Behind every brand newsletter, social media post and ad campaign and behind every consumer account, review or profile is an actual human being. This is something that can often be looked over, but with the global climate meaning we are now more physically separated than ever before, it’s never been more important to remain connected in any way we can. For brands, it’s certainly not the time to blindly promote a product. But it is exactly the moment to show what both you and your brand stand for.
Understandably, COVID-19 is pretty much the only thing occupying everyone’s minds – now and probably for the foreseeable future. Brands must acknowledge what’s going on or risk being seen as insensitive, but that doesn’t mean the message has to be completely doom and gloom. The key is striking the happy medium: having a voice, making a stand, but knowing that your brand is one part of a much bigger conversation. Consumers will be scrutinising any potential missteps more intensely than before, meaning content and partnerships may need to be vigilantly monitored with more people spending increasing time at home online. However, this provides a fantastic opportunity for those that just want to see ‘interesting content’ to tune out from the goings on – meaning potential customers can learn more about yourself and your team, incorporating a human aspect in ways we may never have utilised before. For our consultancy, our team are planning to use any spare time they have to do other things – learning Italian, reading more and creating new pieces of art!
Perhaps it is also useful to remember to difference between ‘advertising’ and ‘branding’ as we enter further into this uncertain stage – something we often get confused. Advertising is essentially what a brand says about itself to consumers. It’s a conscious effort to promote products and services and is quite transactional in its approach. However, branding is what others think and say about you. It reflects a brand’s sum total of its every action, set against the backdrop of the society around it. It’s not what you say, but who you choose to be. When our periods of self-isolation finally come to an end and communal life starts up again, consumers will remember who remained transparent and who they felt empathy towards. Right now is a key time to both build and maintain consumer trust – just by openly being yourself.