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Industry Contributor 27 May 2020 - 2 min read

If brand responsiveness was not top of mind before, it definitely should be now

By Tim Brown, Head of Marketing - Outfit

Recent events have highlighted the ability (or lack thereof) of brands to respond. It’s one thing to have a brand that is flexible enough to shift with the market, consumer trends and robust enough that it can still maintain brand control when this is happening. But an entirely different thing for a brand to also have systems in place to get rapidly changing messages out there quickly.

Key points:

  • What’s more important, speed in response or brand control?
  • Brand responsiveness is not just about having a versatile brand
  • Your customers will already have an expectation of how strong brands act in a crisis, those that get it right will see the benefits coming out of this crisis.
  • Brand responsiveness is about having systems in place that can enable rapid on-brand response
  • Companies that respond quickly, at scale and on-brand will come out of this stronger. 

Within a rapidly changing market brands need to be able to respond quickly - especially now with public sentiment and governmental impact changing so frequently. It’s all very well to have built a brand that can adapt in theory, but when the chips are down and things need to happen quickly and at scale, a lot of brands will find themselves scrambling. To avoid this situation identify any bottlenecks in your process, as it will reduce efficiency when you most need it. Ideally crisis response planning should have been codified by brand managers in advance. To support this a martech kit that can handle their automation and production needs when the proverbial hits the fan. It’s been referenced in a few places already, but Brand Z finding that after the GFC, stronger brands can recover up to nine times quicker, should be at the forefront of managers’ minds right now.

Responding in a crisis

There have been plenty of memes alluding to COVID-19 being the catalyst for businesses to speed up their digital transformation and there is a lot of truth in those memes. Those who have failed to prepare should ready themselves for the consequences. Global Web Index found 85 per cent of global audiences believe brands should provide practical information and tips which help people deal with the current situation. The expectation is there, brand managers take note. 

We’ve seen first-hand how brands like Bakers Delight have been able to get messages out to all franchisees, advising customers about social distancing rules, amended opening hours and business updates based on mandated restrictions. All of this was able to be done quickly, at scale and on-brand. It also gave us a window into the converse situation where a brand may struggle to respond quickly and would either remain behind the rapid market movement or would be in market but off brand. Regardless of the platform, brands will need to evaluate how they coped during Covid-19, once we’re out of the other end. I expect to see a higher level of readiness, and reliance on production automation, should (god forbid) another similar crisis occur. 

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Tim Brown, Head of Marketing


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