COVID-19 DIARIES

Branding & Communication But Trustworthy

Onur Unsal, Chief Digitalization Officer
Rethinking the "brand image" in the days of Corona
As we all know, businesses and economies have been suffering from the current pandemic across the world and apparently this will lead the global economy to a certain level of downturn. It is going to be as severe as the 2008 global financial crisis -maybe it will have more impacts, nobody knows. Let me be purely honest: I did not have a chance to see the real impact of the 2008 crisis as I was still studying that time. But now, I clearly understand how hard it is for businesses to fight with economic downturn as consumers/customers rightfully have major concerns with their families, jobs, regular expenses and sustainability of normal life. In this equation, businesses in B2B, B2C and all other types have to somehow update their marketing, branding and public communications -which will anyway reflect on sales and business development when the things get back to normal in the future.
I've been observing some big brands' out of box marketing and communications attempts on digital marketing channels. Their common points are, they are not focused on sales revenue but on branding instead. To put it bluntly, the main message behind all those marketing attempts is to show consumers that 'brand X is with you', 'your brand X is calling you stay at home and healthy'. I would say that brand management through digital communications is now experiencing a serious test. Because consumers are deadly emotional and they have got more time to interact with brands through Google, social media and all other digital channels. This may give businesses, who have planned proper digital marketing strategies thus far and who are already taking advantage of these times, plenty of chances to increase the emotional connection and to build long-lasting trust between brand and consumer or a customer for B2B businesses. Of course, B2B and B2C should have different marketing strategies but they also have many common points.

To sum up, any tiny message and communication that gives the consumer or customer that the brand is taking care of them, but not trying to sell them, is going to be the most significant factor to increase brand awareness and trustworthiness in the sight of the right customer segment. Therefore brand and marketing managers, particularly on digital channels, have now more work to do than ever -I believe. Long term business growth plans will be only sustainable with a trustable brand communication.

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