With employees working from home and industries pausing operations, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound global impact. Overnight, business strategies and leadership were put to test as authorities announced lockdown as the only means to flatten the curve. Millions of people across the globe had to adjust to the new model of working from home to keep the operations afloat.
2020 has changed things for marketers and brands in a way we could never have imagined. The brands that were traditional marketing-oriented are also now moving progressively towards digital. Many companies adopted digital ways of working overnight. As the markets unlock, while we cannot predict many things, one thing is for sure that Digital is the way ahead – in terms of marketing and mode of work.
COVID-19 and its challenges are profound but not limited to a specific country or industry. Among many things, it has changed the way businesses function and operate, connect, and advertise. It has been more than 6 months since the lockdown was first implemented. After surviving the unprecedented times, now, the branding and marketing industry is all set to help the brands make their comeback into the markets. Brands are cautiously but progressively starting to confide in marketing again, embracing the changing times, brands are seen preparing for this new quarter ready with plans that help them win the customer’s confidence back.
Usually, wars, epidemics, and pandemics trigger recessions, slow businesses, and growth. However, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing every conglomerate to rethink and re-strategize. It is time we change the approach and embrace the importance of narrating a brand story, creating a unique image, and carve a niche with an empathetic yet positive brand voice.
In this article let’s discuss the intangible values a brand can provide to its customer to strengthen its brand image.
A Digital Bridge Connecting The Outside World
Situations like lockdown or work-from-home are strange circumstances, clouded by confusion and uncertainty, it craves the need for reliable information. As a brand, 'informative' and 'empathetic' messages adhering to the latest policy change/update or adding value by replacing an in-person experience by a virtual interaction will always be remembered. Branding is not a visual element of a brand, it is also what and how you communicate your message.
For example One of the biggest fashion federations, FHCM’, hosted their first-ever virtual fashion week. Delivering fashion enthusiasts an immersive virtual experience. Collections were presented digitally and without audiences. They stayed true to their brand value but took a creative approach while respecting social distancing rules.
Communicate To Reduce Anxiety
Proactive communication from a brand’s end helps reduce the surrounding anxiety and gives consumers a greater sense of control. Airlines, hotels, and resorts who are at the forefront of the pandemic proactively inform their customers about refund, cancellation policies, updated sanitation and hygiene protocols to address the anxiety brought on by the current situation.
Traditional stores and e-commerce companies can reduce anxiety by providing greater transparency on the availability of stocks, social distancing measures, and delivery rather than taking orders and later cancelling them. Companies must ensure a clear and transparent communication to reduce further confusion and hysteria. One of the best ways is to release a formal statement and add it to your mobile app and website.
Promote Care & Wellness
In a crisis, consumers’ actions and decisions are guided by perceived risk. Especially in unprecedented times like ours, it is common for them to be anxious about their safety. As a brand, you must recognise the pain points and set up a clear yet empathetic channel of communication.
Food delivery companies like Zomato and Swiggy are attempting to reduce the risk of contamination through contactless deliveries, constant temperature checks while certain regional news channels are providing a live epidemic map to help people avoid areas affected by the spread of coronavirus.
In difficult times, it is crucial to transcend beyond your product/service and spread a message of compassion and wellness, showing your brand personality. Instead of promoting gyms and fitness classes, focus on values like wellness, resilience, and positivity.
These actions humanize your brand and shed a positive light, hence improving the perception of your brand.
Entertainment And Engage
One of the most substantial rises is witnessed in screen time. While some have gravitated towards traditional channels like Tv, others are surfing the internet for entertainment and engagement. Platforms like Amazon Prime which was once targeted towards the working professional are now focusing on every segment of a household during the outbreak.
For brands and OTT platforms it is an opportune moment to acquire new customers, tailor their offerings to the current times while testing new content to identify future consumption patterns. A delightful experience will ensure customers stay hooked. With digital being the future, brands that have invested in great content and user experience will stand to gain disproportionately.
CSR Is Not An Activity Rather A Priority
Customers value a brand’s ability to overlook its profit and help other people or society at large. Companies that link their vision, and mission to a greater good, provide this value to customers. This could be done by donating, crowdfunding, or asking for people’s help by digitally serving as volunteers. Even the simple act of applauding and supporting health workers holds meaning beyond the self.
With gloomy economic forecasts and thousands of layoffs in every sector of every industry, businesses and governments must consider whether their actions and communications deliver those types of value. If not, refrain from taking any action or releasing a formal statement, pretence will do more harm than good. Empty promises and fake concern will project negative impressions or, worse, make consumers even more anxious.
These difficult times shall pass too, and consumers will look back at these actions and remember those that stepped forward and helped – from a small restaurant that distributed free food to a Multinational Corporation that rose to the occasion and delivered on the challenging tasks.
Consumers will also remember the companies who treated their customers and employees well. In the middle of everything, we must not forget that we have a rare time frame where business is picking the pace yet not all-consuming. It is also an ideal time to think about rebranding and tailoring your brand to the changed times.
If you wish to rebrand your own business whether it is logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specializes in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.
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