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March 20, 2020

Building a Brand During a Time of Crisis

Jane Pfeiffer

If we are in this together, why do we feel so alone? When everything is uncertain it seems natural to retract. Don’t. If your product, service, or more importantly your brand wants to do business after this period of uncertainty, then it’s time to figure out what to do and fast.

  1. Be Sensitive: Every business is affected by the current events. Many are communicating the actions they are taking internally. Very few are thinking and communicating what external help and services they are going to provide to customers during this uncertain time.
  2. What Not To Do: State the obvious or ignore the obvious. Sure, your employees are staying home if they are sick. Everyone is washing their hands. While this is expected, it isn’t worthy of communication. Don’t do the reverse and communicate as if the entire world hasn’t been turned upside down. These are unusual times and customers expect brands to acknowledge it and not continue to push content as usual. Instead of pushing your special offer, shift to tips related to your customers’ life today.
  3. What To Do: Locally, the Louisville Water Company was early and on point. In the first few days, they communicated how they were changing policy in this time of need. Rather than talking about their internal actions, they announced they wouldn’t shut off customers’ water for nonpayment. Regardless of the impact, this crisis is having on an individual, it is truly relevant and comforting to know that Louisville Water understands the urgent need for access to clean water for all residents. A national example is Wonder who is sending thoughtful research related to COVID-19, remote working tips, and a daily distraction. Their email communication is relevant, considerate, and on-brand.
  4. Be Relevant: Media consumption will explode. Brands are canceling media buys which creates affordable inventory options. Don’t go silent. Think of advertising like the stock market, it’s falling, but those who invest now will have huge returns. Take advantage of it on a large or small scale, but recognize that advertising promotions and price points will hurt more than help. Associate your brand with topics that matter. Align with a charity to promote the need for donations. Showcase the simple goodness these unusual days can bring. It’s not about you, but about what your brand is doing now to support customers, employees, and the community.
  5. Be an Advocate: The less you focus on your stress and discomfort, the more time and energy you have to focus on building your brand so it is strong when the world moves into a recovery phase. While the exact date is unknown, that time will come. Will you be ready or slow to start? Make the decision now and then prepare instead of panic. Even then, your brand communication is all about knowing your customers and offering what they want rather than pushing your product. In other words, sell the benefit, not the features.

Using your brand to support others will put you in a stronger recovery position. Listen, learn, then take action from the heart, leading with love and strategy.

Want to talk it through? We’re all ears and happy to help. Schedule time here.

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