Get brand fit during this crisis

May 1, 2020

Phil Lowery, owner of Projector Brand Communications, discusses how brands can adjust their strategy through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for a new normal

On Monday, March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed 27.1 million people to label the coronavirus pandemic a ‘moment of national emergency’, delivering the draconian instruction for the nation to stay at home whenever possible.

Since that moment, coronavirus has forced us into an entirely new way of living with almost no area of society left unscathed. Digital meetings, online workouts, virtual school lessons and even live-streamed weddings have become our new reality – along with the comeback of banana bread, apparently.

But as the country slowly begins to move out of the initial ‘shock and adjustment’ phase and a lifestyle of social distancing, self-quarantining and remote working becomes the new norm, what can you do to make your brand fit?

Adapt or be trapped: As with all roads to recovery, the first step is acceptance. Brands need to begin by acknowledging that the world we’re living in is different and, therefore, they must also move differently to stay relevant. Change the tone in  your communication output and rethink your key messages where possible. Anticipate your audience’s new needs and address them one by one. Your brand will also need to adapt to the increase in online activity and decrease in out-of- home presence. Ask yourself: are the platforms you normally use still relevant? If the answer is no, then it’s time for a change. Remember, your goal is to remain as relevant and relatable as possible to fit in with the new 2020 plan, whatever it takes.

Put values over value: During most brand workshops, we aim to uncover a true set of values. At the heart of this, we borrow from Simon Sinek’s well-documented doctrine and ask, ‘Why are you in business?’ Asking someone why they’re in business is often met with a wry smile: ‘to make money’, comes the reply. But profit is the result of a well run business, not why the business exists. So we help clients look deeper and harder at the question so that they understand why they exist and what their brand means to people. Knowing why you’re in business and the values you believe in really helps connect with an audience. And sticking to that and what you’re good at will get you through this crisis. By overly focusing on profit or publicity, or pivoting too much, brands put themselves at risk of being seen as opportunistic. So, stand by your values – your relationships will be all the stronger for it.

Plan for a post-COVID-19 world: If the 2008 credit crunch taught us anything, it’s that nothing lasts forever. We must also plan for life beyond the crisis. While this pandemic will eventually wane and life will return to some level of pre- March normality, we can expect some new-found consumer behaviours to stick around for the long term. While it’s still too early to say precisely how life will look once the banana bread runs out, there will inevitably be a new normal. This is what businesses need to start planning for now. Where might future opportunities lie? How can you come out of hibernation ready to go? How will you
talk to new customers and remain connected to existing ones?

If you’re interested in finding out how Projector can help you build your brand, contact Phil on:

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