As the citizens of the world work together to control the spread of COVID-19, many businesses have shifted to fully remote work until the pandemic is under control. Business leaders, managers and CEOs may worry about the impact that remote meetings, shifting market landscapes, and pivoting to primarily digital media advertisements will have on their teams and their organization.
Working from home comes with its own set of challenges for employers, employees, and businesses as a whole. We can’t predict the future, but it seems possible that our digital workplaces are here to stay, at least a few weeks. What better time than now to take a look at your processes and ensure you’re on the right track?
Working from Home Brand Management
Brand management has always been important, but especially so in periods of market volatility. Consumers will form lasting opinions based on brands’ reactions to this pandemic. They’ll ask themselves, “Does your company offer paid sick leave and other benefits to its employees? Are you responding to customer concerns on social channels? Have you been mentioned by any prominent influencers or publications lately? Have you donated money or goods to Covid-19 relief efforts?”
Several companies are doing a great job keeping these customer questions in mind as they move forward with their pandemic brand management strategies.
Starbucks has generated conversation by offering their workers increased pay if they choose to work or paid time off if they choose not to.
Ford Motors has volunteered to assemble face shields and 3d print personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Companies like Crocs and Serta are donating their products to hospitals.
Since each organization has different resources and structures, what they can do for employees and customers during a crisis differs. Regardless, doing what you can to positively build your brand’s reputation is key.
As your team is geographically distant, how do you ensure that they’re working together efficiently to deliver what your customers need and build up your brand reputation?
You need to be human, organized, and responsive. Consistent messaging is key in this increasingly digital world, and you’ll need a team who works together seamlessly, no matter what, to deliver your best social customer experience.
Experiencing the effects of a pandemic and adjusting the way we live our lives accordingly can be anxiety inducing. This is a great time to connect with both your customers and your employees and remind them that we’re all in this together.
Acknowledging the Coronavirus is a must for any brand. Although none of us can see into the future or predict how this situation will turn out, it is important to acknowledge the present and let your customer know you’re adapting and show how the adaptations will affect and protect them.
Employees also need reassurances. They’re worried about their families and if they’ll have an income in a few weeks or months. Employees who feel safe, secure, and cared for through this time will be likely to put their best foot forward during a crisis. Even as they work remote. Happy employees can serve as great brand advocates, while disgruntled ones can do massive damage to the public perception of your brand.
In a video interview with CNBC, entrepreneur Mark Cuban warned against sending employees back to work too soon, both for health and business concerns. He predicted that a brand’s actions at this time could define its perception among the public for decades. Cuban made headlines early on in the Coronavirus news cycle by publicly pledging support to hourly workers and creating a program to sponsor child care for healthcare workers. Cuban stuck his neck out to show his employees he had their backs, in hopes that they would continue to have his.
Cuban was proactive in showing both his customers and his employees that he was on top of the situation and invested in peoples’ wellbeing. In a time where many are concerned about the future, he used this as an opportunity to connect with others and show the human side of his business.
One of the best ways to help your team work effectively is to facilitate effective work. Switching between programs, platforms and different social media sites can lead to distractions. Team members thrive when their responsibilities are clearly laid out and everyone has a distraction free space to communicate openly. Notifications, shared calendars, and frequent check-in calls help keep everyone on track.
Keeping remote workers on track can lead to great experiences that positively impact your relationship with your customers.
CNN recently posted a lighthearted behind-the-scenes video of a reporter reacting to an approaching bison herd that’s been circulating on social channels. Although this type of footage normally would be scrapped, their team decided to share it in hopes of garnering some laughs and positive engagement instead of focusing primarily on the heavy news about the Coronavirus outbreak. Pushing this kind of content over others shows they’re keeping their ear to the ground, like any good reporters, and addressing their audience’s need to reduce stress.
Your team must be able to see the big picture, like CNN did with their video, so the details can come together to create a cohesive brand management strategy. Making the decision to produce and share this video content while working remotely likely required diligent communication and coordination from the editing team. With a clear strategy and processes for clear communication, brands can act just as decisively and quickly. No one can afford to be hesitant when you’re in the middle of a crisis.
Social customer experience tools such as Nuvi Plan & Publish streamline your team’s process - from brainstorming your brand’s messaging to collaborating on content to sending it out on multiple platforms. All of the information is in one place, making it simple for your team to transform ideas into published brand collateral. Allow your team to smoothly work together to execute your brand strategy.
Although circumstances are changing daily, having a brand management strategy, enhanced with an eye towards social customer experience, will allow your brand to adapt quickly.
In addition to stellar internal communication and collaboration, communication with your customers is essential to successful brand management.
While we shift to primarily digital modes of interaction, social media will be a brand's main form of communication with their customers. With each positive experience, a customer is much more likely to demonstrate loyalty behaviors, such as forgiving mistakes your company may make.
This is the banner when I log into my chase account. If I have an issue, guess where I’m going? Social media channels.
But, for example, when your brand receives a number of messages, as it may while customers try to figure out what type of changes to expect from businesses during COVID-19, it can be hard to make sure every customer is heard and necessary questions are addressed. Unfortunately, too many touchpoints with customers fall through the cracks during a crisis because clear channels of communication between remote workers aren’t established and customer concerns aren’t addressed.
Developing a strong relationship with customers through consistent, customer-centric communication will go a long way toward making sure your customers have a positive perception of you. In fact, efficient communication between organizations and customers can help turn happy customers into brand advocates as Christopher Ranch learned.
A few years ago, Christopher Ranch found themselves in an unexpected crisis. A docuseries claimed they were using bad quality and safety practices. The organization, who had previously not been on social media, found that their brand reputation was seriously suffering. Since Christopher Ranch had been unable to share their story, people took the docuseries’ account as the truth.
To manage the crisis, they set out to repair their brand reputation with Nuvi’s social customer experience solutions. With solutions like Nuvi Engage, they were able to talk directly with their audience and share their side of the story. After months of work, Ken Christopher, the Executive Vice President, said this of the experience:
”We learned the hard way that false information can spread like wildfire. We use Nuvi to analyze conversations in real time and address concerns to turn customers that may have had an adversarial approach into advocates for our brand...We have a great story to tell, and for the first time we have the tools to build and manage an effective social media campaign necessary to tell that story. And that’s thanks to Nuvi.”
Like any challenge, the important part is how you react to it - from the customers’ impression, to the brand strategy, to the implementation by your employees. Keeping your remote employees working together efficiently builds the foundation for your company to succeed.
Give your employees a platform that will enable them to do their best work, so they can help your business stay strong.