Branding in the Wake of C19. Pinpoint your Purpose.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”, legendary boxer Mike Tyson once said. Following the COVID-19 uppercut, society and companies are waking up to a new reality.

This crisis has shaken everyone. Like previous crises, it has forced us to rethink and reevaluate our plans, perceive our industries in a new way and experience radical shifts in consumer behaviour overnight.

For brands, the current crisis means having to reconsider their place in society in order to remain relevant. Here’s our bet on the future of brand building post COVID-19.

Branding & Solidarity

In the wake of the last financial crisis, purpose became an effective and popular management philosophy worldwide. And rightly so. It has been headlining company agendas for the last ten years and catapulted some of the most beloved brands forward. Why? Because consumers increasingly expect companies to take responsibility for their place in the world. Beyond the bottom line.

As waves of uncertainty are flooding our society, companies now have an opportunity to act on their purpose in a way that is empathetic and show citizenship rather than individualism.

Diseases, isolation and social distancing have reinvigorated people’s fundamental need for belonging. Just think of how people in Wuhan, Siena and Copenhagen sung together from their balconies. This is a shift in people’s need for something more basic, more humane and more intimate.

Solidarity, empathy and citizenship are keywords that every company should take note of right now. Because it is going to define our society going forward. And it will concretise your purpose in a very tangible way.

Already, we are seeing companies contributing to society in new ways. Some produce hand-sanitisers, face masks or ventilators while others get us through the day at home with home training, homeschooling or other forms of entertainment.

It requires all companies to take on a societal responsibility and perceive themselves outside-in. Empathy and honesty should guide your communication and actions, turning ambitions into actions and catalysing help for society at large.

Changes take time

Right now, many of us are moving into a new phase of optimism, while at the same time, recognising the new reality. From being alert to trying to recover.

Over the past weeks, we’ve seen companies collaborating across categories. New partnerships, new creativity, new local spirit and new ways of showing togetherness have come to light.

Yes, our world economy is taking a great blow. But what if we all are to emerge on the other side more united? What if this crisis creates the foundation for the community and citizenship we humans clearly and quickly embrace but have lacked the incentives to do for so long? What if we are reaching out rather than keeping to ourselves?
In Chinese, crisis means “danger” and “opportunity”. While dealing with the danger of the now, we urge brands not to forget the long term. Now is the time to dare to think and act beyond tomorrow. Be transparent about your challenges and use your creativity to build resilience in your brand. Embrace change, spot the opportunities and act swiftly.

Whenever possible, make yourself part of the solution.