Building and maintaining a brand is no easy task in today’s fast-paced world. On the best days, you must constantly keep up with the trends, maintain social media presence, and work daily to keep your brand relevant. Add a pandemic into the mix, and you can already sense how things can go up in smoke. In this article, we will go through the 9 ways you can protect your brand identity against catastrophes. Let’s start by explaining what a brand identity is in the first place.
A brand identity is essentially the visual and vocal appearance of a brand. Customers associate the colours, sounds, and experiences with a brand. Think of Apple. The first thing that comes to your mind is the famous Apple logo, but you always visualise this logo in a particular way. The apple is dark and right in the middle of a white background. These two colours are associated with Apple, which is part of their visual brand identity. The Apple ringtone is also something we come across all the time, and we immediately recognize it as an Apple product. We have come to associate these visuals and sounds only with Apple, and this is just one example of a strong brand identity.
During catastrophes, consumer trends change rapidly. Non-essential products are dropped almost entirely, and the appetite for brand marketing changes significantly. In this case, your brand can face the danger of being left out or “forgotten.” However, you can take steps to maintain or strengthen your brand image, even without selling products. The key is to keep your brand identity relevant while also addressing customer concerns.
Here are the steps you can take:
1. Maintain strong visual identity in times of crisis
During times of crisis, every brand releases statements and tweaks their visual identity to relate to consumers. This creates a lot of noise in the digital space that people often find confusing. Your brand identity is tied to it’s visual identity. Showing solidarity while also maintaining a clear visual identity simultaneously creates a positive impact on your customers and strengthens your brand identity.
2. Keep up with trends and build scenarios
During catastrophes, the behaviour of people changes rapidly. Therefore, your brand needs to keep up with consumer trends and customer sentiments to keep your messaging relevant.
The easiest way to keep up with your customers is to observe and take part in conversations on social media platforms and other community platforms. Understanding the concerns and sentiments of your customers is the most crucial step to adjusting your brand marketing.
3. Help your customers and communities in trouble
You want people to view your brand identity positively, and the easiest way to do this is to build an image that people associate with good.
Marketing during a major world event without recognizing or addressing your customer’s concerns makes your brand seem out of touch with world realities.
The best and most genuine way to build a positive brand identity is to help the institutions and professionals that are helping in mitigating the adverse effects of catastrophic events. One of the best ways to help is by donating to these entities.
If we consider the example of Covid-19, donations were made by providing free products to institutions that need them, repurposing manufacturing facilities to produce PPE, or supplies, such as hand sanitisers.
4. Adjust your brand messaging
Your brand messaging should reflect the circumstances that your consumers face. For example, using imagery and videos that promote outdoor usage in case of a pandemic is something that should be avoided entirely.
Your marketing should immediately shift to promote a message that encourages your consumers to take precautions and exercise safety measures.
5. Clarify Your Brand’s Position
People’s expectations change in times of conflict, brands can no longer stay silent in the face of political struggles or wars. To maintain a strong brand identity, your brand needs to have a clear position on where it stands in times of conflict.
Confusion in a brand’s position in times of conflict is often eyed with suspicion by consumers. Your customers should have a clear understanding of your brand’s position in any major conflict.
6. Market with empathy
Your brand should present a positive and empathetic image when people are uncertain about the situation. The goal is to use marketing that does not brag but instead communicates with people more subtly.
7. Stay active and engage on social media
During major events, trends and conversations change rapidly. As a result, it can be easy for consumers to forget your brand identity. Stay in touch with your customers on social media platforms. Your social media teams will play a significant role in keeping your brand identity relevant.
8. Become an industry leader in new working environments
Our working habits changed entirely during the pandemic. Companies had to shift from physical workspaces to digital. Being an industry leader in switching working habits really helps your brand as you will have a practical example to show your progress in developing a safe environment. Having a brand identity associated with safety and public health concerns allows you to stay relevant – other brands will follow your example in changing work environments.
9. Brand Rejuvenation
Times of crisis often present the perfect opportunity to make major changes in working habits or marketing strategies. Taking bold moves to create a better environment during catastrophes is something that customers always appreciate. A brand should be ready to embrace changes, and if the opportunity presents itself, making a bold move can go a long way to strengthen your brand identity.
We can learn from past examples of brands that maintained their brand identity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Even an outdoor brand, like Nike, was able to keep its relevance through the pandemic by changing its messaging. During the pandemic, the brand released an ad campaign to promote social distancing during the pandemic. Raising slogans like “Play inside, play for the world,” Nike strengthened their brand identity as their consumers came across their message throughout the pandemic. We also have the example of car companies, such as Ford, Tesla Motors, and GM, that teamed up with medical professionals to aid with producing and supplying PPE and other safety equipment. By taking such steps, these companies continued to stay relevant to their consumers via news coverage, even when the production and sale of vehicles had stopped completely. It might seem like such contributions are something that only larger brands can undertake. However, smaller brands can still play their part by raising awareness and by bringing attention to public guidelines.
Maintaining your brand identity takes a lot of effort. However, keeping up with trends and customer needs is essential to stay relevant. To strengthen your brand identity against catastrophes, your customers must associate your brand with positivity. In essence, you will need to stay in touch with customer concerns. At CDG, we had the opportunity to build and maintain our client’s brand identities through the recent pandemic. As such, we have gained experience in managing brands in uncertain situations. Feel free to contact us here for more information.
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