Staying Connected During COVID-19: Managing Your Brand Image Under Pressure

As millions face lockdowns and travel restrictions, our methods of communication are being challenged. Teams are turning digital, and it’s crucial that brands and their leaders are united and accurate. Now is not the moment to play content roulette. Decisions need to be pragmatic and thoughtful.

With that said, here are six quick tips for managing your brand image during a crisis:

Establish a process

Whether it’s developing a marketing rollout plan or taking an in-depth diagnostic and research dive to better understand your brand, we understand the importance of the planning and ideation phase. With something serious like COVID-19, having a sound process in place will help your team stay organized and level-headed. It’s impossible to predict everything that will happen as a crisis runs its course. Even if you feel your brand missed the boat, there’s still time to develop a process for responding.

A few things to remember…

  • Appoint a media spokesperson – ideally a high-ranking leader or officer
  • Communicate in facts and accurate information
  • Maintain open lines of communication with internal and external stakeholders

Listen before you react (but don’t be reactionary, either)

For once, it’s alright to put pitch meetings and traditional sales decks off to the side (but not out of reach!) and focus on marketing the core pillars of your business. Savvy consumers don’t want a hard-sell. They crave transparent, compassionate responses that take the edge off their social anxieties with a sensitive tone. Follow the current keywords dominating discussions like #Covid-19 on Twitter and educate your team on how to respond- especially on social. Those images of people sitting atop their mountains of toilet paper and sanitizer have not aged well. Tread lightly and pay attention.

Know your technology

COVID-19 has made streamlined, secure communication paramount. Connect with your internal team and external stakeholders by utilizing some form of daily communication platform. Our agency uses many tools for internal alignment like Zoom, Google Docs, and Slack. For your convenience, take a look at how Zoom is helping our agency stay in touch while practicing social distancing. Ideally, you will be able to easily relay ideas and questions to your team without much of a learning curve.

Managing your brand always begins with the people behind it. They need to be informed on the progression of events to build a united front.

Consider outside help

From startups to iconic brands, everyone is facing a similar uphill battle. Reaching out to fellow organizations in your industry isn’t an admission that you can’t handle the situation- it shows that you are willing to take extra steps to manage your brand responsibly. Maybe they are doing something innovative that you hadn’t thought of or can provide valuable resources to inspire content ideas. Staying connected with your industry during quarantine will inject life back into your brand. Plus, who knows how far working together can take us?

Refine your message – evaluate accordingly

Every so often it’s important to step back and regroup. Stay in-tune with shifting behavior, monitor keywords on social (see point 2), and pay attention to recommendations from credible media sources. The essence of communicating during a crisis is incredibly malleable. Take an honest look at how you have communicated so far and determine if it has improved your brand’s perception in the eyes of employees and stakeholders.

The Do’s and Don’ts of your messaging:

  • Do communicate what is needed and necessary
  • Don’t aid in the spread of panic
  • Do take into account the sensitive nature of a crisis
  • Don’t make politically charged statements

Play your part

This one’s short and sweet. Nothing else matters if your company uses a crisis for commercial advantages. We are living in an era where a brand’s actions and responses are put under an intense microscope. Social responsibility reigns supreme. Even if your organization is not in a financial position to make massive donations, providing valuable services to your industry and clients can do more than you think. Use your team’s expertise as a platform to help others.

Ideas creating impact. That’s what we’re about at Beyond Definition. What do you stand for when the pressure is turned up to eleven?

As COVID-19 pushes teams into remote, virtual workspaces, our “Staying Connected During COVID-19” series is here to help. Let’s commit to keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities safe, one step at a time. Follow us for tips on how we can further your mission together.

Jonah Malin's headshot

Jonah Malin

Jonah Malin is a creative marketing professional, crafting story-driven content to execute a diverse range of digital, print, and social deliverables.

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