Brands connecting people during social distancing

As we write this article, many people have already felt an impact from coronavirus COVID-19. The world is dealing with this pandemic together, and we’re all working through it one day at a time.

One thing is certain, you’re not alone if you’ve noticed the onslaught of emails from almost every brand known to man. Major brands and small local businesses are communicating their approach to handling the virus and how they’re keeping employees and customers safe.​ Almost 100% of the emails we’ve received convey concern for their customers, local communities and keeping everyone safe—and that’s exactly as it should be.

Oddly enough, this is the time when branding and proper communication matters the most. How you and your business handle situations like this demonstrates to people, not just your customers, what motivates you and your brand. Do you genuinely care about people? That makes a big difference. We all want to believe that we’re in this world together and we’re all here to help each other. Events like this can unify us and make us stronger—as one human race.

While some brands are communicating what they’re doing to keep people safe, other brands are demonstrating how their products and/or services solve some of the various problems that have risen from the crisis. The most common problem is social distancing. In our recent Speaking Human podcast episode, we identified a few brands that have been able to help connect people, even though the world is actively abstaining from in-person socialization.

Do you need to live stream an event or connect with a group of people?
One of the brands we identified in our podcast was Vimeo—a popular video platform and community, with live streaming capabilities. They sent an email earlier this week for those who are pivoting to online conferences. The email reads, “Whether you’re planning an internal all-hands, customer meetup, or an industry conference, virtual events can help you stay connected with your employees and customers, even if you can’t bring them all to the same place. Organizations are rethinking their events strategies and questioning how best to engage their audiences in a world where travel is not advisable or even possible. To help, we published this blog post which covers how to host a virtual event, and everything you need to know about live streaming events flawlessly.” This is a great example of a brand solving a current problem with technology they’ve had available even before this global crisis began.

 

Do you have students who are home and need to continue their education?
Another example we discussed briefly in our podcast is Khan Academy, a nonprofit which provides online learning for students. They sent an email with resources for remote learning. As the world copes with school closures of an unprecedented magnitude, it’s easy to see how this brand is solving a problem for parents, students and educators alike.

Some have said that marketing and branding isn’t necessary in this worldwide crisis. That’s true. What is necessary is letting people know you genuinely care about them. Being cognizant of the virus and how it affects people—not customers—is what’s crucial. Being aware of your fellow human and showing empathy is paramount. This is a trying time for people everywhere and it’s important to remember that lives are in an upheaval. Keep these truths close to heart as you deliver branded messages and you’ll ultimately build real human connections that will carry your business through almost any storm.

 

Feel free to voice your human opinion about how brands have communicated during the crisis.