Plea To Brands in Pandemic Mode: Drive Affinity Not Sales

Brands need to give and not get right now

NOTE TO BRANDS: We’re all out of work. We’ve all lost $ in stock market. All our kids are at home. We’re all stuck in our homes, fearful of anyone and everything.

So, you know what this means? Many of us are not working. And because no one’s working, our paychecks are affected. Given uncertain paychecks, spending is decreased. Pretty clear line on this. Period.

There are many people, including restaurant owners, fitness teachers, event producers & technicians, plumbers, mechanics, and pretty much any one whose work is with their hands who simply may not be working at all for the next month or two. For those of us who transact work via keyboards, we may feel a little more economically stable — but not much. The fear (+forced at home child care) is crippling all of us, resulting in significant productivity loss. The fear is also impacting many of us psychosomatically thereby causing us to feel we may be sick when we are not, or causing us to be sick, when we normally would not be. There is indeed a direct correlation between mind and body which we should all be cautious about. I could digress, but I won’t. Getting back on task, this is a time for brands and brand managers to really think about what their customers need, more than EVER, and give to their true needs, not what we want them to have, or in the spirit of giving to receive something in return. Give, because it’s the right thing to do.

We will come out of this. But, we’re not sure how or when, so until then, I harken all brands to think of what they can give to their customers…because they may even attract new customers who have an emotional resonance due to their gestures.

Now is also the time for brands to trust that when life is re-normalized, customers will remember your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness and give back to you — with loyalty. Now is not the time to generate sales, but rather to make sincere and thoughtful efforts to generate brand affinity.

Now is the time to think about the long-term gain, not the short-term gain. Because in the short-term, globally, it’s time to focus on family and friends, to hunker down.

I’m personally grateful, and will forever be loyal to my NYC-based yoga studio @modoyoganyc for offering FREE Live Stream classes beginning Saturday. The studio used IG Live to allow yoga teachers to offer free classes from their homes, and the feedback was overwhelmingly grateful. What was special is that all fees for classes were waived, with an option to donate communicated via email (vs during the stream). The way they handled this felt like the humane, and right thing to do. Looking forward to see which brands lead in this manner.

Olivia F. Scott, NYU Marketing Adjunct Assistant Professor; Founder, Omerge Alliances