In the first two posts of our three-part Branding During Times of Crisis series, we covered the importance of relying on your brand foundations to guide decision-making and staying connected with your audience to understand their shifting needs. If you’ve done those two things, you’re well on your way to building a brand that can overcome any obstacle. But before you’re done, it’s essential to consider how to turn customers into long-term advocates for your brand – both now and in the future.
Right now: Build short-term goodwill
Going back to your brand and your audience, consider additional measures to build goodwill with your current customers and prospects. Think about how your products or services can help them beyond just offering pricing or flexibility.
- Can you offer free consultations?
- Can you move in-person events online to serve as a resource for your audience?
- Can you provide learning opportunities through new short- and long-form content?
Find opportunities where you can go the extra mile to drive brand loyalty
Consider groups or communities that need help during this time. Lending a helping hand now can lay the groundwork for long-lasting relationships.
Staying true to their value of “customer success,” Salesforce launched Salesforce Care to help businesses and industries in need. Through the Salesforce Care initiative, Salesforce provides free services for healthcare organizations to easily connect and engage with their patients, partners and employees. They are also providing free CRM tools to small businesses and manufacturing companies to help businesses better manage sales and communicate with their customers, strengthening their loyalty to Salesforce.
With schools closed, quality education is harder to access. Parents are juggling time between educating their children and their jobs. To help parents, Scholastic went the extra mile to “support parents in cultivating children’s minds” and launched free learning modules for students from pre-K to 9th-grade. These modules include videos, readings and activities designed to help each age group to cultivate thinking the same they would in a school environment.
Add personal touches
Little gestures go a long way. It might seem insignificant, but simplicity can be meaningful. By adding small, personal touches, you can help your audience feel connected to you and to each other. Facebook’s mission is to bring the world closer together. To accomplish this when people have to physically distance themselves, Facebook added a “hug” emoticon to bring people closer emotionally.
Down the road: Establish a long-term brand loyalty strategy
Shared experiences bring people closer together. As difficult as the current situation is, there is no doubt that we will come out of this closer to our community partners and customers.
As we return to a new normal, efforts to connect with customers shouldn’t stop. Continue to foster the relationships you’ve created and position yourself as a strategic partner. Thank and acknowledge the customers who stayed with you through the rough patches, and reach out and maintain the connections you’ve created with new prospects. You know more about your brand, your customers and your market than you ever did before.
Take learnings from this experience to build a customer loyalty and client retention program. If you took steps during the pandemic that helped increase loyalty, consider using that as a foundation for a formalized customer retention strategy. Keep up with your customers by scheduling touchpoints to check in with them, and provide value through thoughtful content or special orders.
By building short-term goodwill with your customers, followed by a formal brand loyalty program, you’ll be better prepared to retain customers now, while turning them into lifelong advocates for your brand.
If you need guidance on building a brand foundation, understanding your audience, building brand loyalty, or refining your brand strategy, Walker Sands is here to help. Get in touch with our experts here or request a free branding audit for your B2B company here.