Brands on the Rise: The Pandemic Edition

A roundup of five best practices for brands during the global health crisis and beyond

As we round the corner on five-plus months of our COVID life, it’s only natural that a sense of pandemic fatigue has overtaken our collective consciousness, making it especially difficult to see what brand actions will matter – both now and in the future. Certainly, it’s true that key markers in history become apparent when looking back at them through the rearview mirror. But while we’re knee-deep in history’s hours and days, how do we contribute something meaningful to this moment? That question is as pressing for people as it is for brands.

To help brands make a difference, we’ve put together a checklist of fundamentals that will help keep banks and credit unions on track and on the rise.

  1. Lead with Empathy

Financial brands should be viewing the world from the lens of the people you serve. Months into a pandemic when people remain concerned about their financial health, they don’t want to hear anything other than what your financial institution is doing to help alleviate some of the financial pressure of this moment. Acquisition advertising should be well-balanced with offers of critical assistance that are unequivocal and overt. You have an opportunity to mean more in the eyes of your customers. Use it.

  1. Over-Invest in Your Brand

It can be hard to feel like COVID is an opportunity, but it is. Use this moment to double down on your brand. What financial institutions tend to do in the face of the unknown is conserve, but spending more energy and allocating more dollars now, in the midst of a pandemic, will help create brand resilience now and in the future. History shows that brands that choose to make bold moves at times like this are poised and primed to seize new opportunities. The more financial brands can capture consumer attention and affection and foster relationships during this moment, the better positioned they will be for the future.

  1. Build Trust

One advantage community banks and credit unions have always had is consumer trust. Being embedded in their communities has meant deeper connections and in this moment, those bonds show their strength. Everything your brand does now should be focused on building that trusting relationship with your customers or members. Community banks and credit unions are finding meaningful ways to connect with both employees and customers even when in-branch interaction is necessarily limited. Leveraging your brand to foster trust will help clearly communicate your brand promise and value.

  1. Understand Your Brand

We’ve delivered a strong point-of-view on purpose-driven banking representing the future of financial services, but brands can’t immediately flip a switch to create a more meaningful core upon which they can rely. The truth is that brand values were present pre-pandemic. Banking’s response to our current environment speaks volumes about that core brand resiliency. Understand your brand is not just about self-reflection, however. Living up to your core brand principles and using your sphere of influence for good helps demonstrate why banking is worthy of being called an essential pillar of our society.

  1. Stay in the Conversation

While the impulse to step back and stand by is understandable, the reality is that the pandemic and widespread social unrest call out for brands to be relevant participants in this moment. Brands have worked hard to be part of our cultural conversation, so standing back now would represent a reversal. But a brand’s response now – whether it’s about the pandemic or widespread social unrest – requires a shift, not silence. Communications and actions must be aligned with what your brand represents and not merely a one-off brand message. A brand response needs to be more meaningful, more human and it must come from the core.

In our next roundup, we will take a look at some best practices in the branch. To develop strategies for brands during these challenging times, contact Adrenaline’s brand, advertising, and communication experts at covidready@adrenalineagency.com or call (678) 412-6903. For more information on bank branch reopening in the post-COVID landscape, download the Roadmap to Reopening. If you need help preparing your staff for post-COVID branch operations, see the Frontline Staff Engagement Training series.