BrandMatters Managing Director, Paul Nelson, discusses the need for businesses to refine or redefine their brand narrative in COVID-19 times.
In the past few months, the world has seen a massive shift in the way consumers live, consume, shop, interact and go about their daily lives.
There are very few brands who have not been affected in some way, shape or form by this crisis. Businesses have needed to be agile, change direction, evolve strategy and rethink their futures. A lot of this change needed to take immediate effect. As a result, your brand narrative may need refining, or perhaps a complete overhaul.
Once your organisation has dealt with the actions, responses and communications both internally and externally in relation to COVID-19, it is a perfect time to reflect on your brand and refine the brand narrative for what will be the new normal. It is time for brands to really put themselves in their client’s shoes. You can focus on what your core target audience needs and wants from you at this point and beyond.
It is important to prepare your brand for a pivot, have contingencies in place and make sure your brand positioning is in line with your next moves. If your response to this crisis is not aligned with your brand, it will appear unauthentic and will not resonate (at worst it may result in customer backlash).
Revisiting and refining your brand narrative can ensure your brand remains relevant during this crisis and beyond. At this time, consumers and employees are feeling vulnerable, uncertain and need reassurance. Brands need to lead with focus on their culture and their narrative needs to be reflective both internal and external. It is important that brands demonstrate their values, both to their customers as well as their employees.
A recent article categorised brand narrative into three distinct phases during the COVID-19 crisis as outlined below:
Many agile brands have been able to easily adapt their messaging through these phases, but the third phase is of particular importance. Restating brand purpose needs to lead the way into the new future. Some brands may find obvious synergies in their past values and what they can do to respond to the crisis, but others may need to dig a little deeper to find the right approach.
Refining or redefining your brand narrative may be an essential next step.
It is time to take stock, weigh up the options and make your strategic moves. Unfortunately, during a crisis these strategic moves need to happen quickly. The key to getting this right is to dig deep into your brand values and core purpose to ensure your marketing and messaging is aligned with your targets’ needs and addresses their new pain points. It is vital to rely on the experience and knowledge of your best people to lean in and make informed decisions. The CMO’s role is vital in steadying the ship, navigating the changes and communicating the brand message.