So, What CAN Brands Do Now?

So, What CAN Brands Do Now?

8 important shifts that can keep your brand relevant and meaningful in uncertain times.

As people find themselves risking their own health to help others or sheltering-in-place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, brands can provide reassurance in unique and thoughtful ways.

From car manufacturers to restaurants, healthcare systems to hotels, brands are shifting their messaging to offer reassurance, safety, and even new ideas on delivering their products and services.  It’s amazing how quickly they’ve been able to turnaround their messaging and production strategies!  Already, there are best practices being established and amplified throughout the branding and advertising industries.

The following are strategies you can act on quickly to keep your brand relevant and meaningful during these stressful, game-changing times:

  • Communicate in an empathetic tone – start by acknowledging that your audience is experiencing losses and lifestyle changes in ways never felt before. Great brands have relationships with their consumers, and now is the time to communicate from the heart.
  • Production values can be simple – there isn’t the time or the luxury of resources to pour into new brand executions.  The idea is to connect quickly with your customers and let them know you’re there for them in whatever ways are most meaningful.   There have been excellent new commercials featuring infographics, re-purposed video content, and simple interview formats.
  • Corporate/social responsibility is every brand’s responsibility – if there’s ever a good time to be a great corporate citizen, it’s now. Informing people of how your brand is supporting social distancing, its employees, and safety regulations is paramount to being relevant.  Creatively, it can also be unique; McDonald’s, Coke, and others are among those finding interesting ways to convey social responsibilities.
  • A special “shout out” to your employees – For essential businesses, especially in healthcare, a little recognition goes a long way!  There are real heroes out there, working tirelessly and risking their lives, and they should be acknowledged.
  • Shift engagement to today’s channels – it’s rare that consumers are (almost) always at home and resorting to more traditional media vehicles and channels. News ratings are exploding (of course) and readership of social media – even email – is up as well.  There are many details to provide in terms of how your organization and brand is responding to the current situation and there’s a good chance they’re being read.
  • Educate your audience around operations that keep them safe – safety is near and dear to everyone. Whether you’re setting up testing sites outside your hospital or providing contactless interactions in drive-thru’s and grocery stores, it’s imperative to communicate the operational changes your products and services are making to keep your customer’s as safe as possible.  Telehealth has never been more popular and will create a new normal when this storm clears.
  • Embrace remote collaboration and virtual “events” – your brand can still engage its customer’s – you just have to do it on their turf, not yours. It’s amazing how many great, creative ways there are to interact with consumers using videos, apps, and constant updates to your website.
  • Your website has never been more important – with “extra” time and the need for up-to-date information on your brand – especially among service organizations – your web traffic must be exploding. Make sure it’s up-to-date, accurate, and you’re letting your customers know how you’re dealing with this crisis.

When challenged, marketing leaders and brand innovators rise above with creative solutions. This current situation just faces us to think differently, talk empathetically, and connect in new ways.  Keep innovating and be safe.

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