Do tough times reveal the true character of a brand? Facing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent disruption in nearly all industry sectors, how might a brand’s choices reveal its nature or true personality, strengthen or damage or perhaps transform its relationship with stakeholders?
Brand actions during critical moments such as this can prompt a consumer to “reassess and manipulate memories of past events, such as converting positive memories into negative ones or vice versa,” according to research from marketing professors Colleen Harmeling, Robert Palmatier, Mark Houston and other colleagues. A single event can “disrupt gradual relationship development and serve as a defining moment in a relationship’s history, driving transformational emotions and cognitions and causing a dramatic change in the relationship’s velocity.”
During these times of crises, choosing the right form of brand behavior and executing it at the right time can infuse more meaning to consumers’ relationships with your brand.
As COVID-19 spreads across the world, consumers’ needs and behaviors rapidly change. Experiential marketing and sensory marketing activities may need to evolve and find new channels. As brands proactively adapt to the pressure and changes caused by the pandemic, those seen as genuinely caring and committed to the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet will emerge from the trial even stronger. Those perceived as using overt gestures to cover up a sole focus on profit may lose trust and customers altogether.