this will end. How does your brand help physically? Mentally?
  • Eventually, we will get to the “recover” phase. How will you provide clarity in this unsure time? Once we finally get back to some sense of normal, how will you collectively create a sigh of relief with your consumers?

In the spirit of acting fast, Barkley put together a primer for brands trying to engage and support modern consumers. Click HERE to read more. It shows a perspective on relevant behaviors and actions that modern brands should think about during this difficult time. Right now, consumers are looking for answers and comfort. Brands need to use this opportunity to think fast and be as useful, and practical, as possible.



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