Managing your brand in a crisis
When crunch time comes, how you promote your brand in a crisis says an awful lot about your brand. You need to give the average consumer a lot of credit, they can see straight through the ‘BS’ and shoddy attempts to promote yourself or profiteer in a time of crisis will not go un-noticed. Your brand equity is hugely valuable to you and bad decisions now can whip that from under you in a breath. Consumers generally buy with their heart, it’s a gut instinct that allows them to tell good from bad and right from wrong. The problem is that mud sticks, for a while at least, and if you dirty your brand in times like these, it may not be forgotten, particularly if you are higher profile, references being dragged out in months and years to come.
Catch the ads on the major channels and you’ll see the savvy brands have got their messaging just right. Take the supermarkets, they don’t really need to advertise right now but simple messages promoting safe distancing or support for the NHS hit the mark nicely. Showing your brand cares and values your custom at this time will pay dividends in the future. A brand that simply sees an opportunity and acts upon it regardless of the consequences, may make a buck in the short term but will it create any brand loyalty, most unlikely.
What’s even more interesting is those brands that have chosen not to advertise at the moment, conspicuous by their absence across media. This is not solely down to the economic mood change, those brands have chosen not to take advantage of a nation on its knees as they know it could be a PR disaster in the long run and perhaps it’s just not in their nature, they are ‘good’ brands. They will choose their moment to re-emerge carefully, in a planned strategy to embrace the nation once again and inevitable survive this storm we are in, their brand loyalty intact.
On a smaller scale I came across a wholly pertinent rant on Linkedin last week. A chap posted that he had been sent a heartfelt message from a company wishing him well during this time and hoped his family were all safe. Whilst the sentiment was nice, the chap said I’ve never bought anything from this company or had any contact with them, he’d joined a database at some time, however he saw the message as a blatant attempt to sell him something, it didn’t go down well and good chunk of the Linkedin community saw it too.
If we were to offer a bit of free advice, if you want to take care and nurture your brand, now is the time to look within and evaluate your ethos, messaging and brand loyalty. How you act now reflects one hundred percent on who you are as a brand and it should be echoed by the people you work with, giving them strength and purpose. We’ve a little more time on our hands, the world has a different outlook and we do need to look to the months ahead when ‘business as normal’ resumes, get ready, get your brand ready.