Katie Lamberg Sevenseven

Written by Katie Lamberg in Branding

Adapting your brand through the emotional and behavioural impacts of COVID-19

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With the effects of COVID-19 being broadcast 24/7 across all media channels, it’s a priority to look after family and loved ones. It's also important to be aware of how these uncertain times will change the way we live and work, possibly forever. The ability to learn from these changing times and respond accordingly will help in the weeks, months and years ahead.

There is no doubt that today is a time of great uncertainty across both family and business life, and although it may seem insensitive, done in a caring and honest manner it can also be one of opportunity. Right now, understanding how customer behaviour is changing in relation to your brand, services or products should be at the centre of your business strategy. Without this insight, it will be progressively difficult to make informed decisions about how best to react.

We're all having to cope with physical and psychological challenges and changes. Lockdowns have reduced social interaction and freedom of movement, whilst increasing fear, anxiety and pressure to carry on working whilst caring for children and loved ones. Now is the time to be sensitive and focus on what your brand or business can do to help. Brands that stand up and add value are the ones that people will remember. Everyone's talking about the companies that have switched production. Whether it's companies distilling gin that have adapted to making hand sanitisers like Tappers Gin on the Wirral, or the truly inspirational children making PPE at home with their 3D printers, it's these snippets of positivity and adapting that will be remembered.

Adapt your brand to your customers' needs

Businesses should be adapting by reviewing their business models and strategies. Looking at how they can better serve their customers, whether that's changing physical products to digital formats or selling direct online. The marketplace has shifted and with the restrictions people are exclusively shopping online. This may be temporary or it may change how we interact with brands forever. Adapting your business to sell and deliver your product, service or experience online should be a key change to your business model.

Should we just turn brand communications off?

It's easy to turn all your brand comms off, especially with all the uncertainty. On the other hand promoting positivity and boosting morale is a much better response. Adapt your messages to the situation and connect with your audience and what they're facing. Now is not the time to go quiet, or to profit from the situation by exploiting it. Be sensitive and supportive, now is the time to show the caring nature of your brand.

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The latest information from Statista shows the huge growth across all media during the Coronavirus pandemic, a staggering 40% increase in social media usage. People are looking for distractions, entertainment and to be more informed. Think about how your business can connect through social media by giving something back or addressing some of your customer pain points such as working from home.

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Case Study

It's all well and good saying you need to adapt your strategy but let's see it in action. One of our clients, The Fox at Roby Mill, is a restaurant gastropub in Lancashire. When COVID-19 hit it would have been easy although extremely damaging and painful for them to close the front doors, sit back and wait for the pandemic to run its course. They didn't. They looked at their customers, their pain points and how they could help. Initially, they helped by supplying grocery boxes, utilising their direct access to everyday food supplies, especially for the elderly and vulnerable. Then they looked at how they could help their loyal customers further and are now offering a takeaway menu and even Friday Fish & Chips over the phone and placing orders in customers car boots allowing for social distancing. They've adapted by focussing on their customers' needs and current situations. Not only is it keeping their business ticking along, but their actions are building a brand locally that is trusted and respected, which is priceless when building a brand.

Conclusion

Whether we emerge from the pandemic soon, or if we're all in it for an extended period, your business should be communicating and trying to stand out for all the right reasons. Your customers are online and wanting to hear from you, yet ensure your message is sympathetic to their situation. Be the brand that cares and is proactively trying to help and inform. Building your brand now will be a huge positive for when the world emerges from COVID-19. Historically strong brands recover faster as shown in the data from the great recession of the late 2000's.

If you would like to discuss how your brand can adapt, and create a marketing strategy based on research and insight to help your business, get in touch today and we'll be more than happy to help. We're available via telephone, Skype and Zoom.

#stayhome #worktogether

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