Let’s imagine the moment when this era of lockdowns, social distancing and toilet paper hoarding comes to a glorious if not abrupt end. Who knows what the world will look like, but one thing is certain—it will not be the same.
That’s because humans are creatures of habit. Research has shown that it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. It's been 70+ days since stay-at-home orders went into effect here in the state of California. So what new habits have consumers developed? Are in-person gatherings endangered? Has online shopping become the rule? Is curbside pickup here to stay? Will we ever shake hands again?
New habits have emerged around brands as well. People are suddenly looking to brands for leadership and reassurance, and they expect their preferred brands to help them process and navigate our new reality. Brands that are rooted in purpose and driven by values are prepared for this new role. Those that lack a strategic foundation will slip. Based on our research and conversations with clients, we’ve derived the following three recommendations to help you position your brand for post-pandemic success:
1: Anticipate and adapt
A brand may be an intangible asset, but it is not static.
Brands are meant to evolve in response to changing market conditions—a fact that has never been more self-evident. Depending on your business and industry, the shifts may be subtle or seismic. The key is to recognize those changes and then take the necessary steps to adapt.
When uncertainty is the dominant theme in your market, flexibility is the antidote. Anticipate now whatever changes in people’s attitudes and priorities may shape the market now and over the longer term, and then be ready to evolve with changing conditions. Change is difficult. But the challenging transformation that your brand endures now will position the company to thrive in the future.
2. Review your brand’s purpose and promise
Many companies get their start by introducing a product or service that addresses an unmet or under-served need. However, as business takes off, what can get lost in the daily shuffle is the more altruistic reason that the company opened its doors. The pandemic is a call for brands to not only think about their customers, but to stop and reflect upon themselves. Why does your brand exist? And, how might the new normal change how you authentically deliver on this promise?
If it’s difficult to articulate your brand’s purpose and promise, work with a branding agency that can lead you through a process to illuminate your company’s true impact. In a world where people are desperate to find meaning, meaningful brands will shine.
3. Fill the distancing gap
Social distancing has taken on dual meaning in the pandemic. Technically, it’s the six-foot space that safely separates us from each other. But it’s also the larger psychological gap caused by stay-at-home orders, shuttered stores, and face masks. If there was ever any doubt that digital tools have become an important bridge connecting brands with consumers, the coronavirus has settled the matter. Today your digital house must be in order. At Traina, our agile branding process takes a digital-first approach to the development of any new identity, ensuring that the brand is designed for digital success.
Assess the digital-readiness of your brand across all touch points. First, are the core components of your brand identity functional in the digital realm? Do your digital experiences deliver the human connections that customers will need and expect? Leverage behavioral science to better understand consumer decision making in the wake of this pandemic, and the digital readiness of your brand.
The light at the end of this dark tunnel is hopefully approaching, as are the opportunities to meet your customers, and their newfound habits, where they most need you. Anticipate and adapt to these active shifts. Recommit to your differentiating values, and look for ways to serve and uplift your customers, especially in the digital space.