8 Tips to Maintain Your Brand During the COVID-19 Pandemic
It can be difficult to know what to do at times like this when it comes to your brand and communications. If you overthink it can lead you to no action and if you don’t think enough you run the risk of damaging what you have already built.
Here are 8 tips to maintaining your brand through uncertain times.
Provide empathy and compassion
We are all in this together as individuals first, business professionals second. Connect to your audience on a human level, provide empathy, compassion and authentically show up when promoting your brand. Showing empathy and compassion doesn’t have to be a direct addressing of the current global plight but instead showing you care by supporting a local charity or business, providing entertainment or education or even just making them laugh. Branding has always been about emotional connection and the perception your target audience has of your brand, this is more true now than ever.
Give support and expertise
Support your audience wherever possible and utilise your expertise to help them during this time. This can be by doing things like some fitness sites are doing by opening up their membership for 30,60,90 days for free or using your manufacturing facilities and processes to support health workers and the general public as Gilette are doing making by face masks. By being supportive and using your expertise to find ways you can be of service to your audience or community you will not only be a brand that is remembered for what you did during this pandemic but it will go a long way to motivating you and your team. A good way to think about how you can help is to re-connect with your brand purpose (your brand’s reason for being aside from making a profit) and using this statement to work out ways you can be supportive using your expertise that ties into what you stand for as a brand.
Whatever you do remember it doesn’t have to be on the scale of Gilette or Joe Wicks it just has to make sense to your brand’s core purpose and what your audience needs or could use from your specific skill set right now.
Overdeliver on customer service
Your audience will remember the brands that were with them and helped them through this period. The converse is also true. The worse thing you could do at the moment is underdeliver on customer service and support. People are feeling uncertain at the moment and in a lot of cases highly emotionally charged and although we are also individuals first and business professionals second when we are interacting with customers we need to remain calm and level headed. People may vent at you when they wouldn’t normally or have shorter fuses when it comes to complaints or technical help but we need to remember it isn’t us and it isn’t the brand causing that frustration, anger and anxiety for your audience it is the situation. By overdelivering on customer service and showing empathy, compassion, support and expertise your brand will be something that feels reliable, strong, steadfast and caring all of which will then be associated with your brand by that customer.
Take some time to focus on your brand
If you find yourself with some time to use to focus on business development then an evaluation of your brand could be really useful right now and by taking stock of your brand you can better understand how you are going to adjust your short term, and long term strategy. You can go deep and look at your brand purpose, vision, mission, values and positioning and ascertain how you can build out the brand in this climate, how you can pivot, how you can adjust your offering or extend your brand and product range or you can focus on adjusting your content strategy and marketing. Either way if there has something that you have been meaning to update be it a re-brand, website redesign, marketing funnels set up or launching a new product now could be a good time to put some resources into this or at least some planning.
Foster connection and maintain culture with your audience, colleagues and remote team members
Most of us now are remote working and feeling the feelings of isolation. Keep making new connections, call existing customers and meet virtually with your team. Maintaining company culture or building company culture can be difficult at the best of times but now it is doubly hard and doubly important. Even if you are a small team or currently are only a call team due to cuts maintaining some culture remotely centred around what your brand’s mission is, what it stands for and your core values can help to remind you and the rest of the team what it means to be a part of this brand.
Remain visible and active on social platforms and in emails. Your brand is still important to people, and long term you want to be remembered. It feels counterintuitive to be trying to remain visible but it is important to maintain the brand awareness you have worked hard to build up. The amount you post is up to you and the content of those posts as long as they are in keeping with the above points and with your brand then there is no reason to not remain visible. Your audience can unsubscribe or un-follow you if they want to but if what you are sharing is bringing them value, sharing your expertise, being supportive, empathetic, compassionate and or fostering connection then most of the time your posts will be important to your audience. Also by remaining visible you again position yourself as a leader who is reliable, caring, strong and supportive.
Be consistent and reliable
In uncertain times we look to things that provide reliability and structure. Consistently show up and be reliable, strong and steadfast. As in the previous point being consistent and reliable is reassuring for your audience.
Resource and build confidence in yourself and your team
Focus on the things you can control, resource yourself and take stock of where you are and what you need to do to make it through this.