Managing Uncertainty and Brand Sensitivity

by | May 4, 2020

As we try to understand Covid developments from day to day, determine what lays ahead and what route to take, combined it can all become overwhelming.

Our benefactor, The Red Tree beauty brand consultancy’s Managing Director Stirling Murray recently shared his thoughts on the current situation and gave a brilliant breakdown of advice for brands as we navigate the uncertainty and disruption faced.

Three highlights captured include:

  • Smart planning
  • Wise production
  • and creative communication.

Smart planning
Stirling rightly says that simply waiting for events to unfold is not an option, it is important to keep momentum, even if it’s little by little, day by day. We Are Social’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mobbie Nazir also agrees, stating that it’s important to be aware of conversations in your space and category and what consumers are craving and needing right now. From previous downturns experienced, those brands who have forged on and not shrank back are those who survived when the storm passed. Looking after customers now will maintain their confidence and leave a brand in a stronger position post-crisis.

This leads us onto Stirling’s second point: what does your audience really need right now?

Wise production
NPD should reflect your new critical thinking. How will new products fuel the brand’s growth? Do they add value to the portfolio? If not, there is no sense in ploughing effort and funds into them. Further still, We Are Social adds that if you are a brand that can benefit from the situation right now, it’s essential to read the room, observe the tone in how audiences are feeling to avoid coming across as insensitive in capitalising on the situation. And of course, always go back to the why to ensure it links back to your overall strategy.

Creative communication
Thinking creatively when it comes to communication is important during this crisis, but it’s also a time for honest, transparent and empathic communication with audiences that will serve brands well in the long run, long afterwards. Some brilliant examples of beauty brands engaging consumers where they are now whilst being sensitive to their needs, include those who have all launched virtual services whilst lockdown continues.

SpaceNK’s #TogetheratHome offers customers the opportunity to enjoy 1-2-1 beauty and cosmetics consultations with Space NK experts, group brand masterclasses with virtual at-home tutorials from brand founders. All virtually through the power of Zoom and all without booking fees.

Deciem’s own free live DECIEM AT HOME consultations went live on Monday 27 April, connecting customers with their nearest Deciem skin expert via instant message, video chat or phone via HERO. Whilst The Inkey List’s #askINKEY service offers a free 24-hour online chat service to help everyone with any skincare questions and quandaries.

However, it’s not just consultation that counts. According to GlobalWebIndex, data reveals that 47% of audiences surveyed say they’ve been spending longer using social media, whilst 23% say they’ve been spending “significantly” more time using social media compared to time before lockdown. As people roam social media and for longer, now is the chance to engage them there, to serve their needs and soothe their lockdown woes.

When audiences spend time on social media, they don’t want to be sold to, they want to be engaged and entertained. A great example of a brand that is going beyond the realm of beauty by creating content that meets their audience’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing needs is Isle of Paradise. The team’s At Home with IoP runs daily IGTV sessions with content that spans meditation, body confidence, fitness and maintaining positivity through to healthy cooking tips.

So, what unites these brands in their approach are sensitivity and adaptability. Sensitivity to the varying needs and situations that audiences are experiencing and adapting to meet them. It’s about remembering that beauty gives. It gives people routine, a sense of identity, self-expression, and confidence – all of which in a time of uncertainty are truly invaluable.

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