To be honest, business will take a long time to get back to normal. The right question now is not how soon will it end, but how do we continue?
Talking about and promoting a business or brand amid a health crisis is a delicate matter right now. Is it acceptable for Lincoln to offer sanctuary in the form of a luxury sedan, delivered right to your door? Were you surprised and delighted to learn that the auto insurance industry is refunding car owners who are driving less? It’s tempting to say that Lincoln got it wrong and the insurers got it right. But it’s not that simple. Both are doing the same thing: trying to burnish their brand image in a time of heightened feelings and uncertainty. Lincoln is reinforcing its long-term positioning, and car insurers, often maligned, are using this opportunity to repair theirs.
Did you notice that Charmin is running its familiar cartoon bear ads, unchanged or edited in any way? Our assumption is that with all the attention being paid to toilet paper, they feel that now is a good time to build brand awareness. Or perhaps the media was scheduled (and paid for) months earlier so they, ahem, let it roll.
The point is this: Every marketing message disseminated by companies right now is being parsed for meaning, which begs the question, is it okay for a business to act like a business right now?
We think so, because standing still indefinitely is not an option. People still need (and want) goods and services and reminding your customers that your product/brand is relevant today is okay, as long as you are authentic and true to your brand, whether you are a small company or major player. When consumers interact with our brands, we should brighten people’s lives or give them faith in our world when they do. Consider Dove’s new ad campaing, Courage Is Beautiful. Dove has been embracing and celebrating “real” people as beautiful for a decade now, which makes this campaign, spotlighting real health care workers, powerful and believable, versus opportunistic.
Ignite2X is open for business, working with our clients to respond to the current market in a thoughtful way, and continuing to do business in whatever manner makes sense for our clients, their brands, and their consumers. No one knows when—or if—business will return to what was once business as usual. A few things may get awkward, but we’re up for the challenge.
We may need to reset, dig deeper for purpose and establish a new map where there are no established roads. We’ll all need to show newfound resilience, get more creative, be flexible and try new things, and we’re good with that…as long as we keep moving forward.