April 29, 2020 Tami Nealy

How to Shift Your Brand Message in a Pandemic or Crisis

Many individuals with large followings on social media are being called upon to use their voice to spread their brand message through real, important and authentic content.

As a marketer, pandemic preparation is likely not a scenario you’ve even run through in your mind. In light of today’s global pandemic, Find Your Influence understands that brands are faced with the challenge of how to create authentic, digital content in light of COVID-19 and sending an appropriate brand message. 

Find Your Influence offers the following five approaches to help shift your brand message while still being effective with your content marketing and influencer marketing strategies.

Determine How Your Brand is a ‘Helper’

In this time of uncertainty, the world needs helpers. If your brand can help solve a problem, lean in. Consider providing advice to your target audience that demonstrates how your products or services can help. This “now normal”  is the time to be present, relevant and to add value to individuals everywhere who are looking for solutions. Give thought to offering discounts or other special savings as many people are out of work and adjusting budgets. Also discuss with your team if there is a charity that could be supported by donating a percentage of consumer purchases.

Understand Shifts in Consumer Behavior 

The lifestyles of your target audience may have changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe they are working from home while also serving as the teacher for their children. Maybe they have been laid-off. Knowing how a consumer’s purchasing decisions have changed are critical to better understand how to deliver your message and brand promise during this period.

Set a New Tone for your brand message

Any messaging used during a crisis or pandemic needs to be thoughtful and sensitive. Everyone will react differently to your message as everyone is impacted differently. Extend grace and offer sympathy. But only do those things as a genuine reflection of your brand.

Times like this are ideal to lean into the brand or organization’s core values. Identify those values, apply them to your messages and reflect on how they feel to you. 

Continue Communicating

Now is not the time for brands to stay silent. Consumers will remember the brands who adjusted their messaging and communicated with compassion and empathy. However, not every brand will be considered essential at this moment. A key messaging pivot is for a brand to understand, and acknowledge, where they fall on the scale of “essential” in a consumer’s life. If not essential, consider how you could offer a different value or support during this time.

Many brands do have a specific place in consumer’s lives during this new time. It’s imperative that marketers regularly listen to consumers and determine how to connect with them in ways that add real value. Getting this messaging right will build brand equity and lay the foundation for the future brand affinity.

Invest in Influencers

Influencer marketing was already a rising force in advertising, and the COVID-19 crisis is further solidifying this marketing effort as a vital and necessary practice. Since stay-at-home orders were issued across the U.S., social media usage is up by as much as 30 percent. Many individuals with large followings on social media are being called upon to use their voice to spread real, important and authentic content.

Social media influencers can add value now more than ever by being the extension of your brand voice. Whether macro influencers or micro influencers, they are creating content that helps to inform their followers of a brand’s benefits.

Brand messages are often tweaked but not often to the extreme. Whether a global pandemic or a product recall, shifting brand messaging is the key to long-term success.