How to Maintain a Relationship with Your Brand and Audience

By Colby Rutledge

During these current times, building and maintaining a relationship between the brand you represent and the audience that supports is becoming tough. Especially if you want to support something people part of your brand are really invested in. Issues, such as social justice, or other serious issues, are something that some may be hesitant supporting. The best PR examples I have found are the PR teams that represent the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks, and the PR team that represents the WNBA as a whole. 

To deal with making sure their players’ voices were heard while also making sure not to drive away fan interest, the WNBA PR teams, which includes 12 teams in the WNBA, showed support for players while educating fans who are interested in the issues that players are discussing on and off the court. The way they did this was by allowing a platform for the players’ voices with teams like the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks advocating for change with posts to bring light to the issues. 

Photo and post by Seattle Storm from Instagram 

One of the biggest PR campaigns this year that got WNBA fans and basketball fans very interested was the Social Justice Auction by the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, which promoted auctioning off items such as signed jerseys and memorabilia by the Seattle Storm, with the proceeds going towards the fight for social justice. This was a motion brought forward by the Storm’s Force4Change campaign that started in July, and the Instagram post that went with this gained over 1,200 likes on the Seattle Storm’s Instagram, with all positive comments. 

Another thing that your brand and audience will support is to be behind a message that is easy to follow and that has a clear message. The Los Angeles Sparks helped emphasize the WNBA’s vote campaign that provided a clear message with their Twitter page highlighting the caption.

“Voting makes us stronger and we’re with you…..every vote matters. Democracy is a team sport! #TheAllianceLA’’ 

Video and post by LASparks from Twitter 

This social media post by the Los Angeles Sparks team garnered 49 likes and over 1,000 views for their video in just a six-hour span. It was one of the many ways that the WNBA and their teams got their point across, and still kept their high volume of fans interested and liking their product.

Photo by Yahoo Sports and post by Chicago Sky from Twitter 

Another key thing to remember when it comes to maintaining the relationship with your brand and your audience is to make sure to respond the right way if someone criticizes what your brand is, or its message that it is presenting. A case in point with the WNBA is during their peaceful protest of racial injustice in which they were criticized harshly by Atlanta Dream co-owner and Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler for their peaceful protests prior to the WNBA game’s start time. Instead of getting upset, all of the WNBA teams created social media posts about it, like the Chicago Sky’s Twitter page using the Twitter caption of “ Don’t boo…Vote” with the hashtag “#Vote2020,’’. 

With those posts, all of the WNBA teams also showed support to one of Loeffler’s political opponents this election season, Atlanta pastor and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock. This post resulted in over 8,000 likes’, and over 1,000 people tweeting about it, creating a positive conversation on the issue. 

Photo and post by the WNBA  from Facebook

The final point in how to maintain a relationship between your brand and your audience is to show that the head of your brand supports people that are most important to their brand, and address someone who is trying to bring harm to your brand in a calm way, using something like a statement. This example, a statement by WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Kelly Loeffler’s comments regarding the player’s platform, highlights that it’s best to fight criticism with support of the people that best represent your brand, because that makes them want to stick up for you when you need support. 

Just to show how the WNBA’s practices worked, according to SB Nation “…the 2020 WNBA Finals between Seattle Storm Las Vegas Aces had 15% more viewers than the 2019 Finals between the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun,” (Albert Lee, SB Nation). I think this is proof of how to use these great practices to your advantage, because this rating hike for the WNBA Finals was higher than the NFL regular season, MLB regular season and the Stanley Cup Finals. 

5 Creative Tools to Help You Design

By Jessie Chen

As we continue to experience the pandemic,it’s important to sharpen our tools. We all have tools that help us get through the day, as a mechanic has their tools, teachers with their educational tools, and we designers have tools too! So let’s go ahead and immerse ourselves into some design tools, because it may help you solve a creative issue. 

“Buckle up and get ready to make digital art at the speed of thought!” – Rob Hooks

Some of you may think these tools are common and you already know them, but we all can learn something new everyday. Now these are some varying tools that may not apply to everyone, but they all have their purpose in the creative field. 

  1. Adobe Capture

Adobe Capture is a great tool. It is a mobile application that is on both Android 

and Apple stores. It’s a really great tool for any designer, whether you’re 

freelancing or with an agency. Some perks are that it can help you figure out what kind of font your client is using, but they might not know off the top of their head. Or, the client didn’t receive it from a previous request from another designer, who didn’t include extra details like fonts and color. Adobe Capture brings up the most closely related font or that exact font. Another helpful tool within this application is the color option. Simply move your camera to your desired spot and it’ll pick out colors that work well together from your camera shot. You can move around the camera, as you move you’ll see at the top of your device the colors change accordingly. It will not set the color until you hit the capture button. There are many other functions within this application, but these are the ones that I found most helpful.

  1. Adobe Color

Adobe Color is a browser application that is really simple to use. You pick a color that you want to use as your main color out of the many options like analogous, monochromatic, or complementary colors, and many more. It’s great for creating your color palettes or helps if you are having trouble creating them! 

  1. Unsplash, Pexels, Pixabay.com

These websites are great to use if you happen to need a photo of professional 

quality and is non-copyright! They’re fabulous websites to check out if you’re in need of filler photos or free photo usage with your designs or websites or layouts.

  1. Behance

Behance is another great website. You can showcase your work or see other 

people’s work. It’s also a place to gain inspiration from in case you happen to hit a mental block and can’t seem to get any concepts out. Additionally, you can join in on conversations on other people’s creative work. Behance is a really a place of opportunity to explore and talk to other designers as well!

  1. Dafont

This website is resourceful for getting fonts or trying out new fonts for your 

creative projects! This site includes both paid and free fonts available for download. You can filter them out to get only free fonts, or however you want to filter out the font selections.

These are some of the creative tools that can help a lot in your projects. Check out the links below to find more tools to use. Also, these tools are optional, you don’t need all of them to be successful!

The 20 best graphic design tools recommended by top digital artists – 99designs

Harry Potter unarmed is a great wizard. But armed with his phoenix feathered holly wood wand, he’s the G.O.A.T! You too may be a very talented graphic designer or digital artist, but by using the right tools the force of your talent can be multiplied exponentially.

15 Tools And Apps Every Graphic Designer Should Have In 2020

The modern era is ruled by technology and internet. Content too has changed form and ideas are now mostly shared through short graphic clips and compelling logo designs. No wonder then that the graphic designer are having a field day. Their job has definitely become more complicated with the customer’s becoming choosier and the competition on all time high.

Four Pro Tips for Running a Successful Business

By Tarah Johnson

Anyone is capable of starting a business. It consists of basic fundamentals such as selling a product, profit from that product, hiring employees and balancing their compensation. It takes strategic planning and hard work, though, to successfully run a business. More and more businesses fueled with innovative, creative ideas are being created each day, with people eager to fulfill a position. While running a business seems straightforward enough, it takes time, effort and dedication to run a business that creates profit, is ethical, fair and won’t shut down. With us still in the midst of a pandemic, many businesses have been forced to close their doors due to a failing economy and other circumstances.

According to HubSpot, in the United States roughly 9% of businesses both new and old close each year. On the flip side, only 8% are opened.

The point is that it takes courage, drive and responsibility to not only open a business, but possess the necessary skills to keep it running successfully. Here are some tips to start your journey and learn how to actively run a great business:

  1. Draft a business plan

One of the more essential steps into running a successful business is having a clear, laid out plan of what you’re hoping to accomplish, goals, general thoughts and ideas. This is an important document that needs to be shared with stakeholders, and it’ll also lead you to be more organized and have a clear vision of the path you want to take. In our current digital age, drafting a business plan is easier than ever, with templates, formats and examples across the web.

  1. Set Revenue and Profitability Goals

In order for a business to succeed, it needs to generate enough money to sustain operations, pay employees, and eventually make a profit for future investments. You’d be surprised at the amount of money that needs to be allocated for a system to run smoothly, including staffing, sourcing, production, capital and more. This would be the opportunity to review your business’s pricing structure and see what needs adjustments. Is your product priced correctly? How much revenue needs to be brought in quarterly, monthly and annually? What quantity needs to be sold in order to reach your profitability goals? Document these answers clearly so you know what to do.

  1. Hire The Right Employees

You’ve worked hard to create a business unique to you, so you definitely want to have a team that reflects you and your company’s values. Additionally, making sure these employees are also trustworthy, driven, dedicated, hardworking and intelligent are essential as well. Don’t build any ordinary team- build a super team, one that you’re proud of and consistently delivers good results. Surround yourself with experts in things you are not. Ask for their input/feedback, and involve them in decisions that affect them as well as your business. When you win, you all win.

  1. Focus on the Customer Experience

Last but certainly not least, hone in on your business’s customer experience and the impact you want to leave on your customer. Your business is nothing without customers and valued buyers, so make sure you’re treating them as such and make their experience a great one. Their time with your business affects the way your brand is perceived, so be ready to deliver what the people want. 

Running a business isn’t an easy process, and running a successful business is even harder. It takes time, effort, money, commitment, planning, and a willingness to constantly learn from yourself and others to improve. If you follow these tips, though, it’ll lead you to the right path of figuring out where to start, and how to maintain that trajectory as you navigate your business endeavors. 

Resume Tips for Remote Work

By Breanna Cota

This year has thrown many challenges our way, but it’s important to make sure you are keeping your resume updated and relevant for new job opportunities. Many students and recent graduates are learning how to juggle the new challenges of both learning and working. 

Students are attending most of their courses online and are learning from the many challenges remote learning causes. Individuals who are job hunting will find many careers have moved to the digital space and they must revamp their resume to show how they have accommodated to new challenges

Many tasks you perform at home help keep you organized and productive, yet they are not listed on resumes. Here are some tips from FlexJobs.com to help showcase how you’re working from home and learning from home. These experiences can help build your resume as well as create a competitive advantage. 

1.Show self reliance and motivation

Working on your own helps show potential employers that you are self sufficient and can be relied on. When you are at home, you may be able to take charge of creating your own schedule, but for some a set Monday-Friday schedule is the way to go. Whichever way works best for you, listing your experience with working on tasks on your own can be seen as a strength for future opportunities.  

2. List programs you are familiar with

Many meetings and events are now held in a virtual space. Listing your familiarity with programs such as Zoom, Google Chat and Dropbox shows that you are capable of working in collaborations from remote locations.

Other programs such as Microsoft Office or Google Suite should also be listed. Many of these office programs are used in physical offices as well as by teams remotely. Showing you have prior experience with such programs gives you an advantage.

3. No WFH experience?

If you have no WFH experience, there are still plenty of opportunities to show how prior tasks and challenges were met in a communal work environment. You can let employers know how you will use your prior knowledge and experience to tackle the challenge of working from home.

Many students have spent countless hours working with programs such as Excel, Word or Google Suite. Showcasing how you used Excel to track projects or Google Suite to communicate with team members on projects can let employers know you have strong communication skills.

Betsy Adrews of FlexJobs states, “While remote-friendly employers will consider an applicant that has never worked remotely before, it’s always a good idea for an applicant that has remote experience to highlight this in their resume as it may ‘give them a leg up.” 

The most difficult part of working remotely is being in charge of yourself. Your boss can’t walk around the office and check on your progress if you are working remotely. It is your responsibility to make sure you are organized and efficient. Without good communication skills and self efficiency, working from a remote location could be a challenge. 

Behind every strong resume is a potential employee eager and ready to rise to the challenge. It is important to make sure your resume is always up to date and filled with relevant information. It’s recommended that you revisit and refresh your resume twice a year.

How to succeed in a virtual internship

By Lexi Kornblum

No one could have expected the rapid and staggering changes that have occurred in 2020. While it has been difficult, we’ve all adapted our practices and we’re moving forward. Now, remote working is more plentiful than ever, and it’s not quite the same as in-office work. 

Getting an internship is a crucial step in the career process for college students and recent graduates alike. Internship can give you experience in your chosen field, and help you network for the future. Approximately 60% of employers are planning to offer virtual internships in the coming months, so taking the time beforehand to prepare yourself is key.

“Virtual internships are a great experience, and while they present some unique challenges, they give you flexibility and they’re great preparation for the real world.” – Dani Moritz

Here are some tips to help you thrive in your virtual internship:

Communication is key:

Having good communication is absolutely vital to succeeding in a remote work environment. Sending emails, setting Zoom meetings and using Google calendars are going to be your bread and butter for the upcoming months. Keep in mind that each company already has their own communication system, like using Microsoft Outlook or Google, and you should adjust to it as quickly as you can. Having strong communication skills benefits both yourself and your employer, and learning these systems quickly in a remote world is critical to your success.

Focus on learning

An internship is an opportunity to test your skills in a professional setting. This is your time to learn and grow in your field, and it’s important to take advantage of that. Remember that you’re always learning, and this internship is a fantastic opportunity to gain knowledge from industry professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or present new ideas— it’s all part of the process! 

Plan & organize your days

It’s a fast-paced world these days, and it’s more important than ever to plan and organize your work days. Tehama Group Communications has a full blog on staying organized during virtual life, and it’s a great read! Find a system that works for you. Whether that’s using pen and paper planners, or a virtual calendar and phone alarm system, it’s crucial to have a way of organizing your responsibilities. It’s entirely possible that you’re still going to school full-time and working on an internship, in which it’s even more important that you have your organizational system in place. Once you find your system, stick to it and make it work for you.

Be proactive

It’s a good idea in any internship to take the initiative on projects, and show dedication to your work. In a virtual internship, it’s absolutely vital that you be proactive in your work. It can be easy to fade into the background in a remote workplace— you can always turn your camera or microphone off during meetings. By being proactive and joining the conversation, adding your ideas or offering your expertise on a project, it shows that you’re active and engaged with the company. Proactivity is a great way to show your employer just how enthusiastic you are about the work.

Build relationships

An internship is the perfect opportunity to build your professional network. You’ll be working in your chosen field alongside your coworkers and peers, and they really do want to help you! Ask questions and engage in conversation with your fellow employees. Taking the time outside of mandatory training or meetings to make connections with your peers shows that you’re invested in your growth and willing to step out of your comfort zone. People will remember you years from now if you play your cards right, and that can help with job opportunities, earned media for your company, and more. 

While internships can seem like a daunting step in your career, but they’re really just an incredible opportunity for self-growth and gaining professional experience. You will always learn something new from a virtual internship, so it’s important to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, and keep your mind open to the new experience. And lastly, remember to enjoy your virtual internship and all it has to offer!

Optimizing Your Productivity While Working From Home

By Jamie Kolnes

Ways to make the best use of your time while working remotely.

As we adjust to our new normal amidst the pandemic, our routines need to change. Just because many aspects of our lives feel out of control, doesn’t mean we settle for complete chaos. There are routines and tricks available, in order to condition ourselves into being as productive as possible. Your time is valuable, arguably now more than ever, and creating plans to optimize it can help with a multitude of different aspects in your life. For example, beaumont.org says time management can help with stress management, better sleep, and even being more productive at work. Here are some tips that can help you get started right away. 

Tip 1: Stay Organized

Staying organized is huge when it comes to optimizing your time in a day. When you are organized, there is less time spent thinking about the tasks and objects hanging over you. Knowing where vital objects to your work day are saves precious time and helps tasks get completed at a much faster rate. Your whole day becomes more efficient when you don’t have to spend time finding everyday objects. A great way to maintain an organized state is to hold yourself accountable. Put incentives in place, whether it’s a break to spend time on a hobby, or a treat for yourself. 

Tip 2: Rest Is Important

Making sure that you are well rested is vital to having a productive day at work. In fact, The National Sleep Foundation claims that “Making sleep a priority may advance your career.” There are so many benefits to prioritizing giving your body the rest it needs. Especially when you can argue that it’s good for your work performance. In fact, sleep deprivation causes American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. Sleep can help you put your best foot forward during the day, and not spend more time on tasks than needed. It’ll also help prevent burnout, and help you enjoy your job more. Having ample rest also improves things like your memory, decision making skills, and, of course, focus.

Tip 3: Create a Schedule

Procrastination is a huge silent killer of productivity. Even though it’s easy to get away with, it leaves you feeling unaccomplished and stressed. Completing tasks early gives you a sense of accomplishment and drives you to do the same in the future. Creating a schedule for yourself each day, with a to-do list of tasks to get done helps. Rank your tasks from most urgent and important to least. It’ll seem less daunting to make the last few tasks “optional.”   Even if only the most important tasks get completed that day, you’ll still feel accomplished. 

Tip 4: Create a Work Specific Zone

Creating a work specific zone has been a common tip for a lot of us working from home. Just like having a specific place in our homes to eat and sleep, having one to stay focused and “work-minded,” helps with productivity and therefore optimizes the time you have in a day. If you do not have an entire room to dedicate to your work, pick an area of a room, and set it up for each day. Keeping all of your work gear in the same area makes for an easy commute and set up. Pick a quiet, well-lit area that is easy to walk away from a few times a day. Try not to do things like take naps or eat meals at the same place you work. 

I hope you’re able to take a few tips away today and implement them into your own life. They might help you even more than you think. For more useful blogs about working in the public relations field, visit the Tehama Group Communications website.

Keeping your customers at the forefront during a brand refresh

By Claire Bang

Consumers are being constantly bombarded with ads and messaging from all sorts of companies. Giving your brand a refresh can make your company stand out amongst the competition and allows you to truly hone in on what you want your customers to consider about your company. Full rebrands are a lengthy process whereas a brand refresh only requires some market research and competitor analysis.

According to Stephen Peate from Fabrik “a good brand refresh strategy requires less risk than a total overhaul, and it can still get you the results you need.”

Keep in mind that every brand is different and although some may still require an entire brand overhaul, most brands can benefit from some minor changes to help them provide better content. Here are some simple changes your company can make to rejuvenate your brand without losing loyal customers.

  • Test out new marketing channels

Many brands have experienced success in reaching new markets by using one of the latest social media hits, TikTok. Brands like the U.S. Open Tennis Championships have reached new target markets than they’ve previously had before like millennials and Generation Z. Using sounds that are trending on the app has landed their videos on many users “For You” pages numerous times.

Small businesses have seen positive results on the app as well. Both users who were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic and existing small companies have used the platform to create business for themselves during these tough times. People like The Carpet Repair Guy have created entertaining content drawing in large followings who just watch him repair people’s carpets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Stop requiring your customer service team to use copy-and-paste responses

When being responded to by a customer service team, template-based messages are preferred by consumers over copy-and-paste responses. After all, if your customer is talking to a human, it should feel like they’re talking to a human and not a robot. 

The human connection that a consumer makes with a representative of a company can really determine how they view the company, and how they talk about the company to others as well. 

When I used to chat with other customers online for the company I used to work for, they really emphasized the importance of being yourself. They encouraged the use of emojis and exclamation points, when they were appropriate, and I believe many customers seemed more comfortable during conversations because of that.

  • Give your online visuals a refresh

You can easily put your company at the forefront by making small changes to the visuals that customers see, bringing them up-to-date with new trends.

Start by deleting anything that is outdated and a customer would have no reason to look at anymore (psst… it’s taking up valuable space on your page). Content like old Instagram highlights and website content that is irrelevant to where your brand is now is included in this.

Your brand can also change specific design elements and colors in your visuals unless those elements accurately define your company to your consumers. Keep in mind that even well known companies have taken simpler, modern approaches with elements, like their logo, that define their company and have had immense success with it.

  • Refine your messaging 

It’s ultimately a company’s choice to decide where they want to stand on relevant issues occurring nationally and there is one company I immediately think of who has made that loud and clear. Ben and Jerry’s.

Ben and Jerry’s had publicly stated over four years ago their stance in regard to the Black Lives Matter movement. To this very moment, they have continued showing their support on so many topics both on their Instagram and with its own dedicated “values” tab on their website.

Make sure the audience you desire is the audience you are actually targeting with the content you put out through these marketing channels. The messaging, voice and tone all decide who the audience is that you reach and how you reach them.

There are so many resources out there that provide even more insightful information on ways to continue improving your brand and its image. Remember that these changes don’t need to happen all at once and can be slowly integrated into the existing work that your brand does. 

At the end of the day, every decision should begin and end with what the customer thinks and wants. Brands exist for the customer and any work done should be based on customer or research feedback otherwise companies are only changing for themselves.

Making Video Content During the Pandemic

By Jacquelyn Martinusen

As we navigate through this global pandemic, it is important to remember that content can still be made safely, even video content. While traditional video content isn’t safe to do during this time, video content can still be made from a safe distance or at home. Videos are an excellent way to get personal with your audience, and now is not the time to distance yourself from your audience. Virtual content is where everyone is getting their information from companies, and online video content can make your brand more noticeable and more engaged with your audience. 

Here are some tips to help you continue to make video content during this time. 

1. Adapt to the times 

Everyone understands how difficult this time is, and it is important to know that your audience knows that it is a challenge to make content. However, this is not the time to stop making amazing video content for your business, client or your personal use. Video content can be made easily even through social distancing restrictions. 

2. Use what you have 

For the most part, video content can be made, and made well, from your smartphone or tablet. Using those devices gives you a range of options to make videos. The cameras on most smartphones are equivalent to what some DSLR or larger cameras have (while it cannot replace an actual camera, it is an excellent swap in a pinch). I would recommend always shooting horizontally, however, vertical videos have gotten relatively popular lately with TikTok and music videos going in that direction. 

Shooting video content from home doesn’t mean you need to abandon your creative ideas. When it comes to extremely visual content, like a video made with a lot of special effects, big sets, etc., Hannah Welever, founder of the boutique production company Good Trouble Films said “either let the idea go or look for alternate routes to realize it.” It is important to pivot when necessary or figure out a way to do your idea. If there is a will, there is a way to make even the most outlandish ideas work while keeping safe during this pandemic. 

You must focus both on creative ideas and practicality. Video content can still be awesome and impactful, but also be made with things easily found around the house or a local store. Don’t rely on shipping products (as those restrictions can be harsh), or shooting on a location that is full of people, since that is not the safest place to be right now. 

3. Learn new things 

You must learn how to make video content during a pandemic work for you. Welever said “quarantine collaboration is definitely forcing some creative workarounds’” but the content is still being made and it is working out well. It can seem daunting filming and creating video content on your own. However, there are lots of free or easily accessible courses online to help you learn more about video making. I recommend checking a couple of them out, like using LinkedIn Learning or Hootsuite to broaden your video making portfolio. New skills can be learned at any time, and now more than ever it is important to learn how to continue making video content for your audience.

How to Grab Attention with Photos

By Jordyn Moore

When you look at an advertisement, what’s the first thing you look at: the caption or the photo?

You only have seconds for your photo to get noticed. Whether you’re posting an advertisement for your brand or a photo for your own personal social media, that initial impression will decide if a user is interested in you or your product. Regardless, the better the photo quality, the higher chance of engagement. The most important main areas to focus on are lighting and your background setup. 

Lighting can either make or break your photo. There are so many aspects regarding direction, harshness and color temperature that can create an aesthetic to accurately capture your brand. 

For traditional product photography, you are going to want to light the subject in a way that looks appealing. If you are shooting for a clothing brand, soft lighting typically looks best. Soft lighting is when your subject has barely any shadows. This technique is also great when used on people if you’re going for a naturally flawless look. The soft lighting takes out any noticeable imperfections, unlike harsh lighting. To achieve soft lighting, avoid taking your photos in direct light. Stick to shaded areas or shoot with the sun behind you. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If an edgier look suits your brand better, use harsh lighting. Harsh lighting is when you have dramatic and distinct shadow cut-offs. For example, you would use harsh lighting in a gym or fitness related photoshoot because the harsh shadow lines help accentuate the body’s shape. To get the edgy look from harsh lighting, you will need a smaller light source to hit the sides of your subject. Play with your small light setup to see what shadows look best.

Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

A well-lit subject is great, but falls short when it lacks an interesting setup. Backgrounds can make a huge difference in a photo because they will help your product stand out on your feed. The worst thing to do is to have a dirty and boring background. Instead, try pops of color, or textured brick walls, or even plants. Don’t be afraid to stage a scene that goes along with the theme of your product. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Visually, a photo can tell you so much about something within seconds. If the subject is a person, how are they dressed? Are they in a fancy outfit, does it look expensive, does it make them look like an important figure? If something looks important, whether it is or not, people will still shift their attention to it. Just by correctly lighting your project and creating a balanced and aesthetically pleasing background, your photos will gain more attention.

Learning to stay authentic with your consumers during a pandemic

By Grace Gilani

As the world and everyone in it begins to adjust to this “new normal,” brands need to remember exactly who their audience is, and how they can stay true to not only themselves as a company,  but to their loyal customers. A brand that they have without a doubt worked tirelessly on to build from the beginning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, audiences alike have seen brands stray from their key messages, oftentimes to stay up on current issues, and continue to be relevant. An example of this would be a clothing brand posting an article or a blog post about new technological advances concerning the pandemic. Not only does this brand have no business discussing this topic, but their audience also is not there to hear their opinion on technology; they’re there to hear about the latest fashions. 

“When people are presented with a reduced choice of service, previous experience comes into play and we tend to stay loyal to brands that gave us value in the past,” Alun Davies said.

During these unprecedented times, it is understandable that some companies may be struggling with how they can help or get involved. Here are some tips as to how your brand can use the right voice and messaging to keep their audiences engaged and safe through the pandemic.

1.     Create a relationship with your consumers 

I bet we can all relate to coming in contact with a robot when your intention was to talk to a live human being, and this hasn’t changed during COVID 19. Consumers want to feel like they can have a relationship with customer service, a human voice, that they relate to and be friendly with.  

By doing this, this cuts out the anxiety a customer might be feeling regarding the pandemic. More often than not, your consumers will notice that your brand values their business more than another company who simply dealt with them at their convenience.

2. Stay true to yourself and your brand 

It’s no shock that this pandemic has lasted much longer than anyone had originally anticipated, and therefore, brands will need to stick to what they know, because it’s worked so far! 

Obviously moving marketing and everything else online was stressful, however, you shouldn’t have to change what your brand represents or who it is tailored towards just to stay relevant. You want your customers to really feel like they know what your brand is about, and that through thick and thin, you will be the one thing in their life that stays consistent. 

A perfect example of straying from your core message and confusing your audience is the commercial for Progressive Insurance that was released during the beginning of the pandemic. The ad featured all the well-known Progressive characters, but the brand had strayed from their core message. If you were unaware who Flo and Jamie were, you would have no idea that they were trying to sell you car insurance. This is a perfect example because Progressive simply wanted to catch the trend before everyone else. 

My advice is, don’t change who you are just because of this “new normal.” Eventually, this time we have spent cooped up in our homes will have ended, and at the end of the day, do you want to change your marketing strategy AGAIN to fit back into the normal (post-COVID) world? 

3. Learn together with your customers

Finally, and most importantly, come together with your audience to hear what they have to say. You could think a campaign you put together was the best you’ve ever made, when some of your consumers could feel as if you missed the mark. I believe that in this predominantly digital age it is normal to get feedback, and adjust your strategy like that. You can let your audience have a say while still upholding your beliefs and values.