5 Branding Strategies for the Pandemic

If the last two years have proven anything, it’s that the coronavirus and its ramifications will be here for a long time. The economic landscape has changed, and many businesses – even the greatest MNCs – are under tremendous pressure just to pull through. In a time of volatility, it’s more important than ever for businesses to pivot their brand.

What do you when your customers have stopped listening the way they used to, and the coronavirus crisis has created a huge shift in the way people work, learn, play, shop and unwind? Here’re five key brand-building strategies to remember:


1. Listen to the Market.

While your previous branding messages may have met the needs of the market, the crisis has changed much of the way consumers think. Listen with care and communicate with thought.

Global health and travel policies have changed with an emphasis on coronavirus etiquette. Brands must adhere to and echo this message. Be aware of the new economic reality, travel restrictions and social distancing. Marketing messages must reflect your brand’s awareness of the pandemic climate in order not to appear tone-deaf.

Messages may vary from brand to brand, but, fundamentally, audiences must believe that we will all rise above the crisis together. A great example is IKEA Singapore’s “Home is a Different World” campaign. While the world seems full of things beyond our control, IKEA shows that you can control what’s within your home, and choose for it to be safe, comfortable and full of love.


2. Help in Your Own Way.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the pandemic is that we all need to take care of each other and act for the common good. No matter the size or nature of your business, it’s important to let your customers know that you’re there for them during this difficult time.

Lending your support to the community doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. You can think of different ways to offer some of your products and services for free, or run a promotion where a large part of the proceeds goes towards a charity that offers relief for those badly affected by the pandemic.

One campaign that’s closer to home is Carousell’s #ChooseToGive campaign. Inspiring Singaporeans to be kind to one another, Carousell has helped its users to connect to those in need by offering them a platform to list basic necessities for free. Initiatives like these make a positive impact on your overall brand, and they’re a great way to give back to the community.


3. Be Human

The pandemic has been hard on everyone. Just like people, brands are affected by and respond to conditions around them.

Your brand should reflect the collective thoughts of your team and company. Your message should be empathetic and authentic. Businesses must remember that they’re engaging with other human beings, and must consider what everyone else is going through.

While it’s true that many businesses are going through tough times, the last thing you want to do is talk about your problems when your customers have their own problems to worry about. Businesses that aren’t empathetic and don’t act responsibly almost always face a public backlash against their brands. Singapore’s iconic Founder Bak Kut Teh experienced this when its second-generation owner appealed to the public to help save the business. This backfired badly because he was alleged to live an extravagant lifestyle while the business was floundering.



4. Tell the Truth and Stay Responsive

The pandemic has thrown all sorts of curveballs at businesses and people alike. How a brand responds to customers in times of difficulty will have a long-term impact on how customers perceive the brand.

Be sure your communication is timely, empathetic and honest. The sooner you acknowledge the issues, the more your customers will trust your brand. RedMart did this well when an overnight lockdown in Singapore drove up the demand for grocery delivery. With a shortage in delivery slots, RedMart responded well across its social media, assuring its customers of an ample and diverse supply chain and easing any sense of panic that was arising.


5. Send a Message of Hope

Your brand will always be remembered for the way it made your customers feel in a time of crisis. Indeed, there’s no better time than now to magnify the message that we’re all in this together, and that you have your customers’ backs – just like they have yours.

Now is an opportunity for your brand to let people know that you’re willing to do your part, and that revenue isn’t all you’re focused on. Coca Cola, for example, has launched a short film to thank the people helping to make the world a better place. This was part of how Coca Cola celebrated International Worker’s Day, and the brand’s efforts speak volumes.


Did you know that the Singapore Government is helping local companies with up to 80% of their branding initiatives? We’ve helped our Singapore clients do just that, and we can do that for you as well. To find out more about the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), get in touch with us today.