Our latest guide to the most interesting things happening in the world of advocacy marketing

1. Why now is the perfect time to reassess your company’s employee engagement

A global pandemic might not sound like the best time for much, let alone assessing your company’s employee engagement. But here’s the thing — understanding what is and isn’t working for your employees is important, and assessing during a time of crisis can actually spur employees to be brutally honest with you. A recent study from Leadership IQ found that fewer than a quarter of employees currently feel they have high resilience, and high resilience employees were 310% more likely to report loving their jobs than employees with low resilience. And as you well know, teams with high resilience pays off big time through things like decreased turnover, increased productivity, greater efficiency, and even improved creativity and customer retention. So it’s crucial to identify teams that are struggling and address the problem directly before it gets worse. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, is when employees need true leadership, and you can’t figure out what employees need if you’re not communicating with them. And sure, there’s a good chance scores will be lower than before, but current data will also undoubtedly be more truthful and help employees more. And, in the end, investing time and energy in your employees is also investing time and energy in the future of your company. Learn more.

2. The new, new normal: how brands can thoughtfully approach reopening

As lockdown measures begin loosening up, brands are looking to draw customers back into stores. However, for obvious reasons, it’s not going to be business as usual upon reopening. Instead of focusing on new products or content, businesses should be focusing on communicating safety measures to customers in order to emphasize how they’re approaching reopening cautiously. Just look at the strategy used by UK home improvement stores Homebase and B&Q. When they were allowed to reopen, they staggered the reopening of branches over a period, instead of all at once, and used content marketing to stress in-store social distancing measures. According to reputation intelligence firm Alva, 81% of customers surveyed felt positive about the brands’ slow, thoughtful approach to reopening. On the other hand, fast-food chain Gregg’s announced a full reopening before quickly shutting down again over safety concerns. As a result, 14% of those surveyed felt negative about Gregg’s for their indecisive and risky strategy. So while customers are eager to get back to their favorite stores and restaurants, they want to know how brands will keep them and their employees safe first. So before you announce a sale or a new product launch, show your customers you’re not putting profit before public health and focus on communicating safety measures. Read the full article.

3. Five principles for responding to customer reviews

No matter the industry, customer reviews are essential. And with 89% of consumers reading business responses to online reviews, your reaction matters just as much. But there is a question of how should a brand respond effectively to either negative or positive reviews. Well, researchers at Harvard Business Review analyzed more than 20 million online reviews so you don’t have to. First, they advise addressing positive reviews with a simple, generic response. Businesses that responded with further promotional content are often viewed as inauthentic. A short and sweet “thank you” message is sufficient. Second, it is absolutely crucial to respond to all negative reviews, no matter how much it stings. Responding to bad reviews is essential for damage control, and can help prevent other customers from posting similar negative reviews in the future. So while the natural instinct is to stare longingly at affectionate 5-star reviews, your energy is actually better spent mitigating the harsher 1-star reviews. Learn more.

4. Will the influencer lifestyle survive the pandemic?

2020 was supposed to be the year influencers ‘got real,’ and started acting, or better yet, being authentic. After years that included sponsored marriage proposals and the Fyre Festival fiasco, it seemed consumers were ready for influencers to approach their marketing in a different, more mature way. But due to the pandemic, instead of growing their businesses, focusing on new strategies or experimenting with new content, the majority of influencers are simply trying to survive. With 69% of brands expected to decrease advertising this year, it’s no wonder brands don’t have room in their budgets to pay for sponsored posts and events. At the same time, audiences are spending significantly more time online than ever, meaning media engagement has increased and users are seeking entertainment and escape. Only time will tell if this will give influencers time to strengthen their relationships with their followers and ride out the economic downturn. The irony here is that while influencers’ audiences have never been more engaged, companies simply don’t have the resources to allocate to influencer marketing. Read the full article.

5. Peloton pandemic success shows the power of word of mouth

For brands the world over, knowing the most effective way to market your company or product is difficult. Add in a global pandemic and the resulting economic depression and everything gets even trickier. While many brands have doubled down and invested more in brand building, the virtual fitness provider Peloton paused advertising in most of its major markets way back in mid-March. The result was a 66% year-on-year increase in revenue in the fiscal Q3. While at-home fitness is naturally experiencing a boom due to lockdown restrictions, this fact alone is not enough to explain Peloton’s meteoric success. So how did Peloton achieve this? By focusing on the development of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth from day one. In the end, word-of-mouth pays off in good times and, particularly, in bad times. A recent Peloton executive forecast noted that viral word-of-mouth would continue to become “increasingly more important” and we couldn’t agree more. Check out the full article.

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