Brand design in the Corona crisis: The hour of substance
No doubt: In the Corona crisis, unbridled marketing expenditure is not the order of the day. And thus, many organisations are currently also limiting their investments in branding, which is hardly surprising given the unprecedented slump in demand for non-essential goods. Yet it’s precisely times like this in which brand design proves its true value – provided it’s based on the right theoretical foundation.
Few things are punished as mercilessly by economic crises as insubstantiality. This is also – and particularly – true for inappropriate brand design: While in a booming economy many brands get away with clumsy communication, it can suddenly turn into a decisive competitive disadvantage once organisations and their target audiences have to tighten their proverbial belts. In this case, brand design that naturally follows the principles of well-established brand theory is clearly at an advantage.
One such principle is that brands must be predictable. Predictability creates trust, and trust pays off more than ever in times of crisis. For the same reason that many people are currently turning to “boring” politicians and away from erratic populists, brands that surprise their target audiences with incoherent messages will suffer the most in the Corona crisis. This is exactly what good brand design avoids.
So is brand design only good when it’s boring? No – because fortunately, predictability and boringness aren’t the same thing. A brand is predictable if it doesn’t contradict itself or do anything it isn’t thought capable of doing. This requires a precisely defined, authentic brand identity in the form of brand core values that are translated into consistent design elements on a long-term basis. Constantly creating new stimuli within this framework that simultaneously attract attention and inspire trust is one of the key components of successful brand management.
What’s true for the fundamentals of branding is also true for brand communication as a whole: If it pursues clearly defined goals and consistently addresses the brand’s and target audience’s actual needs, it can make a valuable contribution to limiting the crisis’ adverse effects. This may not be the hour of brand design, but it is perhaps the hour of substance. Because whoever relies on brand design with real added value right now inspires trust in these uncertain times.