Here’s how you can upgrade your brand before the competition in the wake of COVID-19

At a time when only the internet is not quarantined, digital strategies undertaken by companies will be the deciding factor in whether they will make it through the COVID-19 crisis.

With events, meetings, and conferences coming to a standstill across all industries of the world amidst the COVID-19 crisis and no clarity on how and when we would be able to go back to our normal, brand communication can be seen as one of the most effective and convenient ways for long term business.

At a time when internet is the only thing not quarantined, for most organisations, their digital strategies will be “the deciding factor in whether they make it through the tough times ahead”.

But how to make sure that your content and communication strategies are up to the mark to meet the changing dynamics of the industry? Let us find out. 

The first crucial thing is making sure your communication provides accurate information. In times such as these, it is easy for people to panic. Communicators must make sure that they are only relaying real information and not spreading rumours. 

The next important thing is to have a clear understanding of the ultimate goals of the communications. It is advisable to use this time to reinstate the values you stand by instead of trying to sell. And last but not the least, you need to develop a context of the ongoing crisis. Draw its relevance to the economy, globalization, and more.

Here is a basic framework checklist that you can implement within your ongoing marketing strategy:

Revisit Your Previous Plans

To begin with, it’s inevitable that you revisit the content strategy that you had planned for coming months. Most of you would have developed a content calendar for your blog and social posts a month in advance and would have scheduled it. However, in a crisis like this, chances are that the previously planned content could be deemed as irrelevant and, in a few cases, disrespectful.  

Therefore, it is important to take the time and sift through your content calendar for the next few months. Incorporate more topical and relevant content that would resonate with the need of the hour.

Likely, most of your pre-planned content would appear out of place in the new situation. It is advisable to eliminate such content and device a newer strategy instead of making it fit in and losing credibility in the longer run. 

For example, suppose you had planned an article to talk about ‘Tips for Managers Managing Large Teams’. This piece could have worked better if people would still be going to the office. However, in the current situation when working from home is becoming the new normal, the article can be tweaked to say ‘Tips for Managers on Managing Large Teams from Home” 

Test new Content Approaches

Considering most businesses are working remotely and are spending more time-consuming digital content, this is a great time for us to try out newer tactics, thanks to the captive audience. It can be beneficial to leverage new social media channels, distribution channels or a whole new content style. 

During this time, the engagement levels are relatively higher, and your audience is more likely to adjust to the change. And well, if it fails, you can at least look at this as a chance to get to know your audience better with this information in the future. In other words, this time could be used to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.  

Try not to Capitalise on the Current Crisis

It is important to resonate with current trends but at the same time, it is also important to stay sensitive about the issue and not capitalise on the current situation. Here is a checklist of what you can do:

  1. Be transparent about your measures. Communicate with your audience and let them know about the kind of proactiveness you are showing in the current crisis.
  2. Do not spread panic. While sharing information is good, it is best to avoid spreading panic. Do not use overly dramatic language, be mindful of your sources, and share only credible information.
  3. Look into your brand identity. In times like these, you need to look at your brand vision, mission, and identity for guidance. Try to look at what your brand stands for and what it can mean in the wake of the crisis. This could be the north-star for your content marketing
  4. Be hopeful and optimistic. In these times, where all we are witnessing is negativity, being a ray of optimism will go a long way. During the recession of 2008-2009, this was a major trend as major brands started devising campaigns that promoted optimism. For example, Coca Cola was among the many brands that promote positivity and optimism during the times of crisis. 

To conclude, it is safe to say that you should strengthen your focus on the brand. We can hope that perhaps this entire crisis would end soon, and we will be able to go back to our normal life. Until then, brands can focus their efforts on content warehousing, investigate the technical backend, checking out the new website analytical benchmarks, best practices of the last few years, and create takeaways to upgrade the brand before the competition.

This is a great time to work on integration processes and kickstarting various side projects under a subset of a brand. Focus on building online communities. Note that the consumer may not be able to buy during the lockdown, but it is a great opportunity for them to consume content, use this time wisely. 

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)