Branding a way through the pandemic

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We’ve all entered the unknown, but one thing is certain, how we come out the other side largely depends on what changes we make now and how we communicate throughout this period. 

As the proverbial hit the fan a few weeks ago, we saw businesses go into ‘defence mode’. Job cuts made, production lines halted, marketing budgets obliterated and email after email consisting of ‘we’re still here’ messages.

It’s an anxious time for marketers as we try to anticipate how and when our messaging should respectfully shift in tone. Tactical, sales-based messages that were the bread and butter a month ago are now on the nose. 

Turning Defence into Offence

As this new era dawns, businesses that adapt will not just survive, but thrive. Companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Uber were born from the GFC, but could have quite as easily been products developed by existing companies. 

This adaption need not only come at product level, but also through communication. We have already started to see brands pivot their communication to be more relevant. Isuzu has cleverly and quickly repositioned their product as ‘Takeaway Trucks’, creating a highly relevant communication framework that will keep their brand top of mind throughout this period.

Covid Blog Isuzu Trucks-2

Another brand that is making the most of the situation is HBF. They’re using COVID-19 to elevate their brand position - Get Well. They have captured the social heartbeat of the moment with a highly relevant twist to their position - Stay Well.  


Now spare a moment for the entertainment industry, first to be decimated by COVID-19. It’s hard to imagine how a pivot is even possible in this space. Well, the guys at Funlab have got their eye on the prize… the loyalty prize. 

Thanks to the people behind Strike bowling, Skylab and Holey Moley, we now have virtual parties run by their talented party hosts. 

The kicker here is that they’re free. They’ve recognised the value in brand building over the next few months, staying relevant and ready to capitalise on the rebound.

Covid Blog Strike 2-1

Love and loyalty

No one really knows when life will return to ‘normal’ or what the new normal will actually look like, but at a time when we are forced to be apart, the hunger for togetherness is painfully apparent.

Think about how your own communication has changed broadly with your local businesses, colleagues and neighbours. We are more caring, more sympathetic. This is the time when your brand has the opportunity to be truly empathetic to your customers’ new needs, and you might just uncover a nugget of gold in the process.

Now is the time to work on your business rather than for your business. Spend time reviewing and adapting your marketing mix. Facebook usage is up 37% yet advertising spend is down 40%. This means more people are looking for longer and you have less competition.

Review your brand’s position and tweak it for relevancy in this market. With a bit of creativity, your brand can articulate a message that is genuine, empathetic and relevant. Building loyalty and staying top of mind to be ready to capitalise on the ‘love in’ that ensues.