2020 has taught me that us Brits really do know how to keep calm and carry on. I admit that at the beginning of the Covid lockdown, I was pretty upset. Like so many business owners and directors, I was worried what these few weeks were going to mean for our livelihoods.
I was frozen to the spot. Going from a workaholic whose sole objective was to please everyone with projects coming out of my ears, I was suddenly faced with work coming to a halt.
It is scary when change occurs. In the beginning it always feels completely uncontrollable because nothing you can do will change the situation – but it is not an absolute. You always have choices on the way you deal with it.
You can’t change a situation, but you can change your attitude towards it.
As the days rolled on through the first fortnight of lockdown, I actually felt a real sense of calm starting to set in across the Yorkshire business community. From the activity I saw on Facebook and LinkedIn, most businesses have been adapting and embracing the change wonderfully.
Business has slowed and the pace means we can focus on hitting the refresh button. For many, including us, we are able to look at what we can do to change our attitude towards our business – thus injecting some fresh positivity into our marketing objectives.
Let’s change ‘the new normal’
‘The new normal’ isn’t my favourite phrase to be coined from Covid-19. It simply suggests new complacency. They say life comes in cycles of seven years – I love the idea that we naturally change, grow and adapt to meet new challenges. Normal isn’t the right word for this.
Consumer trends change, just like the ebb and flow of life – just like your personal needs change; and your business needs change; and the needs of your staff change; and so on. Why? Because attitudes and opinions change – which drive emotional change. There is no such thing as a normal attitude or a normal emotion.
Positive emotion drives positive action
As with our decision to deal with Covid-19 in a positive way, our customers are doing exactly the same. Consumers are making positive changes with their lifestyles. More decorating – to make the home a nicer place. More exercise – to improve health. More positive choices – a happier way of living.
To buy or not to buy is a choice driven by emotion. So, to reach that need, you must include deeper meaning in your communications output.
Some quick ideas for positive communications
- Tell stories of success. The story of customer you helped in their time of need is a powerful tool – involve that customer and use their testimonial. Make it a partnership, not a sale. Negate ego.
- Instead of “We’re so proud to be working with…” (this type of post crops up a LOT on LinkedIn) find the deeper meaning behind your new, exciting partnership – and elevate both parties to equal ground. “Our new partnership with X means we can help each other in these ways…”
- Be a lifestyle choice your customers aspire to. I’ve always been an advocate for positive social media use – and that doesn’t include the hard sell. “This is what we do and this is what you can buy from us” is not going to inspire.
- Instead, try to reframe your mindset and turn your message into “this is why we do what we do… because we want you to feel fulfilled”
Inspire – and you’ll drive aspiration.
In fact, take inspiration from Instagram influencers. Any good influencer uses beautiful images and storytelling that drive aspiration – because it feeds positive emotion. Anyone looking at an individual in a beautiful garden, in a difficult yoga pose wearing flattering yoga leggings are likely to think “I wish I could do that… maybe if I buy those leggings I’ll be one step towards achieving this…”
Why? Positive emotion drives every purchase.
Sophie Metcalfe is available for video consultations to help businesses refresh their marketing and communications. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how she can help you get out of that marketing rut.