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Take advantage of the opportunities presented by the pandemic

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

COVID-19 has left many brands in need of rebranding. Contese has the knowledge to help you emerge revitalised from the pandemic with your best foot forwards.

In Spring 2020, quarantine conditions worldwide sent brands scrambling for a plan, new business marketing ideas, or even a brand refresh strategy. Even trained communications experts had to strategise carefully to ensure their brands stayed afloat during the worldwide pandemic.

From luxury hotels devoid of guests to wine companies struggling to find their online voice, businesses struggled to find a direction and maintain their market share afterlife came to a screeching halt.

During this time, many companies came to Contese for their business branding and content creation needs. We amassed a wealth of knowledge on how businesses work, survive, and flourish in times of crisis.

In 2020, only eight per cent of people surveyed believed that companies should stop advertising during the crisis. The vast majority of people surveyed still wanted to hear from their favourite brands, but their needs had changed. Now, they wanted advice and transparency. The worldwide experience of COVID-19 has shown us that brands face new challenges when disaster strikes. Many needed to curate new batches of content that maintained brand values while appealing to an audience that had changed irrevocably.

This time of crisis provided crucial moments of reflection for businesses. It became even more critical to maintain brand loyalty and update marketing ideas, even though the rest of the world was at a complete standstill.

Managing your brand in a crisis

So, how should you manage your brand in a crisis? What do you need to adjust to maintain an appropriate brand voice in unpredictable circumstances?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, social media was the world’s newspaper more than ever. Many turned there for answers during the crisis, and many are still there today. Email marketing, blogs, frequent website updates and even Instagram stories were among the many ways brands continued to touch customers’ lives despite the growing physical distance.

During the past two years, online content has helped push brands forward.

Let’s look at a few dos and don’ts for devising a solid strategy for a plane sailing through a crisis, with seven key ways to stay relevant and connected to your customers as a beacon of hope, whatever is happening in the world.

-Don’t stay silent

The worst thing you can do during a crisis is disappeared completely. Brands that remain present and retain their authentic voice can provide security and normality when customers need it most. On the other hand, brands that give nothing but radio silence quickly lose brand affinity and customer loyalty. Sure, there were undoubtedly certain brands in need of rebranding during this pandemic, but your unique brand voice doesn’t only exist to sell your services. It also provides a feeling that customers trust. Communicating online can transmit that trustworthy feeling, too, if you use your voice effectively.

-When in doubt, be helpful.

When unsure what to post, ask yourself how the situation affects your audience. How have their priorities changed? From homeschooling to remote working, the chances are that their lives have been altered dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing these changes can be an opportune moment to provide support through business branding.

During the 2020 quarantine, Spotify made playlists of soothing music to listen to at home. Netflix curated new lists of the top things to watch without mentioning the pandemic. If a crisis strikes again, come up with ideas for using your expertise to help others.

-React fast

During a crisis of this magnitude, situations change daily. Worldwide stay-at-home orders have been lifted and then reinforced at a mind-boggling rate. Pub doors across the UK have swung open and shut so often that they’re almost falling off their hinges. Children have been switching between distance and classroom learning, and adults have been confused about whether they are meant to be back at the office or still working from home. Not only does this affect your staff, meaning they may need some support too, but these circumstances also change with each passing day, meaning brands need to act fast to

stay relevant.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean more reasons for rebranding; fast reactions alone win customers. Imagine if you had a trip planned and had to cancel, but the hotel maintained rapid communication. You’d feel far more comfortable rebooking the trip. In this case, the hotel’s responsiveness and understanding helped them retain a sale and a loyal customer. Whatever service your business provides, the importance of a speedy response cannot be overstated.

-Be empathetic

Don’t be afraid to use this time to promote yourself. There was a 70 per cent uptick in web browsing during the first quarantine as people began to rely on their devices for everything, and it looks like that trend is here to stay. That said, being sensitive to your audience has never been more important.

Do what’s right for you, but always craft your content with intent. Don’t just post the odd reference and hope for the best. Develop your brand content strategy with care. Craft a message aligned with your brand values, and commit to it fully.

-Market the old-fashioned way

Don’t be afraid to talk to the press to promote your brand. The Covid-19 outbreak has dominated the news for the past two years, and journalists have become desperate for new angles. They want to write about something different, and as a result, more creative stories have emerged. Beauty tips for Zoom calls, apps for remote working, and home exercise tips are just a few examples of how businesses have refocused during the pandemic. Motoring correspondents, travel writers, and other content creators must also keep working, so use their expertise to find your new angle.

-Don’t exploit the situation.

Exploiting the situation by raising prices or misleading customers should never be part of the plan. Your customer base trusts you, and you'll break that trust for good if you’re unreliable during a crisis. Now is not the time for companies to increase their prices or mislead customers into making ill-advised purchases.

Communication plan

How should you communicate post-pandemic? What should branding campaigns look like now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

While quarantine may be a thing of the past, nobody can deny its lasting impact on our lives and work. As the world slowly recovers, we see further adjustments by the day, some of which we hope won’t stick around and others that will probably be here for good. Although it might be tempting to avoid spending money on marketing until the situation is clear, that would be a long-term mistake. Instead, spend smarter with these critical tips for your brand refresh strategy.

Brand refresh strategy top tips

Old ideas and insights may now be outdated, so it's best to start small and take a trial-and-error approach. First, speak to your whole team about new ideas; this will help ensure your new strategies are appropriate for the life changes your customers have endured, some of which you may not have personally experienced.

-Look at other markets to observe how they are changing. Stay on top of these shifts and consider how they could impact your approach.

-Many have taken up new hobbies during these difficult two years, and some are still going strong with their daily painting, yoga, gardening, or whatever pastime it was that gave them comfort. Can you tap into your audience’s new daily walk or baking habit?

-Business marketing ideas like content creation are cost-effective. Avoid massive advertising campaigns by writing blogs and using them for social media content. Prioritising a short-term SEO content plan which bears COVID-19 in mind can keep your strategy engaging, affordable, and relevant.

-Conversions have also dropped, especially in the travel and tourism industries. Whilst keeping up with your travel content, consider offering payment plans so that people can spend little by little or offer automatic refunds so that the commitment doesn’t seem so difficult.

-Look to other markets to see if a shift in focus makes sense for you. Italy and Spain experienced extreme changes during the pandemic, but now they have seemingly

returned to everyday life.

-Across the world, countries are adjusting to the pandemic at their own pace and in their way. Pivot your focus and direct digital resources at new target markets and cultures.

The past years have been wildly unpredictable. Most of us know it’s not over yet, but there are still ways we can move forward with business branding, despite the uncertainty we face. As Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity,” and there’s no reason your business can’t grasp that opportunity.

If you believe your company may be one of the many businesses needing rebranding, if you’re looking for new content, a brand story, or just need to refine your voice, Contese is here for you. Get in touch to experience our storytelling skills, creativity, and professionalism, and let us put your brand into words.


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