In moments of crisis, there are great moments of opportunity. For brands, the COVID-19 shelter in place and social distancing recommendations have turned the way we connect with customers upside down. As marketers, we have been watching brands that have taken this moment and turned it into an opportunity to build a deeper, more human connection with their customers through social good initiatives. When humanity and marketing align, it’s one of those magic moments that can build long-lasting customer relationships which can translate into less choppy waters ahead in the retail and DTC space. Here are 4 ways we have seen brands successfully connect with their consumers in an emotional and mindful way while giving back during the crisis:
  1. If you are not at risk, donate. If you have the resources and it makes sense for your business, implement charitable components of your business model or make significant donations. Honest Co., who focuses on consumer goods, has provided a great example by donating 3M diapers and thousands of personal care items to Baby2Baby to help families impacted by the spread of the virus. 
  2. Provide consumers with the opportunity to support. Back a foundation or fundraiser that is relevant to your brand and it’s values, and ask your customers to join you in support. Encourage customers to purchase gift cards like restaurants are doing, partner with relief programs to help keep your business and others stay afloat, and invite consumers to help support those in need. Shoe designer, Allbirds, launched a “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program to encourage purchasers to donate shoes to healthcare professionals. Clothing line, Everlane, is similarly  donating 100% of profits from their 100% Human collection to Feeding America.
  3. If you have the opportunity to promote and donate from success, do it, and let your customers know they contributed in a personal way. Depending on your business, you might have the opportunity to promote product that speaks to the moment. As an example, luxury bedding brand, Brooklinen, promoted their loungewear line at 25% off, knowing that so many were working remotely. The results were stronger than they had forecasted, and they later decided to donate a portion of the profit to Direct Relief. The decision to donate was then communicated via email to existing purchasers, making it more genuine vs. a marketing play.
  4. If a monetary donation is not an option, over communicate and crowdsource information. While certain businesses can sustain with at least some sense of normalcy through these types of situations, that is not the case for everyone. It’s crucial that your consumers see the humanity in your brand now more than ever. Clothing brand, Reformation, specializes in event dressing and has likely been seriously impacted, but they have been vocal in keeping their consumers up to date with store closures, employee payment plans, and distribution center closures across all channels - email, social and on site, ensuring all remain in the loop. They have also been sensitive to the times by asking consumers across how they would prefer to hear from and inquired of government/nonprofits how they can help most effectively. As a result of the crowdsourcing, the company is now utilizing their LA factories for mask production to combat the shortage of medical masks for essential workers. 
No matter what state your business is in during these trying times, connecting with your consumers on a personal and sensitive level, can be the fuel that keeps your brand relevant and top of mind so that when we all emerge on the other side, you will have gained brand loyalty that will carry on.

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