The coronavirus has unraveled everyone’s world, but marketers carry additional stress. Many are wondering how to engage their customers during this crisis, and how their brands can be part of the solution in an authentic and meaningful way.
The answer is to provide personalized offers to those that have been hardest hit.
Our recent survey indicates that these consumer communities—including medical workers, teachers, and college students— see personalized offers as expressions of a brand’s concern and desire to help. And that personalized offers can drive their purchase behavior and increase brand advocacy and loyalty.
Showing Up for Your Customers Makes them Feel Good
Our survey revealed that the consumers most impacted by the pandemic want brands to show they care by providing more value and giving people a financial break.
When asked how they know a brand cares about people during this challenging time, 64% of survey recipients said they wanted brands to provide extra benefits or services.
And when asked how brands could help, 63% said brands should offer more discounts.
Brands that deliver personalized offers not only meet these expectations, they touch consumers in ways they will remember. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said a personalized offer would make them feel valued, and 66% said it would make them feel thankful.
Brands That Help Customers Win Their Loyalty
Giving personalized offers to consumers doesn’t just make them feel good, it increases purchase behavior, generates incredible word of mouth, and stimulates brand advocacy.
Nurses and Doctor
Doctors and nurses are literally risking their lives to care for people with COVID-19. Business Insider reported that 9,000 medical workers have contracted the coronavirus and 27 have died.
FabFitFun stepped in to ease their burden by giving them a free bundle. The offer was so popular the company ran out in one day.
The North Face is recognizing the dedication and bravery of healthcare workers by giving them a 50% discount.
AT&T has stepped in to show its support by giving nurses and doctors free wireless service service for three months plus a $200 activation credit. It’s a generous offer that was featured in SomeGoodNews, a show hosted by actor John Krasinski that garnered nearly 4 million YouTube views in three days.
The medical workers who redeem all these offers will remember who supported them. Ninety-six percent of nurses said receiving a personalized offer would positively impact their relationship to a brand.
The pandemic is pushing first responders to their limits. In New York City, they’re responding to as many as 7,000 emergency calls each day—an increase of 75%.
TIDAL is providing some relief by giving first responders a 40% discount on its streaming music plans. vineyard vines is showing it’s appreciation by giving them 50% off all purchases.
And Tuft & Needle is helping first responders get a good night’s sleep with a 15% discount on its mattress. “First responders provide our communities with an invaluable service, so rewarding them with a discount was an easy decision,” said Melanie LaDue, Tuft & Needle’s Gives Back lead.
First responders will remember these gestures long after this crisis ends. Ninety-six percent said receiving a personalized offer will positively impact their relationship to a brand.
US teachers have been thrust into virtual classrooms where they’re racing to educate the 55 million students whose schools have closed. And many teachers have the added stress of caring for their own children who have also been sent home.
Headspace is making the transition easier by giving teachers free access to its meditation app, along with resources they can use to integrate meditation into their curriculum. The program helps teachers reduce their stress and gives them the opportunity to introduce Headspace to students and their families. It’s a great example of how supporting teachers can help a brand acquire a community of customers.
Teachers appreciate this kind of support. Ninety-four percent said receiving a personalized offer would positively impact their relationship with a brand.
School closures in response to the pandemic have impacted more than 91% of the world’s student population. College students are scrambling to continue their education without the campus support—and often jobs—that kept them afloat.
Companies like Alteryx and Tableau are removing some of the financial stress by providing their software free to college students. These programs are a great way to facilitate brand loyalty. Students who use the companies’ software in college carry it into their workplaces—and pay full price—when they graduate.
And the NYTimes is letting college students subscribe for just $1/week, and giving high school students and their teachers access to the newspaper for free.
These kinds of programs nurture long-term engagement with a brand. Ninety-three percent of college students said a personalized offer would positively impact their relationship to a brand.
Caring for Customers is a Win-Win
As Leo Burnett once said, “what’s good for people, is good for business.” Delivering personalized offers to the consumer communities most impacted by the pandemic is a perfect example. Customers get the support they need, and brands are able to grow their business.
And it’s not just a short-term win because people remember who shows up for them in hard times. This crisis will pass, but the brand relationships it launched will endure.