3 ways to boost brand loyalty during COVID-19

One side effect from the COVID-19 crisis is that the pandemic has encouraged loyalty purchases as consumers try to protect their favourite brands from the COVID storm. But in many ways, the current situation has simply accelerated an existing trend towards emotional loyalty between brands and their audience.

Smart businesses have known for a long time that an overt product placement ad no longer sways the modern consumer. Brand loyalty within the consumer products and retail industries has evolved – from standard, transactional promotions to emotional campaigns organised around concepts such as health, diversity, sustainability and a commitment to shared values. COVID-19 has expedited these trends by placing renewed emphasis on consumer engagement, solving societal problems and finding purpose. Here are three steps brands can take to create deeper, more emotional connections with the consumer!

Communicate, don’t sell

COVID-19 has disrupted everyday life for billions of people around the world. In this landscape, people aren’t just shopping for products — they are looking for solutions. Brands that serve a purpose are the ones that will stand out and ultimately win the consumer. With 76% of consumers reporting that ethical considerations drive their purchasing decisions more than perceptions of corporate competency, demonstrating to your audience that you are socially aware is likely to boost conversions alongside brand sentiment.

This is where Influencer Marketing steps in. Influencers are professional content creators — they know their communities and know exactly how to communicate in a way that resonates. Through a strong integration of products/services in different contexts, they present them as authentic and accessible to a broad audience. Consumers are brought closer to brands organically by someone they trust. This enables a much stronger, visual and emotional storytelling than a pure product advertisement could ever deliver.

Display your social values

As the world tries to navigate the current situation, there is a strong desire — particularly among Gen Z and Millennials — to ensure that things are “built back better”. 77% of people approve of brands running advertising that shows how they’re responding to coronavirus and helping customers. More broadly, recent research showed that 65% of consumers are mindful to purchase from sustainable brands. Businesses need to connect with the customer by addressing them as citizens first before they address them as consumers by demonstrating an awareness of their concerns, motivations, and values.

Displaying Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can take many forms: Unilever pledged €500m in cashflow relief to support small- and medium-sized suppliers. Adidas is producing 18,000 3D-printed face shields a week for first responders and healthcare professionals in the U.S. Audible isn’t charging for streaming a collection of educational kids’ books. All different responses, but all designed to show their audience that they aren’t sitting back at such an emotional time.

Prioritise innovative engagement

The shift to digital during Covid-19 has raised consumer expectations in terms of personalised interactions. People have little patience for brands that don’t know who they are, what they need, and how they prefer to be served. In this landscape, consumers are gravitating towards companies that demonstrate how well they understand the consumer as an individual and create innovative ways of engaging them.

With so much loss, illness, and restrictions circulating, consumers are going online for a bit of engaging escapism. Brands that can provide this will have consumer attention.  Add gamification challenges to your brand. TikTok & Instagram Reels challenges also gain a lot of traction at the moment. Many consumers have a lot more time on their hands at the moment — make sure it’s engaged with your brand!

For our campaign with MAC Cosmetics, we achieved outstanding results through an influencer activation on TikTok that outperformed all industry standards with views standing at 2.7 billion to date! To plan your TikTok holiday campaign, reach out to our team of experts now.

Brands operating in this landscape must remember that every consumer interaction elicits an emotion. Stress can really amplify consumer responses and reactions — which is why it’s so vital for brands to consider not just how to meet the consumers’ rational needs but connect with them on an emotional level. We are experts in creative storytelling — reach out to us to ensure your strategy hits the right note in these times of heightened awareness.