Between the Scenes
Effectively pivoting your brand's content strategy is a tall order, but when thrown a challenge like a global pandemic those fast on their feet stand to do the greatest good. In our latest blog, we look at the light the current situation has shone on the erosion of community, and what brands can do to unite people in tough times.
Be honest, if you knocked on your neighbour’s door out of the blue to ask how they were, would it be weird? We’re willing to bet that most of you would at least raise an eyebrow. The thing is, society has been drifting apart from one another for a long time now. We have now reached a point where we look at those in our community with suspicion, rather than familiarity. Does that feel right to you? We’re willing to bet it’s not.
The erosion of our communities is an issue that has simmered beneath the surface for some time now. But it is over the past few years that it has come to a head. Lockdowns have complicated this situation, separating us all from our friends and families for much of the past year. A positive note in all this is that 41% of people feel that periods of lockdown have brought them closer to neighbours. This stat could be the silver lining to what continues to be super challenging times. There’s an opportunity for us to rebuild better as we emerge from this mess.
We think the brands that play the most significant roles in our lives have the opportunity to make this change for its customers. By bringing like-minded people together over common challenges, beliefs, needs and desires, they stand a chance of building communities that can be and do good for one another.
We know that sounds like a massive ask. But think about the potential for a good that it would bring. Not only from a CSR perspective but from a brand equity perspective too.
The question is, how can your brand achieve this? If you’re asking us, we think letting your content be the conduit could be a great start.
Develop Deeper Connections
The past year has forced a great deal of change in buyer behaviour and values. Online shopping for one, the percentage of retail spend via e-commerce jumped 10% at the start of the pandemic. As lockdowns eased, these increased figures remained stable as people continued to stay away from visiting busy shops. Since then, we’ve seen sustained periods of lockdown continuing to force these new shopping norms.
With this shift, comes an opportunity for brands to develop deeper relationships with their audiences. Those who can get closer to their audiences should look to define content strategies that bring people together. By creating moments that people can share, brands can get their fans and customers together over common beliefs and values. This approach can include friends, families, neighbours and even strangers.
An example of a brand who has done this brilliantly is IKEA Spain. Its campaign, encouraging people to see their homes differently, helped families live new experiences at home.
Focus on Peoples Concerns
While the idea of getting back together with the friends and family you’ve missed these past months is an exciting prospect, gathering in groups remains a scary prospect for some. For those brands whose businesses are built around bringing people together, there is an opportunity to tackle those concerns head-on. Now, this may feel like a break from regular programming – especially if your tone tends more towards the happy-go-lucky end of the spectrum.
Brands that leverage content campaigns to engage with their audience, asking them what’s concerning them most, and acting with responsibility in supporting them will foster the strongest customer relationships.
Guinness achieved this with its St Patrick’s Day message. It created a video campaign that focused on encouraging resilience and optimism in supporting one another, in anticipation of being able to be together again. Its advice to lift each other as you would a glass was an encouraging sentiment from a brand that has survived World Wars and devastating famines across its 260-year history.
With a situation like the one we all find ourselves in, it’s essential to approach the theme with authenticity. After all, a clumsy campaign strategy could result in accusations of woke-washing. Something brand marketers will want to avoid at a time like this. Our advice would be to think about how you can involve your consumers in campaign initiatives from end-to-end. Ask questions along the lines of, how will they benefit from the campaign? Will it resonate with them? Are we speaking to their current needs, desires (or even worries)? Update your understanding of your customer’s world, talk to them on a level, or invite them into the process altogether.
As brand marketers, we can’t lose sight of the people that we communicate with through content campaigns. If there is one thing the past year has taught us, it is the opportunity that rests on our shoulders in creating reasons to bring people together. We suppose one of the pandemic’s legacies could be to think about how we can unite to support one another, rather than pick each other apart over our differences. Not only do brands that offer this stand to do good in the world, but there will be brand equity gains to be made too.
Get in Touch
We are keen to hear what you think on this matter. Are there any brands that you feel have stood out recently in the way they’ve brought people together, fostering a sense of community? Let us know via our socials.