Staying true to your brand
We all know hindsight is a wonderful thing. During these completely unprecedented times, when we’re all having to constantly make decisions about things we’ve never even considered, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could jump into a Delorean and forward ourselves into 2021? We could look back and know what pitfalls we’re about to fall into, gain some kind of insight into which way our decision-making should go, and perhaps most importantly, know that everything at some point is going to feel ok again.
But sadly, there’s no car, no Doc, no magic way to predict which way is the right way in a situation where there are so many differing opinions, contradictory scientific predictions and all in the face of what often feels like mass hysteria.
We are all basically winging it. Whether it’s managing people in a new remote model, trying desperately to teach your kids algebra or knowing what kind of messages to send to our customers.
As an agency with a variety of clients from global entities like Virgin to independently owned businesses, we are doing our best to support our clients where we can; to get in the trenches if they need us and help them make the right decisions. And what I am observing right now is how the organisations who really understand who they are, who live by their purpose and values seem to be able to make those decisions so much quicker.
Some businesses are in so much pain right now and as someone with a background in travel who has survived a crisis or two, I can hardly bear to think about the nightmare the airlines and travel companies are experiencing. And as a small business owner, only a year into our operation, there are many like me even wondering whether we will survive.
Making clear decisions when everywhere you look spells out bleak is incredibly tough and this is where the lens of the brand can really help. Some of them have really got it right, Mercedes F1, Budweiser, Crocs and L’Occitane. All of these brands have quickly responded to the crisis, putting value before profits and people first.
The problem with any action or brand communication during this time is that there’s a huge red flag around being seen to be capitalising on the crisis. No-one wants to be sold to right now so how do you hit the mark with the right combo of “we’re here to help” and “please keep spending money with us” Even writing this blog has been eyed with suspicion by my own team!
But those who know me well enough know this is authentic me – I am always banging the drum about the power of brand and as an agency whose purpose is to help create a decision making lens for use through thick and thin, I can’t help but feel the need to comment on how useful it is during times of crisis.
So how can you lean on the brand and communicate effectively at this time without being branded a profiteer? How do you help without damaging your brand equity long term?
Here is our view:
- Lean into the essence of your brand; your brand proposition should be built around the positives you uniquely bring to the customer. In times of crisis this should be amplified, not forgotten, Stay focused on who you are, don’t try and be something you’re not. It will fail.
- Bring your brand values to life; use your brand values which should be built around behaviours you’ve all signed up to to help guide decisions about the team.
- Be consistent; businesses who use brand as a pretty wrapper and who don’t do what they say will struggle.
- Connect with your people; a solid brand is connected through its people and culture. When brands get this right, there is clearer alignment amongst the leadership and greater support on those tough decisions from the wider team.
- Use your brand as a decision-making lens; building decisions using your brand should mean you can’t go wrong. Those with a strong brand will know instinctively how to respond,
Now more than ever it’s now time to get behind the brand and walk the walk. The way brands behave in the next few months will shape how people see them for generations to come. Consider how you want that story to be told as you navigate your way through the weeks ahead which we know will be tougher than we can imagine. Coming out of this madness with your trust intact has to be the number one priority and staying true to who you are as a brand is the only way.