Value-based communication has been at the core of marketing for a while now. What we have seen in past weeks however, is a shift in communication where value has become a “must have”, not just a “nice to have”. We’re facing a new kind of reality where “buy, buy, buy” communication is no longer appropriate. This blog post aims to sort out what value-based communication is, and also hands on tips how get started with it.
We’ve turned to Sofia Vinsa, Project Director at Social View to get some expert tips.
Social distancing, working remotely and crisis communication are now normality in most companies all over the world. If you look at the upside with the pandemic (if you even can express it like that) there has been a huge shift in digital consumption/behaviour – what has happened in recent weeks has taken years before and forced us into a more digital way of working and communicating. People spend more and more time online in these home-office days, which of course also reflects in the usage of social platforms.
So, with more potential to reach our audiences on the platforms that are currently breathing digitally, we need to respond to people’s behaviour in crisis with the right communication. Communicatively, we can see the same speed in transformation as in the digitalization.
In the last year, there has been a shift from a more product/sales-focused communication to a value-based communication where this pandemic has pushed the need for transformation at the marketing departments even more. The value-based communication is no longer a “nice to have” requirement for more sales opportunities – it is vital to keep your brand perception during this crisis.
Let me dive a little deeper into this. Usually, there is a big difference between B2C & B2B-communication. For example a different tonality on Facebook & LinkedIn in our content. B2C in general are more adapted towards 1 consumer who makes a buying decision on its own and has a more emotional tonality in an easily consumed format. B2B buyers, on the other hand, are usually more logically based on their buying decisions with lots of people involved. Therefore the communication often focuses on benefits of a product and is information-heavy.
In crises, people return to our natural way of behaving where we react to our circumstances with anxiety, fear, confusion, and mistrust. Our emotional mind takes over versus our rational mind.
This is where you as a company need to shift your communication where we raise more emotional, safe and value-based dialogues to break through the noise.
If you have kept quiet until now, it is time to start communicating again. But in a format that is more adapted to everyone’s new reality. It is important to be sure that your content aren’t creating wrong associations, seem insensitive or encourage behaviour that is not appropriate right now. Here are some tips on value-based communication that are more adapted to our new reality:
Remove old plans, planning, structure, and processes – this is a time where execution counts. What needs are out there in society right now? Can your company help in any way to help other companies or people? Convert your physical events to digital like Epicenter. Or maybe like Karma that has changed their business model to help all the restaurants by developing new offers and features in their app. They have for example started doing home delivery, and developed a feature in the app where you can tip restaurants. Involve people in your communication and focus on opportunities in a time of crisis. Be clear on how you as a company can be a resource for example offering potential customers continuing education.
Decision-makers B2B are keen to learn from mistakes or identify habits that will make them successful in their role at work. Think of how you with your communication can help other people become more successful in their businesses. Hands-on tips with best practices within your expertise or pitfalls to avoid. Value, value, value that feels creative, humane and relatable. This could be sharing a guide, study, e-book within the most popular communication/most consumed content areas on LinkedIn; habits, boss, mistakes, employees. Or a concrete bullet list with takeaways in a specific topic that is pinpointing the role we would like attention from; “Marketer, here is 3 key takeaways within LinkedIn marketing”
Trust within B2B is vital and you will earn trust with a good thought leader marketing strategy. In good times it is easy to be a leader and now in harder times it shines through who really can show the way forward. The search for leadership during troubled times are important in the actual communication and digital marketing for your company. You have opportunities to show the way forward within your industry. Reflect on what potential/existing customers concerns are and find ways to tackle them by communicating/answering them.
The two largest information giants, Facebook and Google has taken responsibility by trying to reduce the misinformation being spread. They are extremely careful with communication related to Corona. They are now banning harmful marketing efforts and communication that in any way may imply that the product or service can cure or financially benefit from the disease. In addition, marketing about Corona are listed as political advertising and is banned. However, organic content is not affected. Thus, a recommendation is to activate your employees and influencers or partners to increase dissemination. Set a structure on how you can help your employees to contribute by example; 1. Select a content coordinator 2. Identify 5+ Authors (specialists and experts within the organization) 3. Cross-promote your posts to maximize the spread.
To summarize this – Change your marketing strategy but do not be silent. Tangent the situation by focusing on value not sales. And media planning as usual with better CPM’s and increased consumption on social media.