3 minute read.

When the coronavirus crisis hit, we realised we – with many of our clients and partners – would be heavily impacted.

In amongst everything else, Edmonds Marketing had recently begun working with a new client on a strategy planning project. This client was new to us, but we were aware of their longstanding reputation and established values. Two of their brand values relate to being honorable and humane. Intriguingly for a major corporation, they also espouse to not see profit as their main aim, but as a necessary requirement to support a greater vision.

The project involved interstate travel and a face-to-face workshop – but all of that was put on hold when COVID-19 arrived. Which is why we were not only surprised, but deeply impressed, when they called to let us know they had pledged to honor existing commitments to contractors. In the face of a pandemic, and without knowing when we could expect to complete the project, they would pay now and in full.

During the last few months, we have seen many brands pivot and adjust their marketing activities. We have worked with clients to communicate the processes they have put in place to mitigate risks and keep customers safe, and with clients who are adopting new digital methods and improved practices to engage their customers. Some of these are a response to COVID-19 – but we also expect these same innovations to remain important post-pandemic. We have seen clients move quickly to put their customer and team welfare ahead of all else while simultaneously dealing with the financial fallout of a global crisis.

In the current climate, as we continue to face challenges, it’s more important than ever for brands to hold true to their values, and to be responsive and supportive.

A recent report from research company Roy Morgan confirmed that – at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, and despite travel restrictions and staff furloughs – Qantas was nominated as the country’s third most trusted brand. Qantas was frequently in the media at this time, flying stranded Australians home from across the globe throughout the lockdown.

CBA was also ‘nominated as a standout brand performer’ as its CEO ‘moved quickly to offer financially stressed customers loan payment relief. He had a high profile during the lockdown and that has paid dividends for the CBA’s level of trust.’

One of the biggest challenges for brands today (and increasingly in a post-COVID-19 future) is to stand out: to create positive perceptions and strong connections that make us choose one brand over another. Distrust in a brand is not just a reputational issue, it has a material impact on a company’s revenues and market value.

As we emerge from the crisis, it will be more important than ever to develop a brand strategy that ensures your brand remains competitive and strengthens its position. Moving forward, customers will be more risk-averse than ever. Consumer behaviours and psyches have changed and they will be seeking out brands they can trust.

Strong brands know what they stand for and hold true to their values. Those that seek to benefit their customers, team members and other stakeholders will strengthen relationships and emotional connections for the longer term.

The drivers of brand strategy success include relevant differentiation, customer value proposition and emotional connection. In considering how to strengthen or reposition your existing brand – or bring new life to underperforming brands – we recommend these actions:

  • Address current issues and challenges impacting your brand
  • Create a strong focus on how to differentiate your brand from competitors
  • Clarify your key target audiences and their needs
  • Confirm key customer benefits, both functional and emotional.

In difficult times, no amount of promotional marketing can overcome a weak brand.

As a strategic marketing consultancy, Edmonds Marketing help businesses develop their brand strategy with a number of services including brand development, marketing strategy, digital communications and facilitated workshops. If you wish to chat with an experienced brand strategy specialist, get in touch with Sophy: sophy@edmondsmarketing.com.au, 0430 026 739. 

For more information on Brand Strategy:

Image source: iStock-1041726248.