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In a Time of Crisis, Brands Are Breaking Away From Industry Norms

If your brand is doing well during lockdown, look for those that aren’t. Find ways to collaborate and boost their business. On the other side of those brands are families who need to get through this, too.

Photo by Lindsay Lenard on Unsplash
Photo by Lindsay Lenard on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard about the distilleries pivoting to hand sanitizer production to support their communities during the pandemic. It’s become a nationwide phenomenon, with at least 174 different distilleries producing hand sanitizer across the country, and big dogs like Annheiser Busch jumping on board to support the cause.

But it’s not just alcohol producers. Companies across industries are pivoting to address changing needs amidst the Coronovirus pandemic. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s also good branding. It communicates that you’re current, and most of all that you care.

“Homebound consumers are engaging with 60 percent more media than usual, setting adult media consumption at record highs,” says Digital Trends CRO Bob Gruters, citing data from a recent Nielson report. It’s a good time to get your message right, because people are watching.

Authenticity and Humanity Will Land Right With Consumers

“Marketing pretense and fabrication will be sniffed out in seconds,” said Wieden+Kennedy Executive Creative Director Jason Bagley to HuffPost. “But if brands know who they are, then all they have to do is respond authentically and courageously to whatever is currently happening, and it will connect. That’s a brand’s best insurance.”

Ford, for example, was the first auto manufacturer to offer credit relief, in an ad citing their history of pivoting during crisis, like when the company manufactured tanks and planes for World War II. Guiness encouraged customers who were missing St. Patrick’s day parades and parties, saying “don’t worry, we’ll march again,” in a spot that urged people to stay safe.

“The worst thing that agencies and brands can do right now is start from the perceived production limitation and reverse engineer all their ideas from there,” said Bagley. “When you look back over the past decade at some of the best ideas we’ve seen, many of them pioneered totally original forms of production and execution.”

Tata Pravesh, a door manufacturer in India, crowdsourced the footage for this simple, effective crowd pleaser that both showcases the dynamic variety of India’s doors, and encourages people to stay at home behind them. It sets them apart from the Coronavirus ads that look like inspirational stock footage, and it couldn’t be more on brand.

As your brand is pivoting to support community health and well being, stay true to your function and identity. Make sure your message is authentic, even courageous, and original.

Use Your Brand’s Advantages to Support a Neighboring Industry

“Now’s the time to use our resources to support one another and pave a sustainable path out of this pandemic,” says Gruters. Digital Trends has built a reputation on their award-winning journalism series Tech For Change, which covers individuals and organizations using technology to make the world a safer, healthier, and more equitable place.

As beloved landmark restaurants close around the country, the Digital Trends team has come up with a way to support the struggling food and drink industry. In partnership with SharkNinja, Digital Trends is dedicating a portion of air time on their live streamed video channel to a new series called Open For Good, which will showcase celebrity chefs and support the food and drink industry nationwide. The series will also spotlight organizations like World Central Kitchen, who are doing the boots-on-the-ground work of buying hot meals from struggling businesses and delivering them to families in need, in places like the Navajo Nation where Corona has hit especially hard.

It may seem unusual for a tech review publisher. But Gruters says this isn’t as big a departure as one might think. “It’s true we’re very tech centric,” Gruters explains. “But Open For Good, and all the work we’re doing for community support, is a reflection of how we can use technology, like digital video and remote-working teams, to come together and help each other during a time of crisis. We want to be a living example of the positive power of tech.”

If your brand is doing well during lockdown, look for those that aren’t. Find ways to collaborate and boost their business. On the other side of those brands are families who need to get through this, too.

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