As lockdown loosens and there’s a rush to predict what lies ahead, take a beat and look behind you. What were the stand-out marketing moments? Who connected best with emotionally-distracted consumers? Which brands left a lasting impression, made a difference and earned precious word-of-mouth? Pausing for thought before accelerating toward recovery is your stress test to determine the most valuable marketing principles that will guide you forward.
Now is the time for connection and authenticity
During confinement, we rejected out-of-touch celebrity platitudes. We tired of brands saying, “We’re in this together” – especially when they didn’t share the sentiment with employees. We failed to connect with campaigns where every COVID-19 ad was exactly the same because they felt like awkward AI attempts at humanity. The brands that showed up successfully during the crisis closed the gap between saying and doing. They earned our attention, shares, likes and made genuine connections.
How to connect with consumers for a bright future
The future of your business rests in the hands of your customers. To weather the storm ahead, you’ll need them on your side. Here’s how to connect with customers now to strengthen your brand for the future:
Reach out to foster meaningful connections
In an increasingly direct-to-consumer marketplace, brand relationships are changing. Marketers must earn attention and affection through connection – at every touchpoint, on every channel. Leave no stone unturned.
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Preach and live by your brand’s values to earn consumers’ trust and dollars
The Edelman Earned Brand study reveals that 64 per cent of consumers now buy on belief. Shared values matter. Buying isn’t enough. People want to buy into brands – what they stand for, what they say, and how they act.
Focus on the 5 Cs of connection
Prioritize these five things to form meaningful connections with consumers:
- Content: Think of it as an extension of your brand that you can use to engage customers across your channels.
- Context: Tap into the right moment in the right environment to tug on consumers’ heart strings.
- Collaboration: Define clear reasons for customers to share your enthusiasm.
- Community: Your vibe attracts your tribe. Form or join groups of like-minded individuals with common values and interests to bolster your brand.
- Customer Experience (CX): Ensure you deliver differentiation consistently across your channels.
Seek out inspiration
If you can’t imagine meaningful ways to connect, look to your competitors for a little inspiration. We’re inspired by these authentic brands who know how to close the gap between what they say and do:
- IKEA launched six instruction manuals for building blanket forts using household items. Understanding what every parent needs to keep kids entertained in lockdown, the furniture retailer combined customer experience design (CXD) with context, and names like CÄSTLE and CÅVE, for an on-brand win.
- Glossier has all the feels with its hand cream launch. Keeping community and context in mind, the brand donated the first 10,000 units to the hands that need it most: Healthcare professionals.
- With jigsaw puzzles having a moment of resurgence during lockdown, Heinz combined content with context and created the world’s most difficult puzzle. The 570-piece ketchup jigsaw is all identical Heinz red, and it’s an interactive reminder that reinforces the brand’s point of difference.
Amplify and enhance your message with direct mail
In an ecosystem where marketing, CX and shopping converge, brands and consumers are more closely connected. In response, direct channels go beyond the call-to-action to attract attention and create meaningful connections. Brands that recognize this are being rewarded with increased attention and affection.
Direct channels are well suited to amplify earned and owned media – plus create community influence. Direct mail is a fully-customizable channel that can deliver content, shopping, customer service, engagement and personalization. It can be used to enhance customer experience, fill gaps and reduce friction.
Treat direct mail as content and you’ll get more from it. Use it to increase the value and impact of your digital content, generate positive word-of-mouth, leverage socially-generated reviews, amplify peer-to-peer influence and enhance brand experiences.
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