How to maintain brand image in tough times?
In such times, we must give the customer what they need: a sense of relief and hope in the near future writes Akshaara Lalwani, CEO & Founder, Communicate India.
Well into the future, it will be safe to say that 2020 will forever be remembered as the year that changed the world irrevocably, as fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the year when social distancing and isolation are considered healthy options, and working from home is a norm, and not an exception. 2020 is also the year brands, both new and established either built a favourable reputation among customers, or tarnished it, depending on their strategy, during the crisis.
In fact, with a lot of brands finding new ways to adapt to the situation at hand, and promote their products simultaneously, it has created dissent among the community of media, and content creators. A well-known luxury blogger was recently forced to put out a statement requesting brands to take a break from blatantly insensitive promotions, and quarantine strategies.
It is in brand’s best interest to use this time wisely. Undertake CSR activities, which benefit society at large, as well as earn your brand goodwill, or even deploy new-age employee-friendly strategies to keep them engaged. While to some this might seem frivolous at this point of time, it is important to note, that tomorrow, when the world clambers to get back on its feet, it is your reputation that you built during a time of crisis that will be your saving grace. At this juncture, PR can play a very important role in helping your brand navigate the rough seas, and prepare you for the future. After all, how will you sell, if your reputation is tarnished?
Reputation management forms an important part of any PR strategy, and any publicist worth their money will tell you that sometimes less is more, especially in times like this. Rather than focusing on being all over every news portal for a new product or service, adapt to new age technologies, and leverage the power of the internet to send out a positive message to your audiences. Create meaningful content for your brand, to focus on your audience’s health and safety first. As a CEO too, take a strong stand on social issues. As a doyen of the industry, by being vocal about the right things, the trickle-down effect will impact your brand in a massive way. By letting them your audience know that you care, or are doing something for the betterment of the situation, your reputation will grow among users, and the industry at large.
That being said, today, in the hyper-competitive market that we function in, as a brand and as a reputation management partner, we need to understand that good PR alone is not enough. While press releases, and conferences will get the message out to the masses, how they consume it, all boils down to on-ground activation. Ensure you have a robust customer service team, along with sales, for a proactive and reactive approach. Through the right mix of positive content, along with addressing user queries, it will go a long way in reaching out to customers.
With a range of ORM, SEO, and PR strategies one can opt for, it is important to understand how each can be leveraged, and deploy the right strategies to spread positive news. In such times, we must give the customer what they need: a sense of relief and hope in the near future.
Around The World