Written by: Shalini Singh
About the author: Chief-Corporate Communications, Sustainability & CSR at Tata Power | Woman Director | TEDx Speaker | Passion for Social & Green Causes!
When a humanitarian crisis like the Corona virus pandemic hit, it was easy to be scared of the future. But, as they say that nothing in life should be feared but understood and when it comes to consumer engagement, this is what brands need to remember. Brands need to be fearless and empathetic in the way they engage with consumers and earn their trust. By showing that they care for their consumers and employees even in this time of crisis, a brand ensures a permanent position in the consumers hearts long after the pandemic. Around two-thirds of consumers say that brand response to the pandemic will have a ‘huge impact’ on their likelihood of purchasing the same brand’s products and services in the future, a recent Edelman Trust Barometer revealed. While we focus on the response bit, we must also understand that brand messaging has never been more important. Here are a few strategies that brands need to focus on to build trust and sustain it.
Assurance on security
When a company protects the well being and financial security of their employees, despite suffering big financial losses, it gains greater trust of consumers. Fifty-two per cent of respondents in the survey said that brands ‘must’ do this to earn or keep their trust, while 38 percent said that they ‘hoped’ brands would secure employees financial future during a crisis. A little appreciation can also make a big difference to all the employees who are burning the midnight oil during difficult times.
To boost employee morale and to encourage selfless action Tata Power recognized the “Corona Warriors” within and launched a series of videos celebrating them. Our frontline heroes were celebrated in the AV and the operations teams of our various power plants across the country were showcased in it. The campaign was further extended by launching a small series on “Corona Warriors” covering 8 episodes, with each episode acknowledging the scores of corona warriors in the various units of Tata Power across the country
Innovation and Adaptability
One of the best ways to engage with consumers during a crisis is to rise to the occasion and provide essential low-priced products that help consumers meet the challenges of a pandemic. These products can serve as a boon to healthcare works and other high-risk individuals.
This was the decisive point behind the launch of Saheli World by Tata Power, an online e-commerce platform, specialised in handicrafts from rural women entrepreneurs. The product line was also expanded to include COVID essentials to meet the demands of the current times. We also challenged our consumers to make a mask and gift it to someone to help embrace the new normal together.
Changing communication narrative
It is important to adapt the communication narrative according to context. Amongst the ads that were created during this time, the ones that consumers strongly related to tended to focus on advocating and thanking communities and groups most affected by COVID-19, such as healthcare workers. They had very minimal focused product messaging and gained audience’s attention quickly. On the other hand, ads that instruct viewers in the ways that they can still interact with the brand and their products during the pandemic tended to not only be less emotionally engaging, but also attracted lower scores for more rational metrics such as purchase intent and intent to find out more.
At Tata Power, we reaffirmed our commitment to empowering the nation through our #YouHaveThePower campaign. It was a reminder that all of us have the power in us to help serve the country.
Empowering, Authentic campaigns
In Japan, Google’s ‘Thank You’ campaign has been ranked the most emotionally engaging corona virus campaign in the world, an analysis by Unruly reported. This shows that emotionally-engaging informative communication at this time on how products and services can help people cope with pandemic-related life challenges can make a big difference. Three times more emotional than the average Japanese ad, this ad scored the highest in terms of brand favourability and purchase intent. It performed strongly because the whole ad comprised footage shot on mobile phones with captures from video calls, which created an aura of authenticity and amplified the sense of empowerment generated by the video’s structure and content. This was illustrated in the results as 83% of viewers considered Google to be an empowering brand after watching the ad — 34% higher than the Japanese average.
If experts are to be believed, the corona virus pandemic is not going to end anytime soon. However, since the show must go on, we need to be focus on creating more innovative and emotional campaigns that seem relatable. Context has always been important for communication with consumers but now we need to focus on the different strategies to build a more sustainable campaign with all our consumers.