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article imageBusiness strategies for coping with the 'new economy' Special

By Tim Sandle     Jul 25, 2020 in Business
How can business address the challenging economic circumstances during COVID-19? Taking MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2020 Study (brands based on emotion) and the leadership of Microsoft and Ben & Jerry’s as examples, Mario Natarelli points out a strategy.
To learn more about business responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Digital Journal linked up with Mario Natarelli, managing partner at MBLM. The agency is using what it terms 'emotional science', in order to build more intimate brands during these unprecedented times.
Digital Journal: Who are the most forward thinking leaders in the 'new economy?'
Mario Natarelli: We have seen some new leaders emerge during the COVID-19 pandemic, often inspiring communication, strategic solutions and assistance to their stakeholders. We believe that each has improved their Brand Intimacy performance, building stronger emotional connections. Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds we form with the brands we use and love.
DJ: What else contributes to 'brand intimacy'?
Natarelli: Brand Intimacy is also tied to financial measures. Top intimate brands in the U.S. continued to significantly outperform the top brands in the Fortune 500 and S&P indices in both revenue and profit over the past 10 years according to our Brand Intimacy 2020 Study, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions.
DJ: Are there any key case studies that illustrate these points?
Natarelli: At MBLM, as we’ve watched the pandemic unfold, we've seen several leaders emerge and are highlighting two whose approaches we feel are notable: technology leader, Microsoft, and consumer goods brand, Ben & Jerry’s.
Microsoft has put its energy into helping during the crisis with a humanistic tone. In an article we published in May, we revealed that since 2014, Satya Nadella transformed Microsoft’s culture into a people-focused company, which has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft’s messaging emphasizes the ways it is helping during the pandemic. The company also has a page on its website entitled, “Responding to COVID-19 together” that outlines its significant initiatives. This includes numerous elements from its community support initiatives to online education tools to what the company is doing to help businesses. The site offers comprehensive help to a wide range of stakeholders. The pandemic is also featured significantly in the company’s social media.
Ben & Jerry's
Ben & Jerry’s leadership has also focused on the pandemic in recent months. In another analysis from May, we found that the brand has centered its language around terms such as justice. The company’s website features COVID-19 information including articles on topics such as the plight of undocumented farm workers during the pandemic and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on black Americans. Matthew McCarthy, Ben & Jerry’s CEO, has also taken a very human-centered approach in his open letter regarding COVID-19, which he ends with his appreciation for frontline workers and thanking his employees and fans. The brand also showed its care for franchisees through two grants and also forgiving their marketing fees for February and March. Our Brand Intimacy 2020 Study revealed that Ben & Jerry’s is the #1 consumer goods brand in terms of feeling an immediate emotional connection.
DJ: What can we learn from these examples?
Natarelli: These two brands leading the way and their CEOs have taken a human approach to handling the crisis. We believe that they understand the high emotional stakes and the fear people are facing across the country and are able to communicate messages in a clear and impactful way that helps deepen the bonds between them. As the country continues to reopen, brands in every industry can take a more emotional orientation to their communications and the way they relate to their customers.
More about Microsoft, Covid19, ben & jerry's, coronavirus, Economy
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