How to talk to customers in a Global Pandemic?
Recently, I took part in Vogue's first Zoom conference. In one session focused on e-commerce, the panelists Virgil Abloh, Stephanie Phair, and Remo Ruffini shared their views on the impact of coronavirus to brands online. They continued to revisit the question of how to speak to customers during this strange time, emphasizing the need to connect on a human level. Intuitively, this idea makes sense: amidst a global pandemic with unemployment mounting, very few people want a luxury brand to be hawking its wares online without any sensitivity to the crisis.
I left the call inspired, wondering about how brands could use this uncertain environment to evolve for the better. And as a data scientist, I wondered if I could validate the idea that brands needed to connect with their customers more intimately now than ever before. I turned to Instagram to explore this question, as it is a platform where many brands connect virtually with their consumers, and pulled the three hundred most recent posts for each of 45 different brands. Using this data, I was able to demonstrate that connecting with people drives engagement and identify which brands were better (and worse) at adapting.