We’re experiencing a historic moment. The Coronavirus pandemic has turned all of our lives upside down. Change is happening quickly, and what is true in one moment gets updated in the next.
No one knows how the world will look after this is over, but one shift, in particular, seems very likely: We will leave the age of hyper-individualization and move into a period in which community and community-thinking are valued commodities.
As CEO of a Storytelling and Comms Agency, I am currently consulting with companies on Coronavirus campaigns and strategies, and I’m experiencing first-hand the rapid changes brands and brand positioning are currently undergoing.
Let’s First Take A Look At What’s Happening Right Now
In this strange and anxious time, we are seeing many examples of companies that are focused on delivering value to their communities. Facebook, for example, announced a $100 million dollar program to support small businesses in 30 countries last week. Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts, among many other digital services, are being offered for free.
Whatever the industry, this is the time to take a stand, contribute to the common good and position yourself by being present. Brands all over the world, and in all kinds of industries, are presently working out what they can do to help – from getting fresh food to vulnerable populations to sharing their software at no cost. Now is the time to make yourself known as part of a community by thinking outside the box.
In The Future, The Focus Of Brand Positioning Will Be On The Question: How Can We Create Value For Our Community?
My hypothesis is that this kind of community thinking is here to stay. In the future, brands need to think harder about how and what exactly they can contribute to the communities they are serving. Potential clients and customers want to know how the products offered by their favorite brands are making our collective lives – as a community – better.
I believe that, in the future, it will not be sufficient to create a only relatable ad or a cool idea. The days of self-presentation will move into the background, both for large corporates and for personal brands. In their place, we will see companies being expected to contribute something and ask themselves these two questions:
- What can we do for our community?
- What is something only we can do?
What Can You Do To Take Action?
Take A Moment To Assess Your Core Values, Mission Statement, And Purpose
It is easy to come up with a whole load of ideas that might help solve the problems we are all facing right now: problems that range from lack of masks, to distribution of toilet paper.
Before you jump into the questions, though, I would invite you to take a moment and look at your core values and purpose. What are your core values and how can you contribute something that is aligned with them?
If your company’s value is “connecting” then how can you connect people? Maybe this can be a local initiative, like offering your service to community organizers or highlighting the work of charities that help the elderly connect. A specific, local or personal touch adds to feelings of community creation and integration.
If your core value is “Learning,” you might want to think about ways to educate the public, maybe be providing them with relevant news, access to free courses online, or even getting people in touch with local businesses that provide opportunities to learn.
Do Your Research
Take a moment to learn about the ways other companies in your field are taking action, and then think about how you can position yourself by contributing to something that is unique.
Ask yourself: What is something only you can do? What would be something unique that your company can contribute? What do you have access to that others don’t? What is your superpower, and how can you use that to contribute to the common good?
Use The RID-Methode To Decide How To Take Action
When deciding on the action to take, use the RID-method to guide you in your decision. RID stands for Relevant, Impactful, Doable and all ideas should be all three.
Relevant: Choose an area that is relevant to your company and your customers.
Impactful: Choose to do something that will have an impact. That means it will solve a real and pressing problem. Now especially people are overwhelmed, they’re focusing on the essentials, and on solving problems quickly and effectively.
Doable: Finally, think about what is doable for your business. What can you deliver in a short time-frame? What resources can you realistically allocate to this project?
Think About The Story You Want To Tell
Even though this is an overwhelming time, think about the story you want to tell first. This story should be relevant to your product and your company goals and ethos, and it should also be relevant to the community you are a part of. Here are some questions to consider:
- What do you want customers to walk away telling one another?
- Are you contributing value for individuals, a community, or a specific group of people
- How does your new story relate to your brand’s history?
- How do you want to tell this story?
This is a difficult time, and as a business leader responsibilities can be overwhelming. Being present and taking action for your community is what is most pressing right now, but also in the future.
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