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A question of trust: why you need to maintain marketing during the pandemic

The findings of new research into how consumers are responding to business and brands during the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the importance of sensitive and effective PR and marketing communications, as Lodders’ marketing director Hilary Campton explains.

Like many businesses, we’ve found it hard to know how much to communicate over the past few weeks. Clients are struggling to maintain a semblance of ‘business as usual’, and we are all experiencing bouts of worry and sadness as COVID-19 reaches into many areas of our lives. This makes it tempting to stop communicating with clients and customers in the worry that we might be “bombarding people” or getting on their nerves when they have far more important concerns. Indeed, we have all become adept at the fast-delete of an email from a brand we haven’t heard from for three years or so, telling us that they care and willing us to ‘stay safe!’.

Mass (and crass) communications aside however, marketing communications have a vital role in helping your business to maintain brand performance and influence future trust.

The recent poll, conducted by Censuswide, revealed some highly interesting stats and insights which indicate that reducing or pausing spend on communications during the crisis has the potential to be counterproductive.

The findings reveal that six out of ten consumers say the way a brand behaves during the pandemic will have a direct effect on their purchasing behaviour in the future, with nearly half (48%) saying they would trust a brand less if there was no communication during the crisis.

61 percent strongly or somewhat agree that they care more about how brands are behaving during the COVID-19 pandemic than they usually do (e.g. before the pandemic), and almost the same number agree that the way brands are behaving at the moment is going to affect their decision to give them their business in the future.

Saying nothing could be the worst thing to do

Inaction could lead to a detrimental effect on your client and customer relationships; the new research shows that ignoring COVID-19 could lead to decline in customer trust with brands. In fact, almost half (48%) of respondents stated they would trust brands less if the brand were to ignore what was happening (e.g. no communications about COVID-19). This was even more pronounced in older generations, with 56 percent of 55+ year olds stating they would trust a brand less if it was silent on COVID-19.

So how should you be communicating?

Whether your focus is on B2B or B2C marketing and communications, consumers and clients want you to be proactive with your approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The research shows that almost 7 in 10 respondents also want brands to spread some positivity during this time.

  • Take time to revisit your content strategy for the next three months and identify how you can best help your clients and customers to manage during these difficult times – and also how you can provide positive and uplifting support.
  • Consider your channels; can you deliver some of your content as a webinar or a peer-to-peer discussion forum over one of the video conferencing facilities? (We find Zoom and Teams to be good tools.)

Marketing budgets are – hopefully temporarily! – pretty squeezed, so creativity and agility will be key. Those of us who were marketing professionals during the 2008 recession will remember it as a time where resourcefulness, tenacity and an ability to make something out of very little saw us through. Now, once again, it is a time for marketers to show how they can add value to their business and its clients and customers, with sensitive, relevant and brand-enhancing communications.

For our team at Lodders, this has meant replacing our usual packed Spring and Summer event programme with a new tranche of communications and tools. This has included a dedicated Covid-19 resource page; live and on-demand webinars; peer to peer zoom ‘support’ calls, and helping our solicitors to stay visible across tools such as Passle and LinkedIn.

As well as providing practical advice to help our clients manage through the pandemic, we’re also keen to share good news stories from within our networks – so if you have something you would like us to broadcast across our social networks, please do share it with our social media expert, Eleri Williams.

This blog was written by Hilary Campton, Marketing Director at Lodders and a founder and director of marketing and communications agency, V Formation.

 

 

 

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If you’re a journalist looking for more information about Lodders, or to discuss a press release, please contact:
Diane Wood, V Formation on 07887 794507 or by email

Get in touch...

For more information, you can contact Hilary by email or on 07908 124772.