How to Steer your Brand Through Turbulent Times
Our new blog post gives you 3 lessons on how to steer your brand through turbulent times.
As I write this, it’s a strange, uncertain and worrying time for us all right now. Words like unprecedented, turbulent, distancing and ‘pivot’ have become part of our everyday language as we seek to move towards a ‘new normal’ (is there such a thing?) and adjust to life in the time of Covid-19. Issues that were making headlines a couple of months ago have now disappeared off the priority list as leaders tackle the impact of a global pandemic. This is not a ‘great leveller’. Those who are already vulnerable will be hardest hit. Frontline staff and key workers are facing unimaginable pressure and working harder than ever before. Livelihoods will be lost and much-needed organisations will disappear due to lack of funds. It’s already happening.
That’s why people are looking to brands to step up in ways they never have before. To actively help and support as we navigate the most uncertain and challenging time many of us have ever experienced.
For some brands, for example, charity brands, this is the role they have always played. Championing the most vulnerable. Challenging government to support those most affected and hardest to reach. Bringing together local communities to help each other and make sure no-one falls through the cracks. And providing ways for everyday action to make a difference. But this is no longer the province of charity alone. Social impact should be a priority for all brands. In times of crisis, brands need to respond quickly and prioritise people over profit.
And that’s why we started our YouTube series. To share learnings and provide a safe space to discuss and tackle the challenges facing brands in stepping up. To help leaders and teams steer brands through, not just react to this turbulent time. And ultimately, to help brands drive social impact and positive change, because that’s why we’re here.
So, based on our live discussions each week, here are our first 3 lessons on how to steer your brand through turbulent times. Do watch the videos below for more detail on each one.
ACT, DON’T JUST REACT
It’s really important that we take the time to think about our impact, even if we need to respond quickly. Knee-jerk reactions will be dismissed as profiteering and be tone-deaf to audience needs. Instead, brands must prioritise empathy (demonstrating that we understand what audiences are going through), generosity (offering tangible help that goes above and beyond to meet their current needs) and community (finding ways to truly connect people, without unnecessarily inserting ourselves into their lives).
STAY TRUE TO WHO YOU ARE
Even if you have to change or adapt during tough times, it’s really important to do it in a way that is consistent with who you are and what you stand for. This means firstly being crystal clear on your purpose and why it is relevant right now (and to whom). And secondly, living your values – your non-negotiable principles – using them to determine your actions (rather than letting them slip under pressure). If you are unclear on your brand’s purpose, or don’t understand how your values are relevant now, it may be time to revisit and redefine them. Have a look at our brand framework as an example. Finally, this is about staying true to who you are on your BEST day – even if it’s tough. Brands need to lead the way and provide a positive example – and demonstrating your purpose and values by helping those who need you the most, is more important now than ever before.
BE VISIBLE TO THE PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED YOU
Brand visibility takes on new meaning in turbulent times. It’s no longer simply about cut-through or share of voice, or building awareness. Your priority must be standing out to the people who need you the most right now. Now is not the time for broadcast, generic messages (even if they show support), but targeted, active, and two-way communication that helps your audience understand how you can help. Rather than thinking first about what we want to say, ask ‘what do people need from us right now?’. It’s a noisy time, so add value, don’t just add to the clutter.
You can watch our Live series ‘Steering your brand through turbulent times’ “Fridays at 1.30pm on our YouTube channel. Do subscribe so you don’t miss out!
If you would like help tackling the issues raised above, or want to embed the brilliant stuff you’ve done to respond in this crisis, we are running SHORT, SHARP STRATEGY WORKSHOPS for teams right now. These 75-minute online mini-workshops are a perfect way to plan and problem-solve so you lead your brand through, not just react to rapid change. Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.