ASK ALAN: Your Brand–In This Time

“ASK ALAN” is a nationally syndicated business advice and idea column reaching 7 Million+ business leaders semi-monthly. I hope this article resonates with you and provides you with some ideas to use in your organization.

Buyers are smarter than you think
During the past few decades of observing markets, I have learned that both business and consumer buyers are smarter than many marketers make them out to be. Shoppers can easily see through the hype and, in this time of social media, are more skeptical than ever.
Who can blame them?

For years companies have pushed their hidden agendas into our media landscape in deceiving ways. We have learned to distrust advertising and trust each other more (i.e. social media and online reviews). Look at Facebook groups. There is a group for everything filled with real people and real experiences to help you, from how to start a garden to landing the perfect job.

During this time of the pandemic, marketers have time to fine tune their brand messaging. Are you seeing it in the TV ads yet? Jersey Mikes’ CEO talks about how proud he is that his franchisees are helping to feed the medical community. Papa John’s talks about how a pizza goes from their oven to your table without a human touching the food. Social media is no different; in fact, it is even more crowded.

What can you change to improve your brand message during this turbulent time?
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Be Authentic

March 30th, 2020 was National Doctor’s Day. The Cleveland Clinic, used this day to launch a much different approach. The renowned medical center posted a call-to-action for people to express thanks to medical providers. Staying clear of the typical “jump on the national holiday for the heck of it” trap. Especially given the Clinic’s esteem in the health care world.

Their action offers audiences a direct way to say thanks to medical practitioners outside resharing the viral—and effective—“we stay here for you, please stay home for us” message. Instead, their new message is, “Today we thank each and every doctor in our lives on #NationalDoctorsDay. Send our doctors a message of gratitude here:

Takeaway: Cleveland Clinic is participating in a trending hashtag way that does not appear self-serving. Allowing social media audiences — many of whom may feel useless or helpless to give credit to those on the front lines. Also using the campaign to ask for donations to other worthy medical causes.

Be Clear and Precise in Your Messaging. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Be a customer of the products/services rather than a communicator about them. We are working from home. Kids are home and parents must homeschool. Take it all into consideration as you prepare your communications. How does your product or service help them? Simple, precise, with a clear call to action.
Listen to customers, ask better questions
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Don’t ask “Do you always eat lunch” Yes/No?” Rather, “How often do you eat lunch?” Asking thoughtful open-ended questions will get better results.

Use social media to listen to online conversations. There has never been a better place to learn your customer’s pain points than in social media. Listening to what your customers are saying is one of the smartest moves you can make. I am not referring to brand reputation here, however, that is important too.

Learn how to listen to their problems so your product or service can become one of the solutions.
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About Alan

Alan Adler is an Executive Coach, Business Consultant, Speaker & Author.

06. December 2020 by Alan
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