The economic crisis following COVID-19 has presented unprecedented challenges for businesses, with many wondering how (or even if) they should market their brand. But even in this downturn, we’ve made an exciting discovery – people are beginning to turn to brands, and some to brands with which they’ve never engaged, for help like never before. From this discovery, we’ve developed four critical steps you can take today to use your brand in a new and positive way. These are steps that could not only help consumers get through this crisis, but help your brand come out of this crisis ahead.
Take four steps to rescue your brand, today!
Here is what we’ve discovered with our own clients. These days, our most successful clients are not just about doing business as usual. More than selling a valuable product or service, they’re interested in showing up for their audience in a new way.
We know what kind of world consumers are living in right now. Economic upheaval has Americans facing more uncertainty than ever before. We’re seeing the results as COVID-19 is splintering consumers into new groups with new behaviors that are radically re-prioritizing their purchases. They’re buying less, and saving more. Aside from toilet paper, masks, and hand sanitizer, trends in spending are erratic and all over the map.
We see this as a key signal consumers are calling on business to be a top-line solution in their life. And here’s the good news. By helping consumers, you’ll be helping yourself.
Reaffirming your brand’s presence, its strength and resilience demonstrates to hesitant audiences why they should trust and stick with your brand.
Showing up for your consumers
You might have heard this before – ‘Your brand is more than a business.’ To consumers, your brand could represent a lifestyle, security, the key to make their life easier and more enjoyable. Your brand could be the symbol of a more prosperous future.
So how can you help? Here are four critical steps you can take for your brand, today:
- Show up
- Project strength and stability
- Be empathetic
- Be consistent
Just like consumers, your business is busy making adjustments. We’ve found that businesses who count on us to message that story, and tell it often, are engaging with their audiences in a new, more authentic way. This could be anything from demonstrating how a brand is trying to make a difference in the world. Even shout-out a message of solidarity. Making a commitment to social responsibility, to making the world safer, or easier, or more enjoyable. What is your brand’s message? Shout it out and stay true to that message.
The possibilities here are limitless. How are you going beyond meeting health and safety policies? Does your business support first responders? Are you giving employees paid leave? With what unique leverage does your brand make the world a better place.
We strongly encourage you to go deep here. Don’t skimp on the specifics. In the end, these are the little stories that can add up to something much larger – something more than just business – something good.
Projecting strength, your brand could become a pillar during a crisis
Constant and rapid shifting markets indicate the strongest brands are those who demonstrate dynamic problem solving, efficiency, the ability to adapt quickly and use change to our advantage.
Right now, these behaviors are hitting the target. Perhaps it’s because brands that project strength can also help people make sense of the world. A brand’s strength could provide something to grab onto, a point of reference by which consumers can measure the world and all its changes. Just imagine if your brand was the compass people used to navigate their world!
What does this mean for your business? There are many ways to project the behaviors of a strong brand. Here, we’ve found honesty is the best policy – being open about the challenges and opportunities your business is facing and how you are overcoming them. We are always amazed how the narrative of strength can lift spirits and build empathy.
A key element here is keeping the message of your brand’s strength genuine. We don’t like self-serving brands. Rather, we love and gravitate to brands that are relevant, meaningful and helpful for others. Brands that help themselves, seem to only help themselves. Whereas brands that help others, help others, and themselves. It’s a win/win!
First comes empathy. Empathy builds loyalty
One of the things we love doing the most for our clients is to tell our audience’s story. We believe telling an audience’s story is a privilege, to get it right demands empathy. And there’s no faking empathy. To us, real empathy means more than just knowing your audience, knowing their struggles and difficulties of an audience. It means predicting an audience’s struggles, skipping lip service and providing meaningful solutions to real problems.
Additionally, we’ve found that predicting an audience’s struggles goes hand-in-hand with predicting an audience’s mood. Which can be a tricky flipside to empathy.
For example, 73% of consumers interviewed in a Mitto survey agreed that, during Covid-19 the increase in messages they received from many brands was appropriate. But failure to think dynamically about that messaging can be just as damaging. 41% of the same group in that study also said they were now weary of pandemic-related messaging and were ready to move on.
This indicates that brands who continue with the same messaging without considering their audience could have the opposite effect of empathy. Nobody wants to come off sounding tone-deaf or even patronizing.
We believe this is a crucial moment for brands – to really be there for consumers in a genuine way. Brands that disappear when they are needed the most could run the risk of being forgotten. Brands that fail to act with true empathy during this crucial moment could run the risk of being remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Consistent, resolute messaging
We love to see brands knock it out of the park. But it’s especially heartbreaking when brands sabotage themselves by pulling the rug out from under their audience. This is why we’re so keen on providing our own clients with consistent messaging.
When we craft our client’s marketing strategy, consistency is one of the top-line elements we focus on. Our goal is to keep even the brand’s assets consistent across every channel. From the brand’s digital presence to printed materials. We’ve even included core messaging on some business cards.
Our goal is to make something people can count on. And that means right down to the font. If a brand is an experience, then even a funny smell can ruin the experience. We want consumers to rely on our brands, to be a foundation amid uncertainty and constant change.
Everything is up in the air right now. We don’t even know if our kids are going back to school in the fall. If your brand has a chance to step in and provide stability, let’s make that happen.
Let us know how we can help. We want your businesses to show up for people, not just as a business, but as a helping hand and something that people can depend on. We believe there is good work to be done, and all businesses have a role to play. What is yours?