The new focus for brand management teams post Covid-19

DSM Digital School of Marketing - brand

In the last couple of months, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught humanity that there is nothing that is given, the crisis is nearer — and more severe — than anybody expected, and that what is seen as normal has changed dramatically.

There is high uncertainty linked to a number of issues in the present, such as the overall severity, duration as well as the instability that the crisis has introduced over time. A constant topic among brand management teams is the nature and time of the recovery. Many are speaking about an ever-changing new normality that is to redefine the economic, political, and social landscape with different effects across cultures.

It is also broadly discussed that this crisis will be a brand management catalyst and will have long-term impacts that cannot be predicted completely. The changes that are underway are not leaving the business world and the future of brands unaffected.

Brand management is in the eye of the storm

Customers may never know how a business’ finance or HR department reacts to a major unexpected event, but brand management and marketing sit centre stage. These departments’ moves are reflected in every ad campaign, message as well as channel. They are responsible for setting the tone for how customers see the brand during a difficult time.

Making the right actions, in addition to finding the right message, can be challenging. This is especially in a rapidly changing situation. All companies should operate with honesty and trust even as they come under pressure from a quickly evolving situation. Those organisations with a product or service are well suited for difficult times must, meanwhile, tread lightly, lest customers think they’re using tragedy.

Long before the coronavirus surfaced, consumer trust in both government and large brands had been destroyed. Among brand management’s greatest challenges is foreseeing how a customer wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions will change. Customers themselves will not know until Covid-19 infections, fears as well as restrictions take place in their workplaces, locales and lives.

The challenges brand managers face from Covid-19

The present challenges which are being faced by millions feel unprecedented. Perhaps for the first time ever, we see our own friends and families who are suffering. Some have lost their jobs. Or worse. We have never known Covid-19 or coronavirus. Yet we have known struggle. And with struggle there comes innovation. Alterations in the way we live, work, play and love.

For so many organisations, the changes which have been presented by this virus have been paralysing. How many of us have heard the sentiment shared above from clients, suppliers, vendors and even collaborators? We certainly have. For many employees in the strategic as well as creative industries, this chilling sentiment could have come from their bosses. In our own homes and families, we have spoken about the ramifications of a world ‘on hold’. However ‘hold’ does not equate to progress. Not now, not ever.

Brand managers shouldn’t wait for problems to develop or the market to point in a clear direction before making plans and then taking action. Instead, they need to follow an action plan to define scenarios, monitor customers and plan for marketing changes.

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