Brands need to be more human

If one good thing has come from the COVID-19 crisis, it would be that it has given us time and peace to reflect on what it means to be human and part of a family – about life before and after the crisis. It will change our entire society going forward and especially change the way companies have to market themselves and create relationships with their customers in the future.

Here are five suggestions for what you can do as a company.

By Martin Brems, Strategic Advisor and Founder, Brems & Co., June 24, 2020

1. Get to the core of your brand

When a crisis hits, security becomes paramount for customers. Many companies are trying to reinvent themselves and develop or sell new products and services in a desperate attempt to create cash flow. Times of crisis certainly open up new opportunities, but a decrease in consumption does not mean that your product or services needs to be scrapped.

Therefore: stay calm and trust your brand and product. If you were successful before the crisis – then you’ll also be it after the crisis. Increase your focus on the core and DNA of your brand, your products and what you stand for – and use the time to communicate it even more efficiently.

2. Think sustainability into the business

The impressions of a cleaner world during a stagnant corona-world have increased focus on sustainability, especially the climate. Images of jellyfish in the canals of Venice have gone viral, a suddenly empty 12-lane freeway in Los Angeles hints at new horizons, and multiple researchers have estimated that the drop in air pollution that followed the global shutdown of society has saved more lives than COVID-19 has claimed. The sustainable agenda will take up even more space in the minds of companies and consumers.

"The sustainable agenda will take up even more space in the minds of companies and consumers.”

Therefore: start developing a strong vision and mission that explain and concretize which difference you and your company make and want to make in the world with your products. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals would be a good framework for the process. However, the most important part is getting started. It is better to start out doing something small, than to do nothing at all.

3. Get online now

Life under coronavirus has made more and more people open up to digital and virtual possibilities; and it has especially made the advantages stand out. In other words, the crisis has sped up digitalization, especially within e-commerce and online marketing. If you used to sell your merchandise through partners and retailers, then maybe it is time to consider selling directly to the consumer and avoid price-raising intermediaries – it will benefit both the consumers and you.

Therefore: make a strategy for your digital sales channel. Which advantages and disadvantages do you see? How would it affect your price structure, business model, margin, revenue, retail network, end customers and organization? Get started on online marketing – expand your social media channels and create content with value for your customers.

4. Focus on the community rather than the ego

Studies have shown that peoples’ needs have shifted from self-actualization to community, intimacy, family and close relations during the COVID-19 pandemic. To many companies and brands, this means that they have to increase their communication of how their product can gather people, create a community and contribute to a social context. Alongside an (increased) focus on sustainability, companies have to communicate their values and perhaps increasingly develop social concepts around their products and services.

Therefore: think about how your company, products and services can contribute to a social context. How can you put a social “layer” on your products and services that is based on your vision, mission, values and existing products and services. Consider how you can make the community the primary thing and the product into the secondary.

5. Think more Danish and local

In continuation of the desire for more community, studies show that Danes increasingly want to support the “Danish” and the “local” during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are more united as a nation and as locals. As a result, we want to support and buy locally to the greatest extent possible. We increasingly support good causes, and we want to be seduced by good local stories where we can help make a tangible and visible difference.

Therefore: consider how you can market your company, your brand and your products locally. Can you start initiatives that support and help the local community. Think about how you can contribute to the community? It could be new initiatives in your production, new local business partners or suppliers or as a sponsor for new initiatives that will help get Denmark or the local community going again.

Seize the opportunity now

The proverb ”every cloud has a silver lining” is very post-corona appropriate – it is about seizing the opportunities. The companies that manage to be more human in their vision, mission, set of values, products and services – and take more social responsibility and show community spirit will overtake those who do not.

Read the column here: https://erhvervplus.dk/artikel/brands-skal-være-mere-menneskelige

If you have questions or comments for the column, feel free to contact:

Martin Brems

Tel: +45 60 25 75 72.
Mail: mb@brems.dk