Nevertheless, they persisted – The corona recovery plan for brand communication

Kiri Sinclair, CEO Sinclair

Nevertheless, they persisted – The corona recovery plan for brand communication

Month: April
Year: 2020

COVID-19 is a global humanitarian, health and economic crisis, and the implications for business are significant. A brand’s strategic approach to communications marketing and public relations could not be more important than at the current time. Brand reputation can be broken during a crisis, but let us not forget that how businesses respond to a crisis can also position them positively and build their reputation for the years ahead.

To assist brand leaders and marketers with strategy development, the Asia-based PR, digital and experiential marketing communications agency Sinclair created the Sinclair Insights Report. It outlines the roadmap to recovery and guidance on how to respond to a situation that is changing daily. Expected consumer sentiment and communications strategies for each phase of the crisis, and along the journey towards recovery, allow for a new way of thinking and planning. We have summarised the most important learnings for you here and give examples from the German market. We also strongly recommend reading the whole report by Sinclair here.

1. Embrace change: The path towards recovery is a journey. We do not just resume where we left off before COVID-19. We’ve been through an emotional experience together. We have grown and changed; our perspectives are altered. Brands that acknowledge and embrace this sentiment through their communications strategies and recovery planning can win hearts and minds as we move towards the new normal.

2. Stay present and contribute: In midst of the initial outbreak, brands questioned the appropriateness of continued engagement on social media and proactive media outreach. Examples from China show that brands who continued engagement with positive, supportive and informative messaging about the proactive actions they were taking to be of service to the community garnered positive response. Brands across industries also contributed by funding or donating supplies or offering support to stakeholders. 

In Germany, too, many companies and brands are involved in the fight against corona with innovative, collaborative activities:

  • With #füreinander, the first joint campaign by dm, Müller and Rossmann, the drugstore giants are campaigning for more solidarity and expressing their gratitude to their more than 100,000 employees for their commitment. See here the YouTube video.
  • The underwear manufacturer Mey converted part of its production to manufacture urgently needed mouth and nose protection and thus alleviate bottlenecks in clinics. See here for more information.
  • Subsidiaries of the Volkswagen Group such as Seat and Lamborgini are building ventilators instead of cars. In addition, VW supports the #Stayhome campaign on their social media.

3. Adapt to the new normal: It’s important that brands understand constantly shifting audience perceptions and needs (rise of home-based activities, working from home, thirst for information), while taking the opportunity to showcases their brand’s unique response. An inspiring example is the new campaign “Gemeinsam da durch” (“Get through this toghether) by the German bank Sparkasse. The campaign impresses with facts instead of emotions and is adapted to the needs of German citizens during the crisis.

4. Keep in mind shifting consumer touchpoints: The focus is now on digital and social media rather than large-scale OOH campaigns. In the long term, this may be an opportunity, especially for smaller companies that have been forced to build their online presence in the crisis and can use these new (sales) channels in a lucrative way after the quarantine ends. Positive examples from Germany can be found here.

5. Plan for the future: Consider your brand recovery plan. Keep in mind that not only are brands in recovery, consumers are too. There are likely to be changes reflected in people’s daily habits and consumption patterns.

6. Celebrate: As the market rejuvenates, remember to celebrate with your teams, your stakeholders and your customers. We got through this together.