Right now, think about your brand and what it means to your ideal individuals, your consumers. Is it important and influential in their lives and does it promise a better future? Or does it feel dated, dusty and somewhat forgettable? Your brand should be promising a better future to your community and communicating this effectively even in times of crisis. If it isn’t, you’re losing customers. So how can you win back your people and keep them loyal to your brand, when things are changing so fast and times are tough?
Branding in times of flux.
The pandemic and lockdown have severely impacted markets, and especially businesses in hospitality, travel and leisure. It is literally a crisis that has thrown up some very unique challenges. Even otherwise, brands can become outdated and kind of dusty. There could be cultural changes such as shifting perceptions about climate change and social justice. Tech innovations could pressure businesses to make investments just to remain in the market. A brand has to be able to adapt, evolve and innovate to keep pace with these changes and to remain relevant to their community.
As a brand you need to think about why people buy from you. It’s emotional. There is the promise of a better future that makes a person buy from X rather than Y brand. In times of crisis, that emotion changes because realities change and the needs and circumstances of your customers change as well. They need a brand they can trust, which fulfils its brand promise. You need to give them a reason to trust you and your brand above all others.
Consider how brands become relevant and remain trustworthy even in changing times. A restaurant aligning with an organization that works to lower childhood obesity rates is one example. CEO of Gravity Payment, Dan Price taking a pay cut just so that his employees can be fairly remunerated during times of economic upheaval is another.
The five circles of influence of a brand.
You have to set your brand to serve your community now and in times to come. A brand that sees itself not just in terms of a profit making entity but also as part of a community with common interests and shared goals is the one that inspires trust and brand loyalty. This has to go beyond just structured brand messaging. It has to reflect in the actions and the policies of the brand by facing up to changing realities and stringencies. It has to take up the challenge of making the world a better place.
These are the five circles of influence that your brand can grow into, during these times of change and even in a crisis:
- Your brand promise
- Your brand’s values and ethics
- Your brand’s community
- Your brand’s industry
- Your brand’s positioning in the world
In each of these five aspects your brand has to get current, and align with the changing realities and needs of the market and your customers as I explain in detail here. Check out this and other episodes of my Inspiration to Millions series where I share branding secrets of Fortune 100 companies.