In the journey of caviling on social media about how worse the situation is turning, we've reached a barb where precariousness is existing to the fullest. The businesses are scuffling, the exceedingly fluctuating, and we are petrified more than ever, with Eid knocking at our doorsteps. We came across examples that we saluted, like Asian Paints raising salaries to boost employee morale. We also came across examples that disheartened us, like Uber laying off thousands of employees. Getting the hang of how marketers should operate, I have come across case studies, and learnings that I have grasped from some industry veterans, and following that, I shall share 'Three Cs' that a marketer can follow, during this pandemic.
The first C I'll talk about stands for 'Communication'. At times of crisis like this, stakeholders are smothered with uncertainty. Customers look up to selective trusted brands that will escort them throughout the journey. They expect to not just be enlightened, but also to be informed throughout periods of calamity, that will give them positive resolutions to hold in high regard. We all know how this pandemic is taking turns, pushing us towards riskier circumstances. When they are enlightened with quality content, or any sort of consistent communication, the brands have a higher chance of climbing up the resonance pyramid. While following this, it's important to systemize the relevance of the brand to the style of communication. Customers are somewhat picky towards the products they are consuming, so its the responsibility of brands to ensure that customers are being able to avail of the products without any disruption. We came across examples of how Grameenphone is enhancing COVID-19 based awareness messages during phone calls, instead of bombarding us with promotional offers. I personally use a credit card by EBL, and because I'm not being to get out of my house, the payment date is long due. Nevertheless, I was informed that I won't be charged with any penalty because of that - thus highlighting another interesting brand communication. Amidst the impact of COVID-19 globally brands are making necessary changes in their communication materials. As during this type of crisis time consumers expect more to listen from the brands, marketers must continue the communication. However communication must be contextual.
The next C stands for 'Collaboration'. BRAC Dairy remodeled its supply chain apparatus during COVID-19, and then joined forces with Chaldal.com and Shwapno to ensure that customers get the products with ease. This is not the time to centralize on competition, but to collaborate since this is a distinctively unfortunate situation we are in. Restaurants are partnering up with firms for logistical support, payment gateways are joining forces with social initiative driving bodies, and many organizations are focusing on scopes of collaboration. Brands helping out other brands to gratify the customers - this is how the ecosystem is being benefitted as a whole.
The last C stands for 'Compassion'. Instead of being torpedoed with pessimism, this is the time when brands should step up to render their hand to customers, employees, and the list goes on. Imagine being on the bed during an illness, back when we were children; all we wanted to do is hear sympathetic words from the elders while getting caressed. That's exactly what people are expecting from organizations at this point. Instead of receiving more doubts about the future of their jobs, they need to be assured that their salaries won't be cut. Instead of being surrounded by thoughts that their companies might not survive, internal stakeholders need to be assured that the business will survive, countering the pandemic. Instead of being stuck with negativity, organizations need to be more compassionate towards their customers, giving them hope that the meaning of a brand is far beyond its usual product offerings. Walton launched their online platform to capture orders. During this crisis time customers/consumers expect brands to contribute for the society at large.
Yes, it is true that businesses are doubting how they'll sustain in the long run, given that the situation isn't improving enough. From the stances of a marketer, why don't you place yourselves in the shoes of an employee who had big dreams of taking his/her organization to the utmost level? Why don't you visualize the situation of how devastated the customers are, at this point where they're surrounded by negative news every now and then?
I would like to end this on a positive note. Let's communicate with the ones who matter, collaborating with the ones who will take us further, while being compassionate towards the people who were always a part of this plan, and we will overcome this together hopefully.
The writer is Head of Marketing at The Daily Star and an Alumni member of the exchange programme (IVLP)- U.S State department. He is also the founding member of Mission Save Bangladesh.