What to do with your brand during COVID-19?
Our creative team has prepared a white paper to give brands a quick fix with their communication during these though times we have to face now. This publication includes a few simple steps on what you should do with your brand and its communication during the coronavirus crisis.
A few minutes read, brought to you by DeepInsight Creative, Budapest, Hungary.
Every brand stops for a moment now and wonder how to communicate under such circumstances we have nowadays, what to do and what not to do in the communication. This is a complex issue, but if we stick to a few simple rules we can avoid bigger mistakes, moreover, we can provide positive brand experience for our target group. Is it bad though, that we see a crisis situation as an opportunity for our brand? Not at all.
Sit down and think for a moment, what your brand actually is?
As we have mentioned this many times – and you may as well know – a brand is much more than a bunch of positive features and qualities. It is a living, organic, operating and even a behaving personality, and the most important task for this individual is to try and incorporate into the culture, also to have and maintain a mindful, interesting and relevant conversation, especially with its target group. In other words, it can and will communicate genuinely in different environments and act as an individual personality.
Now, that the cultural environment radically changed, the time of the real brands has come. When you think about your brand, you think about a personality. So, one of the key questions is: how does a genuine personality behave in this tense, slightly one-focused environment to keep its genuine nature and win the love and acknowledgement of its target group?
The thing is, that crisis and a tense situation is always a good opportunity for real brands.
They can show their human and emotional side that builds strong communities.
Act on concepts!
Your communication is divided into two now:
- The first task is to tidy up your service communication: practical, informative content, reflecting on the current situation.
- The next step is to rethink your strategic communication considering one question: “how can I, as a brand contribute to the community now?”.
Step by step
- Communication territories have got rearranged now. Online, especially social platforms come forward. Some forms of communication – e.g. in-store or outdoor – will decrease to the bare minimum, while online will highly level up, because people staying at home will mostly use the internet for two-way communication.
- Number one rule to keep in mind: there has to be communication. Many make mistakes with still pushing heavy sales focused messages, but there are a lot who do the exact opposite and cease all kind of communication until the sea is smooth to sail again. This is a big mistake. Your brand is a living, interacting personality. If it goes silent from out of the blue, it will scare its environment as much as a totally silent person does their fellows. Communication needs to be changed and this is not obvious most of the time, but it’s totally worth the effort.
- Do not panic! Take a deep breath. Acting in a hurry and panicking is contra productive in communication too. Things relevant to your direct target group should be communicated quickly and transparently. If you have no information at the moment, that is also information, so let your people know.
- If you provide services (first of all gatherings, then in person or going there kind of services) that had to be restricted due to government measures, or you could still run the service but you responsibly decided to restrict your own services for the common good, then communicate this honestly, keeping the ‘safety first’ idea in mind.
- Communication, as always can not go against cultural trends and this applies now too. The strongest trend now is the message of ‘stay at home’. One of the key findings of this idea is that you should not, under any circumstances, encourage people to leave their homes now. Even if you provide a service where there is no human contact involved and the environment is fully sanitized, you save that for the times after the crisis. ‘Stay at home’ is stronger than you and your brand, and if you decide to fight the trend, then get ready to be ripped apart on social media.
Get the most out of it!
- If you were using sales and call to action only in your communication before the crisis (come visit us and…), then you have to rebuild your messages now. People consume 3 types of content: content that is a must (think about the kids in home school), content that is useful and finally, content that is entertaining. If you sacrifice your sales focused content now, there is still a lot you can say, which is useful for your target group in this new, unfamiliar situation: things they can learn from, or important to them, or gives a little surprise, or even content that provides interesting, new information. The opportunities are nearly endless to create entertaining content, the point is that it should somehow connect to the brand. (For example, one of your events got cancelled. Those who wanted to attend are sitting at home right now. Have a think on how you could transfer this event into the online space or swop it with a clever solution that works on social media too.).
- You have to put yourself into the situation and the minds of the people you wish to address. It is not going to be too hard, we assume, as you are likely to sit at home now, you struggle with isolation and you might be locked in with others which is also challenging. You have problems piling up and waiting to be solved in hours or days, and you are probably experiencing such an extreme situation, you have never had to deal with before. What would be helpful for a person like this? What is entertaining for them? What do they desire? What do they get upset about? These are the questions you need to answer.
- Help, because you can. It is really uplifting to see how people, businesses and communities stand up and unite to help others in this continuously escalating situation. This kind of selfless help will get its reward sooner or later, and besides the satisfaction and feeling good about yourself, it can also contribute to positive brand image. Optimal case if your way of help is related to the core activity of your brand. Are you one of the leading telecommunication companies? Then give extra data for free to your customers sitting at home. Oftentimes it’s not that easy to figure out though what kind of help we can offer, but trust us: after a short thinking session you will come up with an idea and find the most efficient and useful way to help your community. If your product or service is not ‘help-compatible’ at first glance, then think about how you can efficiently combine your expertise and communication platforms (and your communication team, if you have any), and use this combo to serve the community.
- Not only your target group is your target group now. If you would like to contribute to social life, then try and think outside of your target group too. Louis Vuitton, for example, started manufacturing hand sanitizers, surely not considering their existing customers only. If you can help any part of the community, the whole community will appreciate that, including your target group.
To sum it up, stay calm, think strategically and help your community.
In other words, stay human, as a brand too.
The creative team of DeepInsight