Branding is more important than ever

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By Lisbeth Calandrino

During COVID-19, we have all experienced a major shift in how we live and conduct business. In addition, the shift continues to cause us trepidation since we have no idea what’s coming next. None of us have been here before, and we find ourselves in a reactionary mode rather than an action state of mind.

No one is exempt from this situation, including your brand. One thing we do know about your brand—it must be nimble and able to change with the times. How we got here will help you determine how you can stay relevant and yet sensitive to what’s going on in your business environment.

When we first heard about the pandemic, we didn’t pay much attention to the world impact. It was something happening “over there,” not over here. But we began to see events closing in, were told that older Americans were more susceptible to the virus and basically, we should stay home and be socially distant. Families were having meals and groceries delivered, and schools and events were canceled. Kids were home, jobs were disappearing and people were furloughed or laid off. Offices were downsizing and working from home.

The message was to stay at home and hoard hand sanitizer and toilet paper. From a business perspective, we saw big brands filing for bankruptcy—112-year-old brands such as Neiman Marcus. Brands went from selling to inspirational messages such as Budweiser’s – One Team, urging us to band together but not “too close” and stay indoors. We honored the first responders, the essential hospital workers, sewed masks and distributed food. Meanwhile, companies like Ford were manufacturing new powered air-purifying respirators with General Motors retrofitting to produce face shields. Closer to our industry, suppliers like Mohawk and Shaw temporarily retooled their plants to product PPE for health care workers and first responders.

So, how has your brand fared throughout this challenging time? Following are some key points to consider.

  1. Your brand must show its heart by being involved with and supportive of your community. All of us know someone who has lost their job or a loved one to the virus. Show empathy in your messages, show your care.
  2. According to a survey by Boston Digital, 78% of consumers expect companies to worry about their employees’ health and taking steps to safeguard their well-being. Talk about your employees, feature them in your ads on and offline. Show them helping and working in the community. Take on a project that involves your staff.
  3. Let your brand show you’re following the rules. I want to know I’m safe coming into your business and you know what it takes to make that happen.
  4. Embrace reality head on. Make it clear that the public’s health is a priority. For the consumer to come to your business, they must feel safe, so be clear that health is your main concern.
  5. As you look at your marketing budget, invest in content that will bring you closer to your community and your customers.

This is the time to sell solutions and position your brand accordingly. Don’t miss out on a valuable opportunity.

Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at

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August 10, 2020

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