As the uncertainty of the last few months seems set to extend into the foreseeable future, brands face a challenge. How do we shape communications that are sensitive to the current situation but also make sense for life beyond the pandemic? As we work through this very question with our clients, here’s what we’re learning.
1. Don’t hibernate
Even though consumers may not be making their usual purchase decisions at the moment, it’s vital to stay front-of-mind as they plan for the future. There are still plenty of opportunities to tell your story and build trust amongst your customers. With the right attitude and messaging, you can emerge from this period having strengthened relationships with your audience.
2. Provide solutions and emphasise innovation
What is it about your brand that customers might value right now? What new problems or priorities do they have as a result of the pandemic and how can you leverage your USP to bring them what they need? Maybe it's honesty and flexibility, maybe it’s a sense of humour to cut through all the seriousness. Crisis necessitates innovation, so lean into the positives and become part of the solution. Just make sure it's consistent with your existing brand identity - don't pivot to something totally new.
3. Lead with brand
Opportunity to make sales is going to be slowly returning, and those that have thought carefully about their brand and continued to invest in it will be in a good place to reap the benefits on their bottom line.The focus needs to be on brand messaging, starting with an empathetic tone of voice and building on what your brand means to people to create value.
4. Prepare to be agile
In a world where today could look very different from next week, a campaign or marketing strategy is unlikely to succeed unless we’re ready to think on our feet. When new contexts that could affect your message are emerging on a rolling basis, the best way to absorb their impact is prioritising open channels of communication within the creative team and the ability to flex. We got a giggle from Brewdog’s Barnard Castle beer which did just that: they rushed out a product while the news cycle was still going, and used their “punk” brand positioning to give people a laugh when they needed it.
5. Strike a balance when referencing Covid-19
Incorporate the “new normal” (i.e. social distancing, more time at home) into your imagery and messaging but don’t rely on it if you want to outlast the pandemic. When the world moves on, a campaign based around cultural signifiers too closely related to lockdown conditions will quickly feel out-of-date and irrelevant.
The last few months have not been easy for anyone, but the opportunity for stand-out creative thinking and for brands to make a real difference in the lives of consumers has never been so great. We’d love to help you rise to the challenge; whether you have some ideas for great video content or you want to talk strategy, you know where to find us.