A new study by global communications firm, Edelman, has revealed what many in the jewellery industry have already grasped – if consumers perceive that a brand is putting profit over people during the coronavirus pandemic, “they will lose trust in that brand forever”.
71% of the study’s 12,000 respondents, which spanned the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, and Brazil, agreed with that statement.
Moreover, the report reveals that 62% of respondents believe that brands and companies “play a critical role” in helping their countries recover from the coronavirus crisis and the challenges it brings. In fact, 55% of those polled believe that brands and companies are responding more quickly and effectively than government.
To that end, an overwhelming 90% of respondents “want brands to do everything they can to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and suppliers, even if it means substantial financial losses until the pandemic ends”.
What does that mean in practice?
It means that consumers want to see and hear about what brands and jewellery retailers are doing to help during the pandemic, rather than see outright selling of products on the likes of social media and other digital channels.
That could be anything from how you are looking after employees to ensure they are safe and financially supported, to how your business is raising money for a particular relief charity, or even manufacturing equipment that will help fight the virus.
These statistics from the survey shine a light on what might work during this time: 80% of respondents say they want brand advertising to “focus on how brands help people cope with pandemic-related life challenges”; 77% said they want brands “only to speak about products in ways that show they are aware of the crisis and the impact on people’s lives”; and 78% rated medical doctors as credible spokespeople for the brand’s virus-related actions. Celebrities (26%) and influencers (28%) have plummeted in popularity as spokespeople during the pandemic.
85% of respondents also say they want brands to use their power to educate, including offering instructional information on how to protect themselves. For jewellers this can come in the form of highlighting the importance of jewellery hygiene and providing guidance on how to do so.
After all, brands are actually a key source of information for consumers as they are more likely to trust their loyal local jeweller over random articles on the internet that often end up being fake news.
During this time, businesses must focus their messaging on solutions, not selling.
So the question to ask yourself is: What are you as a business doing to make a difference for the people who work for you, buy from you, and are fighting the good fight for your country?
Whatever the answer… share it with your online community at this time. Never has it been more important to show your company’s personality over products.
Lastly, companies need to bring people together during this difficult time and build a sense of connection and community.
Respondents say they want emotional connection, which means helping them stay close to people they are being forced to physically distance from. 83% also want compassionate connection, including brand messaging that communicates empathy and support with the struggles they face, while 84% want brand social channels to facilitate a sense of community and offer support to those in need.
Hearing from brands they use about what they are doing in response to the pandemic is comforting and reassuring.
Not to put the pressure on, but 65% of respondents say that a brand’s response in the crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood of purchasing from it in the future.
So, jewellery industry, now is not the time to sit back, but to actively use the tools are your disposable to communicate your company’s personality, values, and role in the community.