It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

Adapting to a Shifting Consumer Sentiment Toward Marketing

3 minute read

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face has always been striking the right tone when engaging their audience with their advertising and marketing communications. Throw in a pandemic that continues to evolve as we enter the summer months, and the importance of speaking a consumer’s language has never been greater.

By now, we had hoped to be discussing post-COVID strategy and messaging. But recent spikes in COVID-19 cases have only reinforced that we will be dealing with the realities of this health crisis for an indeterminate length of time. Still, you have a business to run. While we know that consumers don’t want the same old messaging from the brands they engage with, there are ways you can evolve your marketing tactics and voice to stay connected with your customers as we all navigate these strange waters together.

Reassurance

As opposed to a natural disaster or other crisis where we can often estimate the amount of time and resources it takes to recover, we don’t have the benefit of historical perspective with our current situation. With no definitive timetable for the recovery of the economic—or literal—health of our country, consumers may be hesitant to engage brands with as much enthusiasm as they previously showed. As a company that has a relationship with them on some level, you have an opportunity to listen to how your customers are feeling today and how their needs may have shifted. Then, you are best positioned to speak to them in a genuine voice of reassurance, committed to serving them on their terms.

Hope

Hope has proven to be a real moving target for all of us. Promise too much and you risk falling short. Set the bar too low and you may be perceived as unable to find your footing in the new normal, whatever that might be. But even without a clear path forward, consumers want to know that things will eventually be okay. While a brand can’t promise to address all of their anxieties, providing hope in the context of a relationship that celebrates little victories and good news in any measure can go a long way. Your actions can translate to a more hopeful outlook through the creative ways you solve problems for your customers, whether it’s stepping up service or incorporating new technology to enhance the customer experience when it might be least expected.

Escape

Consumers are being inundated with messaging related to the state of our country and the world. While this is important information, many people prefer to deal with the crisis by finding ways to escape reality’s undertow, even if only for a moment. Some consumers may treat themselves to small luxuries, while others seek experiences that allow them to take a break from processing the negative environment and let their brain recharge. Brands that provide some of this escape in a healthy and responsible way tend to connect well with consumers.

Tops Friendly Markets, one of FARM’s longstanding clients, is speaking to shoppers with an appropriate balance of reassurance and excitement for summer with a concept that we developed called “Ready for You.” Here, we wanted to give Tops the flexibility to modify their messaging based on the current retail grocery environment without having to abandon their overall theme. Check out their latest television commercial here.

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