As the crisis extended, it became more apparent to everyone that constant communication was the only way to support one another, whether within work or at home. Banikarim talks about how when the coronavirus first hit, the business ramped up internal communication, sending employees workplace and product updates, and dedicating a section of the weekly company-wide meeting to coronavirus.
“It’s moments like these where it’s crucial to increase communication as we are all working remotely, and things are changing all the time,” she explains. The business also created a coronavirus internal website hub for employees with work from home tips and other resources. “During this time, nothing has been more important than leading with empathy and transparency,” she adds.
It wasn’t only internal communication that was front of mind for Banikarim at the height of the crisis. She also wanted to focus on what the business could do to help it’s consumers: “in moments like this you have to just go for it and push for ideas that will help people.” Her team set about building new products and features for users that would assist them in their day-to-day lives.
Showing up when things get tough
Nextdoor also partnered with Barclays during lockdown to help “UK businesses directly communicate with new and existing local customers,” as Banikarim explains. Local businesses could post on the Nextdoor platform twice a month for free, with information such as new openings hours, delivery options and special offers. As Banikarim says, “it is vital that big brands collaborate to support consumers, echoing the positive community engagement triggered by the events of the past year.”
It has been proven during this global pandemic that brands that show up for their community are perceived more favourably by it. “Showing up when things get tough is what customers will remember most,” says Banikarim, as she highlights how she believes there has never been a more important moment for brands to step up for their consumers.
Indeed, she reveals that Nextdoor members in the UK are 61% more likely than the average internet user to favour advertising which shows how the brand is responding to the coronavirus and helping customers. But brand value propositions must be rooted in utility, believes Banikarim: “Ask how your brand might add value right now and also promote acts of kindness during this time.”
She points to Walmart in the US who sponsored Nextdoor’s Neighbours Helping Neighbours groups where people could find a neighbour to go shopping at Walmart for them. “This allowed people who needed help to find it, and also reduced the number of shoppers in stores,” she explains.
Consumers, she feels, want to hear from brands, “if you have relevant information and can share it in the right cadence,” she says. “No matter what business you are in or how you are affected by our current crisis, being in touch with your customers is still more critical than ever,” she adds.