Authenticity, a flexible approach, and clear communication are the secrets to creating engaging content in a crisis, industry experts said in the latest Drapers Connects webinar.
Darren Campbell, chief product and marketing officer at Dr Martens, and Jayne Bibby, digital content manager at Primark, discussed how they are using content to better connect with customers.
Read on for their top three pieces of advice when it comes to communicating with your customer.
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Darren Campbell, chief product and marketing officer, Dr Martens
We’re continuing to talk about collaborations and new product launches, but it has to be a two-way conversation. We’ve continued to maintain our brand tone of voice, but are also being sensitive to how customers might be feeling. When it comes to content, we’re reading and rereading every word and thinking how it could be perceived by the customer.
But consumers are also saying that they want to feel good: they want to feel that there are things to look forward to again. Brands have the power to create a community and remind people that we are going to get out of this, to give hope. Hope is a very powerful word at the moment, and if brands can play a part in giving their communities that, then they absolutely should.
What the crisis has allowed us to do is to be razor focused on what will make the difference. That’s something that we keep saying and will continue saying on the other side of the pandemic: what will make the difference to our customer? The world of big campaigns will change – who will have the budget to do them and do consumers really want to be force-fed brand content? Or will they want more engaging, relatable content that is relevant to them? One good thing about this situation is we’re now really challenging each on other on what will make that difference.”
Drop the office mindset
You can’t switch creativity on and off, and it doesn’t only happen from between nine and five. That old-school way of thinking, where you had to be seen to be at your desk and doing, is gone. We’ve probably had more output in the last ten weeks then we did in the previous 20 because our team has been so focused. The other thing we’ll think more about once this is all over is: How do you spend your budget? What did we stop doing in the crisis that we didn’t even notice we’d stopped doing?”
Jayne Bibby, digital content manager, Primark
We’re in a situation we never thought we’d be in, but it has been a great learning curve and we’ve thrived in the challenge. The first thing we did when lockdown started in March was scrap our editorial calendar – we had a lot of content planned around when product was dropping in store, which was clearly no longer relevant. We had a big digital meeting as a team and discussed what our customers would want to see and what we ourselves would like to see – often your customers thinks similarly to how you do. One piece of content that has done really well for us was a downloadable colouring booklet – it was a big trend and we went to our kidswear and homewear design teams to create our own version. It felt unique and was a good way to entertain kids at home, so it did really well for us.
Tap your team for hidden talents
During this time, we’ve learnt that our team is really talented in lots of unexpected ways – such as a graphic designer who has been creating illustrations for Primark. It has been so great to harness that creativity and find ways people can add to the team and to their role. We’re now thinking: what other talents do we have in the business that we could utilise? We’ll also be thinking about what good things have come out of the current situation that we can hold on to.
It has been really important to get that human connection across in our current content. We’ve had a scrolling article on our homepage talking about all the things we’ve been doing for our community, like making donations to health workers and delivering food parcels, which has been really well received. We used quite low-fi imagery, which would usually be a huge no-no for the business. We’d have people on the ground in warehouses and hospitals taking the pictures. It was real, it was authentic, and it gave customers a snapshot as to what was really going on, and they responded really well.