Apr 30, 2020, Sara Bliss
With business moving online overnight, retail locations shuttered, and entire industries on pause due to COVID-19, many companies have had to quickly pivot their marketing and social media in order to move forward, stay in business, and be relevant in a new world. Brands and small businesses that have tried to stay the course without acknowledging the different landscape, are often branded as tone deaf or out of touch by frustrated consumers.
So what do you say to your clients and buyers when the world has radically changed? I spoke to 5 entrepreneurs and business owners large and small in real estate, wellness, furniture, beauty, and fashion. They shared how they’ve updated their businesses, changed their marketing strategies, and reinvented their social feeds to reflect the current moment. Here are eight things you can do right now to refresh your own brand.
What resonated with buyers a few months ago, may hold little interest now. Entrepreneur Bobbi Brown who founded her wellness brand Evolution_18 and lifestyle website justBobbi after leaving her eponymous makeup line in 2017, believes that brands should focus on building an interactive community. “People are looking for a connection. People are looking for answers and certainly things they can do themselves. I do think it’s an opportunity for all brands to be able to really listen to what people are feeling and what they really want,” says Brown. “The truth is we all want the simple things—not just during this pandemic, but always. We all want to be loved, be safe, we want to be comfortable and we want to take things down a notch and be more real and authentic.”
Brown has been connecting with her audience regularly through her personal Facebook and Instagram live sessions where she talks from her living room couch about positivity and health during the pandemic. “It’s not product focused at all,” says Brown. “It’s about building and strengthening community. I also see it as giving back.” For Brown, doing chats from quarantine also means letting go of high expectations about how her video will look. Explains Brown: “We’re not doing slick videos. My hair is probably a mess in some, which is fine. In the long run it will help the brand because people will see me as normal and not perfect.” That attitude taps into Brown’s belief that more than ever buyers want the brands they interact with to be real.
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What do you do when your industry is on hold? With the real estate industry almost completely shut down due to the quarantine, Manhattan-based Corcoran real estate broker Cary Tamura experienced an immediate halt to his business. Posting images of gorgeous apartments that he could no longer show, seemed like an exercise in futility. A flood of calls from panicked buyers and sellers inspired him to start using his social platforms in a new way. “I found myself in constant contact with my clients updating them on what was going on with pricing, mortgages, and what I was hearing about the industry,” says Tamura. “I realized that there were probably a lot of other buyers and sellers out there who would be interested in knowing what I was learning.” Tamura began posting short videos sharing his insights and advice on the real estate market from his living room to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. “I thought, where do you turn to hear about the real estate market in NYC? Even in my small way, I wanted to provide a channel for that.”