Brand communication is voice. It humanizes any brand to be able to create real and relevant conversations with people. In times of crisis like today, brands play a significant role in shaping the choices people make. These choices are not just about the product or service, but also message and purpose-driven.
IILM conducted an engaging and interactive webinar on “Brand Communication in Times of Crisis ” by Karen Wilson – Publisher & Business Head Lifestyle Division – India Today Group. The webinar was scheduled for 15 May and was streamed live on YouTube. The participants were a mix of students, faculty, and guests who joined through registration.
Karen initiated the webinar by talking about how in these unprecedented times, people look to leaders and institutions for guidance, reassurance, and information. We further deliberated that customers today are more aware and exposed to the realities of business. And that’s why it becomes imperative for any business to stick to implicit messaging.
The webinar took an interesting turn when Karen highlighted how increasingly, businesses require to reignite momentum and restart commerce. How they should perceive this moment of crisis not as a danger but also as an opportunity but not at the cost of sounding an opportunist. She added that this is the time for brands to take a moment and reassess past business practices and the road ahead. Karen showed some eye-opening advertisements from the past and from the present that exhibited what brands must do in times of crisis and how in the process maintain their reputation as well.
The latter part of the webinar was open to the audience and some interesting questions on how businesses should strategize their brand policy when sales begin to nosedive, consumers set stricter priorities and reduce their spending, and most businesses postpone new investments. To this Karen focused principally on the right brand messaging and its importance. She explicitly pointed out how brands must appeal to consumers’ emotions. All messaging must elicit a high emotional response to the said product. The underlined sentiments of this new normal must be reinforced in all communication. To a very interesting question on how businesses dealing in non-consumable services must do their branding? Karen was quick to answer that businesses must leverage testimonials and focus on the USP of their service for the end-user.
The webinar was a grand success in terms of the relevance of the content, the structuring of the presentation, the flurry of questions from the audience, and the huge participation. The crux that as humans, we’re programmed to stay connected. While social distancing measures offer protection and security, they come with a significant impact on the emotional and mental well-being of individuals, communities, and the world at large. It is at times like this that brands must continue to connect and reassure their customers that this too shall pass, and we are in this together, therefore resulting in them remaining top of mind.
Check out this post I wrote on “The Anatomy of Online business- Brand Storytelling the new normal, it’s packed with amazing tips.