When times are uncertain, how do you brand yourself authentically? There’ll always be major world-shifting events that happen from time to time. You need to decide if you should adjust your branding and message during those times or continue with business as usual. Your audience will typically expect you to go one way or the other, and it’s better to have a policy in place so when these times arise, you know what to do. You’ll be able to make a quick decision and then act appropriately, without hesitation.
- Consider your adjusting the tone of your messages. This is about staying consistent with your voice but making adjustments as appropriate. For example, I’m writing this during the 2020 pandemic. I recognize that many people are feeling uneasy and fearful as we’re living in strange times. Everything keeps changing frequently. This creates an atmosphere of tension. As such, my marketing messages have shifted, along with some of my content. I’m still true to my Brand Standards and adhere to my overall Branding Framework but I’ve shifted and adjusted my message if even slightly, to be mindful of the current uncertainties.
- Address the elephant in the room- address what is happening. Where appropriate, acknowledge whatever is happening, instead of avoiding it. This article is an example of doing this. As mentioned before, I am writing this during the 2020 pandemic and times are uncertain. I’ve specifically chosen to address uncertainty head-on, rather than pretending everything is ‘business as usual’.
- Use your content to connect and serve. During changing times, people need connection. Be of service by creating content that connects people to you and to each other. This, of course, depends on your audience and what they need. But try to think of ways to use your content as a means of connection.
- Be a rock. Act as a pillar of stability. This isn’t to say you’re perfect and impervious to weakness as an organization or leader. Of course, you’re not a machine. However, in general, you want to represent stability, so your customers and clients can rely on you, even when they feel uncertain with a lot of institutions and circumstances. If you remain strong and steadfast, your customers will feel safe about their transactions with you. Also, they’ll feel you’re one aspect of their life that they can count on despite other things changing around them.
- Focus on empathy. As a brand leader, you have the opportunity to empathize with your audience and people in general. Empathy is a powerful character skill. It sets you apart and shows you can relate and connect well with others.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that uncertain times arise. If we could wave a magic wand, we’d probably all create a world where things were steady, reliable, and dependable. Unfortunately, that’s not reality. What is reality is a changing world where major difficulties pop up and affect the great majority of us. As a brand and business, you’re not in a bubble where you don’t have to deal with these changes. And neither are your clients and customers. Instead of trying to avoid dealing with these changes, it is better you have a plan in place.
This is what I call an ‘uncertainty plan’. A loose plan for how you may shift your branding and messaging during uncertain times if necessary. For example, if there’s a major shift in the market or a major industry change that people have been predicting for years. Having thought through a loose plan of action ahead of time also gives you peace of mind and makes you feel prepared. You can then adjust the specifics based on what’s happening and what’s best for your audience. Of course, many uncertainties will come out of the blue and you won’t be able to plan ahead. But if you maintain a flexible mindset, this will also help you plan and adjust your branding as necessary.
As always, your best actions are determined by what’s best for your audience. Let them be your guide. This will help you make the best decision for your brand and business during both certain and uncertain times.