The only thing worse than pausing is continuing in a way that feels inauthentic.
In the wake of Covid-19 there are thousands of brands left confused and fearful of what this virus has done and will do to their business. We are in extreme and unprecedented times that have left thousands of brands questioning their current strategies. They HAD messaging, but that messaging isn’t relevant to what is happening in culture anymore. This virus has caused a lot of brands to freeze or hold their breath, unsure of how to move forward. Moving forward doesn’t have to be scary IF you have a plan for how to represent your brand and shift your messaging without losing your brand voice.
So here’s 5 things to keep your brand moving forward:
1.Get back to the core of your brand.
Go back to the beginning and dig up that mission statement you once wrote. I think some of the clearest vision comes from the start, before we were blindsided or distracted by all the things we have to do every single day to keep a business flowing and operating. Dig back into the WHY of your brand, and build new messaging off of that. You aren’t changing WHAT you’re doing, you’re only changing how you’re doing it.
Example: If your brands mission is to impact inner city kids, this doesn’t mean that you shift your energy towards training horses (cause animals can’t carry the coronavirus, get it). This just means that you come up with new ways to speak to and engage the kids you’re trying to impact. Reach back to the core and the why, and new creative ideas will come flowing!
2. Learn to Adapt
Being adaptable and nimble are some key ingredients to any successful business, and not just during the coronavirus. Culture and time is an ever changing thing, and they will never adapt to you. You need to be able to adapt to them at a moments notice.
Our friends Woodchuck USA from right here in Minneapolis shifted 50% of their production from woodworking and gift sets to John Hopkins Medical Face Shields. Oh yeah, and they made the entire shift over a weekend!!! Within 48 hours they had a working prototype and by the end of the 1st week they are manufacturing 100k face masks a day, trying to keep up with the 1.6 million orders they got. Not only are they showing up and providing a high demand product during this time, but they are actually GROWING their business in this time where a lot of brands are going out of business. Learn to adapt, and you’re going to do alright.
3. Develop a fighter spirit.
Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I used to play in a band. I was the drummer and tour manager of a band called Hyland for 8 years. We were signed to Tooth & Nail Records and for over 6 years we toured pretty heavily. A few of those years we played over 200 shows, which meant we were gone from home for over 300 days a year. We did some awesome stuff and played some big shows, but we never quite got where I hoped we would. We were dirt poor, lived in a band, played plenty of shows for less than 20 people, would literally drive across the country for a $200 show hoping to make money selling merch. I sometimes wonder why I spent so much of my 20’s doing something that came to such an abrupt end, and here’s what I’ve come up with – Being in a band taught me 2 things:
- It taught me how to sell something people weren’t buying. People don’t buy music! We illegally download it or use streaming services like Spotify and Apple, both of which result in almost no $$ for the artist. See, label owners are stock holders in streaming services. The services, Labels and licensing firms get paid first. What little money is left over, (pennies) the artist might get. Sick.
- Being in a band also taught me to be annoying persistent and develop a fighter spirit. Cambridge Dictionary defines the fighting spirit as this; The willingness to complete or do things that are difficult. A fighting spirit doesn’t make anything easier – it just gives us the courage to do what feels impossible.
4. Don’t be afraid if new messaging feels out of character.
This entire moment in time is out of character! This is such an unprecedented moment, noone knows how to react or respond. Don’t be afraid if your messaging feels out of character, we’re all out of character at this point.
5. Ask your Audience what they need.
A great way to find out what your audience needs in this time is to just straight up ask! They might just give you the answer. If you are a business working with clients, this is also true. Asking what someone needs it a bold and vulnerable act of service. You are taking a very humble approach, and are willing to listen to the needs of your client or audience. In a time where a massive pivot is needed, sometimes all you have to do is lean in and listen.
Stay Hungry, Stay Unconformable. We are all in this together!