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How brands can add value during the Covid-19 crisis

A blog by Carlijn, strategist at Boomerang Agency
It’s an uncertain time for all of us. Consumers, brands, entrepreneurs, families, the elderly. Everyone. The uncertainty has an impact on all industries. Brands have to change their communication, behaviour and maybe even their business. With campaigns being cancelled or postponed, we’re all in ‘crisis mode’. How can brands cope with this current crisis?

Market for the good of all mankind
Well, I think everyone with a sane mind can figure out that it’s time to adapt and quit business as usual. This isn’t the time where you run your campaigns like you used to. Brands need to adjust and be very careful in how and what they communicate. Since a lot of things are super sensitive and all everyone is thinking and talking about is corona. So how can your brand add value in this crisis?

As Mark Ritson (brand consultant and marketing professor) well said “we need to market now for the good of all mankind”. This is the time where brands can show their true personality and brand values. Things that they normally would subtly “hide” within their messages, can now be leading. What else do they have to offer besides their products or services? Now is the time for action instead of only words. We already see a lot of beautiful initiatives. LVMH who’s manufacturing sanitisers for French hospitals. Albert Heijn is pre-opening their stores from 07.00 – 08.00 for the eldery, to make sure they also can do their groceries.

But not for every brand the right and appropriate link for helping in the corona time is that obvious. And if brands are doing something with this, it shouldn’t be forced. Is there something relevant? Or is it inappropriate or commercial?

What if there’s nothing really there? For some brands, that’s actually the case. Well, there are other ways to help people cope with the current situation. People are feeling lonely, isolated and bored. Most of us are stuck at home and spending a lot of time binge watching our favorite series, watching that movie for the 10th time and scrolling through our Instagram feeds, while it keeps saying “you’re up to date”. And, on top of that, fake news is all around and maybe seems to spread our opinions more than ever on social media. Your brand could help letting people feel less lonely, provide and support them with relevant information to their industry. See how you, as a brand, can help out the government with your recources. Check in with your community and ask about their needs.

Connect and comfort
It can also be more light content that helps make the internet a nicer place (while we’re all there). Create content that’s more interactive, for example games in Stories. Maybe even go live. Get their assess off the couch (but still inside) or do something useful with their time.

As brands generate initiatives, we have to bear in mind our older audiences. Not everyone is tech savvy and familiar with working at home. This also causes a lot of stress for people and makes them feel less productive. Think above your own needs and add value to the #stayhome. Now is the time, literally.

Keep in mind that this is a super sensitive time, people are more online- and critical as ever. If you can’t say something useful, it’s better to be silent. Take an example of how other companies did good for social change. For example Unilever, they set up the sustainable fishing programme you now see on all fish products (called MSC). Or, WhatsApp, who brings COVID-19 facts to billions via their app, together with the World Health Organization.

Be careful that you don’t damage your brand, it could be unrepairable. The situation is changing every day, and it’s demanding businesses and strategies to be flexible and adjustable. But if you do it properly, people will remember it. And they will reward the brands who stood up and did good. It’s time to walk the walk!

Reach out to us if you want to learn more about some client cases we’ve recently worked on, the things we contributed internally during the Covid-19 crisis OR if you just want a digital coffee with us!