With a significant portion of the world sequestered to their homes, people are looking for—and finding—new ways of connection. Co-workers are having happy hours over Zoom instead of at the bar. Friends are tuning into the same virtual dance parties and exercise classes. Chefs are live Instagramming what they’re cooking at home. Since we can’t socialize normally, we’re longing for virtual connections that are more meaningful and direct.

That sentiment rings true for businesses interacting with consumers. Everyone was already sick of promotional emails, and now their inboxes are full of COVID-19-related updates and deals. There’s never been a better time to get personal, check in with your customers, let them know what you can do for them, and build a transparent relationship. There are a number of ways to do this.

Post something from the heart to your company’s Instagram account. Provide an update over text, so that your customers know what you’re offering and how you’re staying safe. Send a plain text email that’s organic and informative, not overly designed and meant for the masses.

Human connection might seem like a trend now, but it’s also a sure bet for the long term success of your business. Authenticity and communication are key factors in building a brand that people trust and understanding the needs of your customers so that you can provide products that continue to sell.

Here are several examples of bona fide messages that are destined to leave customers engaged, comforted, and optimistic about each brand.

This heartfelt email from Anson Mills, a South Carolina-based heirloom grains company, conveys crucial information, tells a personal story, and offers a few recipes that require Anson Mills’ products.

The delivery-only pharmacy Capsule was uniquely positioned to weather the COVID-19 storm. And yet still, founder Eric Kinariwala took a moment to send a sincere note that informs customers of the company’s efforts to ramp up operations while increasing health protocols and also asks them to join in on the mission to get people their medication quickly and safely.

On Instagram, chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill remembers enjoying a giant loaf of bread over the course of a week in Provence, connects that moment to how we’re eating today, then prompts users to purchase his own version at the link in his bio.

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Today, we’re launching The Bread Box, a mega loaf meant to feed your family for the week.⠀ ⠀ I’ll never forget visiting the farmer’s market as a 24-year-old line cook in a town not far from Aix-en-Provence, where a handful of old-school bakers offered comically large loaves for sale. I didn't understand it—why buy a week’s worth of bread (in France of all places) when a beautiful, fresh loaf was available each morning on nearly every corner? For the months I was living there I ignored it, until one day I didn’t. I purchased a monster loaf, just for fun, and brought it back to the basement flat I was living in. (The loaf was wider than my kitchen.)⠀ ⠀ I learned for myself the reason the tradition lives on. The bread changed each day. I remember absolutely loving the first slice (it was still slightly warm, what human being doesn’t love warm bread?); but the first slice turned out not to be the best slice—bread of that size needs to rest a day or longer. I remember standing there in my flat amazed at how, overnight, and each night, the flavor developed, deepening almost magically as I hacked my way through the loaf. I sliced into it twice a day for seven days, and now, nearly 30 years later, I still remember waking up to it in the morning with apricot marmalade and slathering another slice with milk jam each night before bed. It was fabulous.⠀ ⠀ And now in our quarantined moment, it strikes me that the old-time bakers were tapping into something even larger, a deep cultural norm that continued for centuries (until not that long ago) in which French villagers shared a communal oven that fired only once a week. Such large loaves would feed a family for a week. It was a communal event, a ritual—as much as it was a means of sustaining villagers whose resources were limited. ⠀ ⠀ Today, resourceED is bringing the ritual back and toasting a French tradition worthy of revival. ⠀ ⠀ Order at the link in bio. #resourcED

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