Need to Know (Pandemic and Your Brand)

Need to KnowAn article in today’s Wall Street Journal said that some people are already ignoring corporate COVID-19 emails. Since last week, there’s been an onslaught of them from businesses both large and small. Some are a bit tone-deaf, and some companies are taking corporate responsibility too far – so their customers are starting to ignore them.

As you might imagine, I don’t necessarily agree with the WSJ’s assessment as I think most businesses need to do a better job of communicating, and many are fighting for survival. To me, distributing a meaningful update is a good practice, even if it causes a little backlash – at least you know some people are paying attention. But it leads me to an important point: Are you telling customers what they need to know?

By now we all know what most businesses are doing: people are working from home, hand-washing, drive-through/pickup, adjusted hours, social distancing, etc. At this point, we have to rely on our fellow business owners to do the right thing, and we are essentially giving everyone a checkmark for corporate responsibility. This crisis is moving so fast that we need to communicate the next thing, not last week’s thing, so you should only be focusing on what people need to know about your business.

What do they need to know?

  • If you see customers at your place of business, they need to know your hours and how you are “delivering” your product or service. This goes for essential and non-essential businesses, alike.
  • That you are a phone call or email away and that you will talk to them anytime, day or night. (By the way, please publish your phone number and your email address. This is not time to rely on a website form. Give out your phone number.)
  • They really need to know how you can help them. Are you offering a product or service they need right now? Can you help them get a small business loan? How to restructure their business? Can you offer a great deal on a product or service? (Gas prices and interest rates will likely never be lower, for example.)
  • How you can help them be ready to re-launch once the COVID-19 crisis ends.

What don’t they need to know?

  • That you’re observing the crisis and making decisions on a day-to-day basis. Guess what, that’s everybody.
  • Things unrelated to your business that have become givens in the past week. For example, we are all deeply in praise of healthcare workers and first responders. We all know we are indebted.
  • Overly optimistic projections about when things will turn around.

This crisis has changed how we do business, and it seems like it is evolving by the minute. Last week, I was practically begging folks to communicate, but this week, I’m saying that you better do it smarter. Start by telling your customers what they need to know.

Let me know if I can help you turn this crisis into a marketing opportunity. If you have questions or just need a sounding board, give me a call at 305-724-3903.

–John

Comments

  1. Well said John! I appreciate your words of wisdom!

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