Picture: 123RF/OLEGDUKO
Picture: 123RF/OLEGDUKO

Successful, resilient brands have a strong brand personality and human attributes that make them relatable and encompass the essence of what they stand for. They convey an emotion or perception.

And, just as humans question our identity and purpose in trying times, so too do brands trying to adjust during unprecedented events.

From a brand perspective, never before have we experienced such loss, separation and restriction. We’ve seen the role brands have played, the people behind them, the families they supported, their essence, the way they made us feel, the way they were a part of our lives, our routines, our traditions, family gatherings, catch-ups with friends … and then they weren’t.

It makes sense then that we consider the grieving process from a brand’s perspective and how we can assist them to become increasingly resilient as we navigate through the coming months.

In other words, how do we make sense of the process and move from denying to accepting and brand storytelling that creates new meaning? Like humans, brands go through various stages of the grieving process:

Stage 1: Fight or flight – resistance, denial or retreating

Stage 2: Frustration – irritation and blame

Stage 3: Debilitation – overwhelmed and unsure of what to do

Stage 4: Normalisation/balance – rediscovering and identifying new opportunities

Stage 5: Return to growth – redefining and creating new solutions

Stage 6: New meaning and purpose – adjusted, hopeful and agile

In each of the above phases, various areas of critical response are required from brands to transition towards agility and successful repositioning in the changing market. We can begin mapping out a strategy for returning to growth, meaning and purpose.

Take each of your brands and do a critical assessment based on the following, while at the same time analysing using the above-mentioned phases:

  • The industry, category, business, brand and market;
  • The current consumer, potential newcomers, future consumers and emerging markets;
  • What is their current experience?;
  • How are they affected in the various phases?;
  • How have needs changed?;
  • How has behaviour changed?;
  • Are there any gaps?; and
  • What is a potential opportunity to add meaningful value, to make a difference?

Part of us wants to go back to “normal” while another part of us does not want to go back to the way it was before. Businesses, brands and individuals have struggled through some debilitating changes which have destroyed some while opening up new opportunities they would never have anticipated for others.

The bottom line is creating and building or rebuilding brands with purpose – brands that consumers can truly relate to and connect with despite the circumstances. A strong core purpose combined with a meaningful narrative creates sustainable and resilient brands.

*Lara-Anne Derbyshire is a digital strategist at Boomtown.

The big take-out:  A strong core purpose combined with a meaningful narrative creates sustainable and resilient brands.


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