How to Lead—and Market—with Empathy When the World Needs It Most

Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen tremendous challenges locally and globally, at home and at work. But we’ve also seen incredible demonstrations of kindness and empathy from individuals and businesses alike. In the face of struggle and uncertainty, so many of us are tapping into our core purpose to bolster our communities. And together, we’re making an impact. 

 

Businesses from virtually every industry—food service, manufacturing, tech, media, fashion insurance and so many others—are pitching in to provide support. Communications companies are offering free access to their products and services to help people stay connected. Media organizations are sharing their content for free. Insurance operations are giving back by providing discounts to drivers who aren’t spending time on the road and physicians and dentists who aren’t practicing as much these days. Those with factories and equipment have shifted their focus and begun producing much-needed supplies, from personal protective equipment to hand sanitizer and ventilators. Organizations of all kinds are donating millions to coronavirus relief funds in their backyard and around the world. 

 

These efforts are evidence that we can truly do well by doing good. When a business’s actions align with its mission statement, customers, clients, and employees take notice. These companies find themselves with a loyal following willing to return the same kind of care and support they received. 

 

So, how can you take steps to lead—and market—with empathy, for the good of society and your business’s bottom line? Let’s look at a handful of the strategies you can employ during these unprecedented times. 

Consider Your Messaging

While you may have had a full lineup of content and campaigns ready to be pushed out on multiple channels in the months ahead, take a moment to reevaluate it all with a focus on sensitivity. Could you tweak your campaign to emphasize support and connection over sales? Should the language, photographs, and artwork on your website and in social media posts be adjusted to reflect physical distancing and other socially responsible practices? What about sharing some of the good you’ve been doing to help health care workers or your local food bank—while maintaining humility, of course? Thoroughly considering your messaging is one of the simplest ways to avoid any missteps that might lose you business and show your network that you care. 

 

Focus on Improving Your Customer’s Experience

We all know that sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Think about what you could be doing to improve your customer’s experience at a time when numerous aspects of their lives are proving more difficult. Could you offer free or expedited shipping, give them more time to pay their bills, increase their access to your high-value content at no charge, or donate a portion of your proceeds to a charity they care about? While some of these options may come at an additional cost for you, they payoff is bound to be great. 

 

Share a Laugh—and Spread Joy 

Many businesses are finding ways to bring a little levity into these dark times with fun experiences that can be accessed with the click of a button—and involve little, if any, extra expense on their part. 

 

From virtual dance parties to online haircut tips from expert barbers and entertaining and powerful social campaigns (check out Nike’s “Play Inside, Play for the World” campaign for inspiration), feel-good initiatives are a great way to share encouragement and business expertise while doing your part to foster connection—and provide a breath of fresh air for those cooped up inside. 

 

Collaborate for the Greater Good 

This may also be the right time to help lead the charge by spearheading a campaign to benefit an important cause—with support and participation from your community. Maybe you host that dance party or concert to help your local hospital purchase much-needed medical masks, or ask your restaurant’s customers to donate so that you can feed the front lines. We really are in this together, and these acts of collaborative kindness make that clear. 

When you consider the needs and concerns of your clients and customers and adjust your processes to meet them, you’ll help yourself and others stay afloat—and build a brighter future for us all. You don’t have to go it alone, either; we’re here for you. Check out our COVID-19 resources for assistance and insight on managing and marketing your business during the pandemic and beyond.  

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