The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on every facet of our society. This extends to the way that brands communicate with their customers. Marketing expert Gustavo Tello has experience with changing the way his brand projects itself into the world, and insight into how businesses can survive into the future.
Gustavo Tello is the owner and general manager at The Lighting Studio, located in Miami, FL. His business takes on unique lighting projects for both residential and commercial clients. It’s important for Gustavo to market his brand and get the name of his business out there. However, this marketing strategy has changed since the pandemic began. “We’re a family-owned business that operates without a storefront,” he said. “This allows us to work with customers remotely and serve their needs with little to no personal contact.”
Brands began the pandemic with lots of email messages about “these trying times” and reassuring customers that they’d be around. “That strategy backfired,” said Tello. “Since every brand was doing it, it came off as disingenuous. People want authenticity from their brands.” Gustavo says that the focus right now should be on showing how your business can be safe. “Although states are opening up, people are still nervous. People want to know that customers will be required to wear masks in your stores, or that you provide online shopping options, or that your restaurant offers outside seating. It’s about showing that you care about your customers’ safety.”
One other issue is customer loyalty. “People are pivoting towards brands that are offering increased safety and sending out positive messages about the pandemic,” Tello said. “They’re willing to leave behind a favorite brand if they feel it’s unsafe or that another brand is safer. That means you need to get your message out there as quickly and widely as possible.”
Gustavo Tello started The Lighting Studio in 2012, and it grew through word of mouth, rather than advertising. “Word of mouth will never go away,” he said. “If you can get your customers to rave about you, you’ve won.”
Brand communication will never be the same after the COVID-19 outbreak. However, businesses can take steps to adjust to the new normal and find customers, no matter how intense the challenges.