Crisis Brand Strategy - 4 important steps towards a crash-proof brand
Updated: May 24, 2020
How to position your business and remain relevant?
Community support message from NIKE for Covid-19
The current COVID-19 crisis has caught many businesses and brands by surprise. The sudden shut down of non-essential services has put a great number of companies under pressure and in positions of instability and unpredictability.
But do not get desperate. These are times of great opportunity and all starts by asking this:
How can I position my brand so I remain relevant, keep business afloat and get ready for the market bounce back (because it will certainly happen)?
1. Use the power of prediction and technology
The world moves in circles. Generally, many brands get caught in bad situations due to their lack of ability to predict the market, to keep the pace and stay ahead of the curve. With a major shift towards the digital world over the past 10 years, still many brands have had a certain level of resistance to adapt to platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn and Youtube.
If you are a new brand, then you should have no issues moving on to these channels. Create a podcast, launch a series on Youtube, develop an app, publish a book or a course. But even more so, USE DATA. By collecting data from these platforms you will be able to understand market cycles and your consumers better. And In case you are an older brand with lengthy heritage, now it is the perfect time to bring some fresh air and be up to date again.
Always ask yourself:
How can I improve brand and consumer experience?
A good way to prepare and re-position your brand for the near future is to implement some of these technologies consistently. Make sure your brand is present in all major platforms, and also make sure to take advantage of every bit of technology you have in your disposal, from content creation resources to on-line marketing tools, so you can get the benefits from an on-line operation, as well as a traditional one.
Companies like Nike are always on the look for new ways to improve their customer's experience though new technology. For instance, in 2019 Nike has launched 'Nike Fit', a new scanning technology that uses machine learning to fit customers for shoes. A prime example of staying ahead of the curve and taking advantage of new resources.
2. Become a point of support for your community
Control the narrative. It is important to stay positive and to portray that positivity to your audience in a simple and clear way.
In a period of fragility, people will always look for brands they can relate to and brands which can answer to their personal problems and feelings.
Brands of the future are human, clear to read, present and accessible. The way audiences interact with their favourite brands has changed over the years. Do you recall when people had to rely on TV and radio commercials? Or when the only way to reach out was by mail or fax? Well, these are things of the past.
With mass media, there is the need not only to become pro-active, but to make sure your message is reaching your community efficiently.
This is the time to offer as much support as you can - Nurture your brand followers and strengthen relationships with your audience, so they remember you as soon as the market recovers. Establish new dialogues - Use social platforms which allow you to communicate directly with your customers and ask what they are going through or what they want to see.
Don't let them down, they trust you.
'TBCH’s research states that increasing customer engagement by just 1% generates an almost 3% increase in customer value.' - Marylou Costa via https://www.marketingweek.com/customer-engagement-improves-brand-profits/
3. Embrace change - Be socially aware
Remember our last article on 'When to update your brand?'
So, maybe now it is a great time to change the direction of your brand, strategically. It is a great opportunity to bring some new ideas and reinvent yourself. Perhaps you should add a social element to your structure, either through environment friendly policies, sustainability or animal cruelty-free values. Brands of the future are community orientated, socially engaging and responsible.
So ask yourself, what value can I offer to my community? How can I improve their lives right now?
Times have changed. People care about all sorts of subjects from global warming and deforestation to veganism and feminism.
Make sure you find a social purpose that fits your brand and add it to your brand strategy.
'According to Resonate data, women who buy Nike products are 44 percent more likely to value equality' - Ericka McCoy via https://www.chiefmarketer.com/yes-brands-your-position-on-social-issues-matters-to-consumers/
4. Prepare for the future
As we have stated before, the ability to read cycles is key.
Now look at the future and ask:
How can I transform my current products and services so they become valuable?
Are my services/products still relevant?
Which specific needs will my audience have after this crisis? And how many of them can I cover?
What other types of media can I use to communicate, create value and build brand awareness?
It is imperative that you use this opportunity to carry an in-depth re-assessment of your brand so you re-define your core values, identify problems and tackle them directly.
What can we learn from the event industry?
Watergate Club - Berlin. Recently shut down due to COVID-19 and facing bankruptcy.
The event and live entertainment industries are perhaps the most affected of them all. With almost 100% of venues, promoters and public events shut down, the event brands of the future will see themselves forced to adapt and move towards more risk-free approaches by embracing new technologies such as on-demand live set, remote events, high quality live-streaming and alternative products and services which will allow them to remain connected, profitable and relevant.
With crisis, comes change, with change comes innovation - Stay positive.
''Survival machines that can simulate the future are one jump ahead of survival machines who can only learn on the basis overt trial and error.'' - Richard Dawkins
April 8, 2020 by Mario Alcantara Monteiro - Founder, designer and creative director of NOANCE (also a part-time trader, social researcher and artist)
As part of our mission as a social problem-solving team, we are offering 2 hour brand strategy calls with brands and organisations which need strategic and creative support during this moment.
You can also book it directly here.
References: Hensel. A. (2019) ''How Nike is boosting its direct-to-consumer business with tech acquisitions', Digiday (https://digiday.com).
McCoy. E. (2019) 'YES, BRANDS: YOUR POSITION ON SOCIAL ISSUES MATTERS TO CONSUMERS', ChiefMarketer (https://chiefmarketer.com).
Costa. M., (2010), 'Customer engagement improves brand profits', Marketing Week (https://marketingweek.com).