Who is your brand during the pandemic?

What a year March was, am I right?

Who got up on January 1st this year and said, "This is it! This is MY year!" I sure did. I crafted out a content calendar for the months ahead, decided to make this the most motivational year of my life, and then COVID-19 happened and every message I planned out or scheduled, just seemed... off.

I'm not the only one either. It seems there are a lot of brands who couldn't do things right during a pandemic. Some examples were:

Forbes - Posted an article about the billionaires who aren't immune to suffering during a pandemic. Really?

Kentucky Fried Chicken - Finger-Lickin' Good ads are pretty inappropriate right now.

Cadbury Eggs - Circulated an ad with a grandfather and grandkids out getting Easter eggs. They finally pulled it.

....and we won't even mention Ruth's Chris Steak House. Yeesh.

1. Who ARE you now?

Some clients I have worked with like being snarky. Some like being funny. Some like being serious. And you know what? ALL branding messages should be audited RIGHT NOW.

Is this the time to push an article about unexpected death? Maybe...if the message isn't impersonal.

Is this the time to buy Facebook ads about retirement planning? Maybe...if you know the exact audience for the message.

You have to decide who you are (who your brand is) during this pandemic and act accordingly.

2. Clients want a little more toned-down messaging.

It's probably not a good idea to try and build your brand around snarky messaging - not right now. (And that's not me saying it. That's Nathan Allebach with Allebach Communications who manages some of the best D2C [direct-to-consumer] messaging out there.)

Our clients need to know WHO you are - and during a pandemic they want you to be more human, with feelings and a heart.

This probably isn't the time for "National Cupcake Day" messages. It's the time for serious conversation around, "Am I going to be ok?" and we have to have answers for that!

3. Where do clients want their messaging?

Overwhelmingly, social media. We all know this. The pandemic didn't pick and choose who it would affect. It's affected EVERYONE and the only messaging platforms that reach EVERYONE today are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.

If you're messaging on these platforms today and your posts and information do not tell an audience WHO you are and WHAT you stand for - the audience just moves on.

PERSON OF ACTION: If you have to pull every single scheduled post and rethink your strategy - do it now. You want that messaging to be succinct and kind and empathetic and relevant and filled with heart. Put a hold on the the snarky messaging. Stop complaining on Twitter about brands (<-- I said that one out loud for my own sake, too.) Show your heart in this pandemic and others will respond.

Warrior on -

Sheryl Hickerson

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