Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Home Is Where the Heart Is: Tips for Effectively (and Sensitively) Courting Consumers in the COVID-19 Era

This article was first published on Furniture World

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has ignited increased interest among consumers in their homes. As most of us are spending much more time at home, we are seeing and experiencing our homes in news ways and finding ourselves with extra time to tackle improvements from DIY projects to major renovations. With that in mind, now is an ideal time to position relevant brands in front of a captive and eager audience with home-focused content.  

When it comes to brand marketing and public relations, however, it’s no longer business as usual. The consumer mindset has changed drastically, requiring brands to revisit messaging and re-think their communications strategies to adapt to the new and evolving environment in which we find ourselves living.  

In our work with many of today’s top home brands, we are helping them to navigate and adjust, as needed, to changes in the marketplace and in consumer lifestyles. Following are some insights and approaches that we have found to be effective for keeping home brands relevant and top-of-mind during this uncertain and unpredictable time: 

  • Position Brands for a New Way of Living – Focus on projects that help to make quarantine living more comfortable and enjoyable – everything from design and décor to organization, cleaning, safety and sanitation. Weave products into emerging lifestyle trends, such as segmenting home spaces in creative ways to accommodate working from home, inspiring new ways to cook or workout at home to keep things fresh and fun, and ideas for games or other activities to help keep family members entertained, occupied and safe.  

  • Instill Confidence – Share ideas for simple, cost-effective upgrades that add value to a home and that consumers can tackle confidently without needing a lot of expertise or assistance. When possible, provide video or step-by-step guidance to help DIYers approach projects knowledgeably and confidently. 

  • Pitch New Channels  Once a cumbersome and expensive endeavor, TV exposure is now easier to coordinate no matter where your spokesperson and influencers are located thanks to Zoom, Skype and other video conferencing services. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, local and national stations alike have turned to remote reporting so it’s still possible – and actually easier – to book segments (both live and taped) or conduct virtual media toursIt’s also a great time to explore online media outlets, as well as home-focused blogs and influencers you may not have previously targeted. 

  • Update Social Media Presence and Content  Consumers are spending much more time these days on their computers and mobile devices, making it crucial for brands to find ways to engage customers via social media and other online channels. Depending on the brand or service offering, aim to provide information that can help people stay healthy mentally, physically and financially. Maintain authenticity and review all content through a hyper-sensitive lens. 

  • Drive Online Sales Opportunities – During these times of social distancing, businesses and consumers are relying more than ever on e-commerce. Successful brands will be those that make it easy for consumers to find, select, purchase and receive products and services. Work with clients to optimize online ordering, offer virtual appointments and sales calls to replace on-site visits, and update websites to add home or curbside deliveriesDoing so may require an investment in new systems and technologies – but the dividends will be worth it in the long run. 

As we continue to traverse a rapidly changing landscape, brand communications and marketing efforts will require careful and continual refinement. Take time to audit key messaging for sensitivity and make updates as needed. Ensure that all key stakeholders are updated and aligned with any changes and communicating consistently and with one brand voice. 

While these are certainly challenging times for everyone, brands in the home arena are facing a unique opportunity to reach consumers and reinforce their relevance. By identifying the right messages and implementing smart, sensitive tactics, savvy marketers can positively position their brands and businesses for success in both the short- and long-term. 

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