How brands can best respond to the new normal

By Pelican MD Michael Bennett

3 minute read

Key takeaways:

  • Our joint webinar with The Brand Nursery explored how brands should position themselves and communicate as a result of the ‘new normal’
  • Despite the disruption we’ve all suffered, not all the changes brought about by the pandemic have been bad, and many present opportunities.
  • Brands need to think about which of their values align most closely their customers and how they can demonstrate these.

We are living in extraordinary times, in the midst of a pandemic that has affected almost every aspect of our lives and changed the way we do business. On 30 September, along with The Brand Nursery, we hosted a webinar exploring how brands should position themselves and communicate in this ‘new normal’.

A world of change

Just a year ago we could never have predicted what lay ahead. Our working day, social life and family routines have been turned upside down and there’s little doubt a global recession is on the horizon.

But despite the doom and gloom reported in the news every day, the changes brought about by the pandemic have not all been bad.

We have all taken a giant leap forwards into the digital world, with conferencing software now ever-present in our ‘new’ lives.

On an individual level, we’re spending more time at home, making healthier choices and have a greater focus on mental health.

We’ve also been forced to plan our food consumption more carefully during lockdown, and as a result we’re wasting less; buying and using only what we need.

Asda’s ‘Fight Hunger’ food banks and Marcus Rashford’s campaign for school meal vouchers are evidence that within our communities there is a greater connection to our local area and rising consciousness about the needs of the vulnerable.

From these changes, opportunities have arisen. When we were forced to stay at home, the food delivery market boomed, leading Domino’s to create 5,000 new jobs and Deliveroo to look for 15,000 new riders to meet demand.

Sales of in-home exercise equipment, online exercise classes, garden furniture and home education services have also experienced impressive growth.

But beyond the short-term gains to be had by capitalising on behavioural changes, brands need to look at attitudinal changes to ensure growth beyond the pandemic. Accept your customers’ needs and expectations have changed, and prove you are prepared to change with them.

Ask yourself…

  • How have your consumers changed their behaviours, their values, their wants and needs?
  • Is your brand positioning still fit for purpose?
  • Does the ‘new normal’ present any fresh opportunities your business or brands could benefit from?
  • How have your competitors changed? Has lockdown altered the competitive marketplace?

The best way to answer the first question, and discover the extent to which people have changed their views and habits as a result of COVID-19, is to ask them. Take advantage of online research tools which can help give you insights into how your consumers are behaving and what they think and feel about your sector, brand and competition.

Once you start digging into what your customers think and want, you’re likely to uncover a more conscious consumer; one who thinks outside themselves, who cares about the environment, society and wants to support businesses who think the same way.

This should prompt you to think more broadly about your role in the new society you and your customers inhabit. Or to put it another way, think about your purpose.

What does your organisation aspire to be and do? What are you doing for the wider world; your customers, your community, the environment?

More than ever, these things matter to your customers. Even before lockdown, data showed customers viewed purpose-driven brands as being more caring and, as a result, were more loyal to them.

It might mean your brand has to evolve and adapt to reflect our new circumstances, so think about the aspects of your offering that are most in tune with the world as it is today.

Remember, the strongest brands tell compelling stories that engage, excite and inspire. Now is the time to decide what story you want to tell.

Why not watch the video of the webinar to learn more?

If you need help telling your story, get in touch today to speak with one of our experts.

Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment & CSR, food, packaging & logistics and trade association sectors and offers a range of services such as strategy, design, content creation, public relations and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.

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