How To Create A Brand Strategy In A Critical Climate

In marketing, communication is a daily occurrence. There are messages flowing from every direction, whether internally or client-facing. But, when a crisis occurs, such as COVID-19, it’s time to take a hard look at what your brand is putting out there to be consumed. Being flexible and agile are important facets to marketing. You need to be able to adapt to any situation, from disruptions to weather to what’s currently happening, a global pandemic. So, what’s the strategy when you need to be sensitive to current events but have a need to keep operating as usual? Having a brand strategy in place in the event of a crisis is necessary, and we’ll walk you through the steps. 

Plan For The Worst-Case Scenario

Not all negative events become a crisis. But, when they do, planning and preparation are imperative. First, make sure your employees are taken care of, and the workplace is a safe environment. If it isn’t, then it’s best to send your team home to work, if possible. 

Communicate Sensitively

How your company reacts to a crisis is going to be critical to your success. Have clear cut guidelines on how your teams respond across all of your channels. This virus is going to impact unthinkable numbers of people across the globe. Leveraging any kind of crisis for company gain is distasteful and could cause serious backlash. 

Some best practice tips are:

  • Pause all scheduled social posts
  • Acknowledge the crisis without making light of it
  • Have regular team meetings
  • Stay sensitive, especially during times of panic situations
  • Focus on the user
  • Remain empathetic and not salesy
  • Provide resources and information
  • If you’re a brand that has customer service, add more team members
  • Be prepared to honor requests of refunds and cancellations
  • Avoid fueling the fire of fear. 

During trying times, provide helpful content without wanting anything in return. Make a positive mark on your audience, and they’ll remember that once the crisis has passed. 

Make Smart Strategy Decisions

According to AdWeek, only 1% of companies marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic will get it right. The other 99% will fail, and they will “suffer irreparable brand damage”. Work on your own internal processes. There are always tasks and projects shoved to the backburner during busy times that can be taken and ironed out.

If your company works for brands that have had to hit the pause button during the crisis, consider:

  • Updating old content on your business website
  • Fixing and updating SEO
  • Having post-crises marketing brainstorm sessions
  • Start a podcast or YouTube channel
  • Up your Instagram game
  • Invest a bit more in ad spend
  • Offer goodwill content or services

National and international events like COVID-19 are always unfortunate and scary on both a personal and business level. 

A Shift In The Online Climate

Maybe your clients are restaurants or spas, conferences, or other types of service-related industries are shutting down temporarily. Their business is being halted for a minimum of two weeks. It’s a good time to expand your client base and service offerings. 

Over the course of the pandemic, and even beyond, there will be a significant shift toward companies growing their online presence. Maybe even the companies you’ve done services for like:

  • Restaurants: They’ll be shifting to curbside and delivery and will need to get their message out.
  • Gyms: Live Streaming workouts are going to grow as more people are looking to stay in shape while confined to their homes.
  • Retailers: Their online stores will need to be created and promoted. 
  • Medical: Doctors will be making more video appointments.
  • Lawyers: Similar to doctors, lawyer consults and appointments will be moved to phone or video. 

There is going to be a significant transition across every single industry, especially now that we may be isolated longer than we initially anticipated. Businesses are going to find ways to adjust in order to thrive, and that will include a different direction in their branding and marketing efforts. 

A critical climate calls for heightened measures to mitigate potential financial losses. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, every part of the economy is going to be dealing with the fallout. With the right strategy in place, you will be standing tall once the threat has passed over. 

Looking to rebrand or in need of marketing help? Adapt Studios is a full-service agency specializing in all areas of digital marketing.