Our world is fighting a war against COVID-19 and to make sure we win, we will have to fight this together. We live in a competitive world, with an ongoing race in our heads. This competitive approach sometimes rises friction, and sometimes even gets converted into heat.
We are rushing, trying to win an invisible race among ourselves. Even the mindset is visible from the brands we use. All of them making similar products wants to defame their opponent, and prove their superiority.
But in these rough times, people are willing to unite. They want to fight this crisis supporting each other, and even they want their favorite brands to achieve harmony amongst each other during a crisis. No more fights! The only fight we should be fighting is against Corona(Covid-19).
Several brands are realizing this fact and according to the chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Beverages Greg Lyons, If brands want to earn customers loyalty, they have to learn empathy.
“I do fundamentally believe that something good will come out of this shared experience,” Lyons said. “It will force us to have deeper empathy toward one another. How organizations and brands respond and lead through these times will have a lasting impression on consumers.”
To prove this point Pepsico conducted a survey. They asked around 5000 consumers about, what expectations do they have from there favorite brands during this epidemic crisis?
More than 94% of Americans clearly stated that the world needs empathy in our society, among them 79% stated that it has become even more important during the tough time of the epidemic. Many of them also agreed that people are becoming more empathic during these tough times.
Regarding their favorite brands showing empathy, they said; they want to see hope, in their brands’ advertisements. They don’t want to watch catfights, procrastination, and sarcasm between competitors.
“Tone is very important. … I believe we are past the more serious, overly emotive ads, and the survey supported that as well,” Lyons said. “In my opinion, the key is striking that balance of tone and being authentic to what your brand stands for.”
Consumers want brands to be taking actions, instead of mere words. They want to see, “focus on employees and community first.” This includes sick leaves for their employees, helping the employee to feel safe, and encouraging small businesses to sustain during these tough times.
Due to Covid-19 consumers have more time to see what’s good for them and what’s not. Therefore, brands must be extra careful to not portray any such behavior which might infect, or degrade their brand image and value.
“I’ve seen us make faster end-to-end decisions versus where we were before the pandemic,” Lyons said, “much less siloed, functional thinking and more consumer-centric than ever.”
We all can understand that it would be hard for brands to attain a common ground. After all, they have been fighting against each other decades. However, as per the survey conducted by the consultancy Business of Purpose, likely 52% of customers purchase a brand product, which understands and reflects their values.
Covid-19 will only strengthen this belief of consumers.
“As marketers, I believe it has made brand purpose more important than ever before,” he said, “making sure that our marketing is authentically making people’s lives better.”