MindFire Communications, Inc.
How to stay true to your brand during a world crisis
April 14, 2020 | Erik Meade

The world is facing an unprecedented pandemic. As doctors, nurses and medical personnel fight on the front lines, people across the globe are hunkering down to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It’s a scary time – not only for our health and well-being, but for businesses too. We know many businesses are wondering how to proceed. And as brand experts, we’re firm believers that a strong brand is even more important during a crisis. It’s those critical relationships with customers that are going to help your business now and stand out when this is over.

With that in mind, we’re sharing a few tips of how to stay true to your brand during this time:

Show. Don’t tell.

It’s about walking the walk. You can’t just say you care, you have to show it. Sending well wishes or putting up a “we’re in this together” post on social is fine, but likely won’t move the needle for your brand if there isn’t any action behind it.

So, what can you do to help your audience and/or the local communities in which you work at this time? Are these actions clear? You want your audience to understand what they have to do to take advantage of any opportunities you’re offering at this time. Have you listed offers on your website, sent emails to relevant parties and/or shared on your social pages?

For example, APQS recently encouraged all of their followers (who are avid, talented quilters) to raid their fabric stashes and begin making homemade facemasks. The response? Cue hundreds of quilters across the country making hundreds of masks, posting photos and sharing tips.

How are you going above and beyond to help your customers and your community? The brands that are taking action and helping during this time will be remembered and become top of mind when this blows over.

Be ready to get creative and pivot.

The brands who are adapting during this time will be the ones who stand out. A huge shout-out to our friends at Mississippi River Distilling Company, who are making hand sanitizer for local healthcare and government entities and offering bulk orders for purchase to the local public.

Change is not easy, but it’s critical to do right now. How can you pivot to better serve your audience? What can you share that would be beneficial?

Mississippi River Distilling Company makes sanitizer

Hit pause on the old sales tactics. Add a personal touch.

This is the perfect time to show that you’re not a robot (honestly, you should never come off that way unless you’re in “Westworld”). We are human. We are going through a very scary time, and it is challenging. Show your empathy. Show your feelings.

How you do is up to you, but we have some ideas:

  • 1:1 video chats to check in with your customers
  • Find and provide “value add” service to existing customers
  • Create and finetune a virtual workflow to nurture/reach out to new leads (email campaigns coupled with phone calls are a great place to start)
  • Go live on social media to share what you’re doing and connect with your audience
  • Send personal emails to your key stakeholders
  • Create an animated video to share on social that provides more info about your business, including any actions you’re taking to help the local community and what you’re doing during this time (beside binge-watching “Tiger King”)

Revisit your content and upcoming campaigns to make sure they’re appropriate.

You don’t want to sound tone-deaf. Take a good look at your website and messaging. Does it align with your brand? For example, your website shouldn’t be telling your audience to VISIT NOW when your location is closed.

Make sure you’re clearly communicating who you serve, what problems you solve and how an audience can work with you (even if that’s in the future or just through email and video chats currently). Even sharing a joke in good taste is helpful during these tense times.

Share your expertise.

Now is the time to be generous with your knowledge. The whole premise of content marketing is providing free expertise as a way to funnel potential leads to make the decision to do business with you. Now that is more relevant than ever. Start brainstorming what content pieces you can create to meet your potential customer’s question with an answer before they even ask. For example, our customers were asking about branding during this time…so we wrote this post!

Can you share a lesson that would help professionals or kids at home learning? We don’t know what you know, so now is the time to share that. Make a fun video or roll out some online learning tips. Or even something as simple as a white paper on a topic your customers frequently have questions about could be valuable.

What can you do across your social channels to inspire your audiences? This starts with social listening and engaging with your customers. What are they saying and asking for and how can you deliver on that?

We know it’s a difficult time, and we’re here (at a social distance working from home) to help.

Have more questions about branding during a crisis? Drop us a line.

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