In Her Words: 5 Things Brands Must Do Now to Thrive in the Midst of Uncertainty
We are at a crossroads in our history and many of us find ourselves in limbo. Some of us are clinging to the past we knew, hoping that things will return to “normal,” while others still hold their breath, not quite ready to step into the unknown.
We are living through a vulnerable and uncertain period. None of us have experienced what is happening now in our lifetime. But one thing is sure: change is inevitable. We are in this storm together, but we are on different ships, experiencing all different kinds of turbulence.
If you are a business owner, you may be asking yourself, “How do I navigate these rough seas? What course corrections do I need to make?” Here are five things you can do right now to not only stabilize your business and brand but ultimately thrive in the long term.
1. Deep Dive into Your Purpose and Mission
Now is the time to revisit your passion and your reason for being in business in the first place. What do you stand for? Why are you in business and why should we care? Double down on your values to reinvigorate internally in order to act and inspire externally. Don’t be afraid to share your values – in fact, you must if you want to make a powerful emotional connection with your audience. For example, mega beauty brand, Glossier, donated $500K to organizations focused on combating racial injustice, and they also allocated an additional $500K to provide grants to black-owned beauty businesses to impact the beauty industry as a whole. Not every brand has a million dollars to contribute, but you can put your money where your mouth – and mission – are and make a contribution that is meaningful to you.
2. Find Ways to Give Even More Value
In other words, stop focusing on marketing and selling, and start being helpful. People are suffering right now and the last thing they need is tone-deaf brands constantly pitching them and touting their products and services. Find things you can do that will be uplifting, inspiring, and helpful to your community. Be generous and keep adding value. For example, our client, Violet, a daily iodine supplement for women that alleviates monthly breast pain and discomfort is giving every customer a bonus 30-pack (a one-month supply) with every purchase during the months of June and July. They also donated more than 5,000 boxes of Violet to the PERIOD movement to get the product into the hands of at-risk women nationwide.
3. Collaborate and Cross-Pollinate
Now is the time to connect with others and share resources. It’s time to take a “better together” attitude and create win-win partnerships. If you are a yoga studio or a healthcare practitioner, perhaps you can partner with an acupuncturist or a skincare brand or a healthy food delivery service and brainstorm ways to work together. You can leverage each other’s platforms by featuring them on your blog or podcast or mentioning your work together in your online newsletter. A recent example of this came from two of the biggest – and also most competitive – brands in the world. Nike shared a moving video about racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement on their social channels (they have long been a very vocal supporter) and Adidas shared the video with a retweet on Twitter and added, “Together is how we move forward. Together is how we make change.” If the big guys can do it, so can you.
4. Meet Your Clients Where They Are
Our online world was already busy, but now it’s where everyone must live thanks to COVID-19. It’s estimated that we have fast-forwarded online by six years in the last few months alone. It’s more important than ever to keep the light on where your potential clients are hanging out. Whether your audience is on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or a combination of these platforms, make sure you’re checking in regularly, sharing helpful content, and being responsive.
5. Stop Being So “Politically Correct”
I am tired of the “politics doesn’t belong at the dinner table or in business” conversation. Our world is literally on fire, so we better talk politics. It affects every aspect of our lives – healthcare, education, our children, racial justice, police brutality, equality, mass incarceration and so much more. For many years now, women have asked me how I’m so comfortable talking about politics in my business (I have written about political issues on my blog and in my newsletter and been a guest on many podcasts where it’s a part of the conversation.) My response has always been “how can I not talk about it? As a single mother to a seven-year-old son and running a woman-owned business that cares about and supports women, there are so many issues that affect me, those I love and the people I work with. And if I lose a few followers because I use my voice and speak out, then so be it. Those aren’t my people anyway. Our younger generation is holding brands accountable and they are watching them. If you aren’t clear about your values and what you stand for – and speak up – you risk being called out. At the end of the day, consumers support companies whose values align with their own.
This moment in time is asking brands to be more human – to be empathetic and to SHOW UP. There is no more hiding behind glossy ad campaigns and pretty websites. The time is now to step up and stand for something, to share your truth with the world, and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes you have to burn it down to the ground in order to rise.
Liz Dennery is a brand strategist, creative director, and Founder & CEO of SheBrand, a creative firm focused on women and their influence. She has 25 years of marketing, branding, and public relations experience working with iconic brands like Escada, Ralph Lauren, Elyse Walker, Serena Williams, Harper’s Bazaar, The America Cancer Society, and more.
Through SheBrand, Liz helps women and companies that care about women build powerful brands that reach, connect with, and engage the female consumer. Her personal mission is to help women rise higher, use their voices and shatter glass ceilings, and old perceptions. Liz is also the author of Style & Substance: How to Create a Compelling Brand, a guide, and workbook for building a more resonant brand in today’s loud and cluttered world.
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