Following my blog last week about what the Coronavirus situation might look like by June, I want to say a few words about how your brand can stay relevant to customers in the increasingly unstable and changeable world we are now living in.
The last thing anyone would want is for a brand to talk to them about their products and try to sell them anything at this time. So, what should you be doing?
Respond in a human way
The best brands are responding in a human way, with compassion and empathy.
During this time people are out of their normal routines. Their patterns of behaviour are changing. We’re all in distress mode, and as such are more likely to pay attention to the brands that engage with us in the right way.
The right way is to avoid being perceived to be a crisis profiteer. Instead lead with the emotional journeys of your customer, with your purpose and the power of your personal brand.
I have been thinking a lot about brand, and the correct way to approach both business branding and personal branding due to the book I’m currently writing – BrandTuned – How to Perfect, Protect and Promote your Brand.
As I’ve done this, I’ve truly understood what brand is really all about. So, I’ve been looking deeply into my motivations and values, and defining my brand purpose which is to change the way brands are created so they properly reflect the business environment of the 21st century, and can therefore succeed with their own purpose and their own aims.
.If you haven’t given your brand the deep thinking it needs, now might be a good time to do so, and I’m giving you an opportunity to join my BrandTuned Facebook group to access the free webinars and discussions I will be hosting.
Behaviour changes during times of crisis
Interestingly, it’s easier to be seen during a recession than during a boom when there is a lot of noise. Right now, there is a shock going through the economy which makes people more responsive.
When we are going about our normal routine activities and the world is certain with established traditions, we tend to make decisions in auto pilot.
Decision making is simple because we know what works, and we don’t have to think too hard about our responses. We tend to tune out most messages in order to cope in a noisy world.
It’s similar to when you’re learning a new skill, such as how to ride a bicycle. You have to concentrate hard and put in a lot of effort and work into the activity initially. However, once you master the skill, you no longer need to think about what you’re doing. Instead, your actions become automatic and routine. You’re on autopilot, and just do it.
Right now, as this virus has thrown our worlds upside down, we have fewer established routines. We are having to adapt to the changes. The new situations we find ourselves in call for different decision making to emerge.
This very instability presents a great role for your brand.
Brand management in this scenario of changing contexts and emerging new habits, means avoiding any actions that would be perceived to be inappropriately opportunistic.
Even companies that supply relevant health products are reluctant to mention Coronavirus, in case they are seen as profiting from the crisis. Instead, they are investing in relationships with customers, and potential customers.
Jo Wicks provides an interesting example of how a response to the crisis can widen your exposure. He has turned from body coach to the PE teacher of the nation after setting up online classes to help keep kids active while they are at home. It’s a 30-minute session for little kids right up to secondary school. Get involved, have fun. As he puts it “You don’t need a lot of room. I’m going to take care of it. This is happening. I am going to be the nation’s PE teacher.”
How business leaders are responding
What I’m seeing from the business educational leaders, is that they’re driving people to online communities where they deliver value in the form of webinars and live question and answer sessions without charge. They are providing support to help people get through this crisis, answering their questions whether on webinars or posted within the groups, or in other ways.
Consider how your brand can develop deeper consumer relationships. How can you become a trusted source of accurate information or consumer-centric advice during this period of uncertainty and anxiety? How can you play an enhanced role in people’s lives?
The key is to avoid acting in ways which would be perceived as wanting to take advantage of a crisis.
Now is a great time for seizing that opportunity because the world has shifted and people are having to change their normal behaviour.
Another behaviour to avoid is going into cost containment mode, which is a normal response during times of stress, wanting to quietly weather the storm.
What about you?
Remember you have a window of opportunity right now to earn the trust of customers by staying present, and delivering value during this period of heightened anxiety, when people are more receptive because they are out of their normal routines. Their patterns of behaviour are changing.
It’s easier to be seen right now than during a boom because there is a lot less noise. Right now there is a shock going through the economy which makes people extremely open to new ideas and concepts.
We are out of our normal routines, so we are listening rather than in auto pilot mode ignoring most messages.
This is a great time therefore, to lead with the emotional journeys of your customer, lead with your purpose and the power of your personal brand, and reinvent your product and your pricing model to adapt to an online world.
Don’t miss this opportunity to send a unifying or emotionally resonant message. Remember, consumers are deeply uncertain and ready for your unique message.
Our response at Azrights will depend on what you want, what your questions are. Do reply to [email protected] to let me know. In the meantime, join one of our Facebook groups if they resonate with you.
Join Our Facebook groups
As I’ve been thinking a lot about how to achieve our purpose of changing the way brands are created so they are designed for the 21st century, I can see two clear ways in which I can support you.
One is through a Facebook group for professional services people. My vision for this group is twofold. Firstly, to support one another with engagement on social media. Secondly, through the book I’m currently writing I have understood why it is so important for all of us to think about our personal brands and profile. This makes sound business sense. So, if you’re a professional who would welcome understanding more about personal branding, I can support you without charge. Please use this link to apply to join the group.
The other is through a Facebook group for founders and managers looking to double down on their brand during the current slow-down. Now is a good time to work on the business and personal brands of the founders and leaders of businesses.
Please apply to join the group that is most appropriate to you. You will be asked 3 questions before being admitted to the group. If you are not providing Professional services then you will not be admitted to that group.