A global crisis, just like any other, follows a journey – from outbreak, to containment, to recovery.  And along that journey public sentiment changes as we all deal with the impact it has on our lives.  Although every country is at a different stage of its journey right now, one thing remains the same when it comes to business – brands that acknowledge and embrace their community’s sentiment through their own actions will be the brands that retain our trust and support in the long run.

As we move deeper into the ‘containment’ phase of this pandemic, it’s important that brands adjust and adapt to the new homebound economy if they want to have a chance of surviving.

What does this mean for brands?

It might not be the right time for self-promotion or to launch a recovery campaign, but neither is it right to just be silent and say nothing. Now more than ever, there is a need to foster a spirit of unity and positivity. As a brand, you need to stay connected with your community as they need your support and want to hear from you. By continuing to engage with positive, supportive messages, you are showing that you care.

But to effectively engage your audience you need to be creative and brave.  It’s no longer enough to be entertaining, instead you need to make yourself useful if you want to maintain and build relationships. You need to find new and useful ways to be relevant in consumers’ lives.  What do they need right now and how can you provide value? It’s a time to be generous – whether with your time, your skills or the resources at your fingertips.  Get creative and make the most of new communication channels. Consider formats such as live streaming, online events, community messaging groups, and up your content marketing investment with new approaches to engage your community.  By sharing useful tools and content, or even stories of how you are supporting the wider cause, you are doing your bit to help.

Examples of brands doing it well

A great example are gyms such as Fitness First who, like many businesses during the lockdown, have had to temporarily close their doors. To continue to be there for its communities the brand has taken a new approach to building and maintaining its relationships by offering useful content – live streaming 6-8 classes every single day across social media to serve the millions of consumers who are under lockdown and trying to maintain their fitness indoors.  What’s more, you don’t even have to be a Fitness First member to access the classes – they are available to everyone, everywhere!

Another industry, greatly affected by the crisis, but adapting their services and taking meaningful action to support the community is hospitality.  Brands such as Gates Hospitality and Sarood Hospitality have been sharing invaluable content online.  Gates Hospitality launched its own ‘home schooling’ programme with its industry experts hosting learning sessions via social media. Whilst Sarood has been hosting cooking tutorials with their leading chefs from across the different restaurants such as Pierchic and The Duck Hook who have been sharing their tips and secrets.  In addition, Sarood and Alabbar Enterprises have also been showing their humanity by tirelessly fueling front line workers with their ‘Help our heroes’ and ‘Helping Hands’ initiatives.

Key take-away

The key point here is that no matter what industry or business you’re in, you need to be proactive, be brave and be visible. But most importantly, you need to be useful if you want to be remembered.