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06/04/2020

Words (and Pictures) Don’t Say Enough

By George Koukkos

Build an Action Plan for Your Brand

Over the past few weeks, brands have struggled with what to say. After the coronavirus took hold, there was an awkward pause. And companies felt they had to fill the space with … something. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not an easy space to fill. And as a marketer, and a person, I do hate awkward silences. Plus, business has to move forward, right?

But as you think of what your brand should be saying, first (re)think about your audience. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, bottom line is you’re talking to everyday people suddenly experiencing very non-everyday things. Like having budgets (and people) drastically cut, witnessing entire media channels like trade shows become obsolete overnight and working from home while essentially homeschooling their children.

Business as usual isn’t going to cut it. Neither is a message of “We’re here for you.” without something substantial backing it up.

So maybe it’s not as much about what you say … as it is about what you do. Yes, I’m talking about action. Something tangible, believable and authentic to who you are as a brand. Because, while words can get someone’s head nodding, actions can do something greater. Actions can create a brand ripple effect that puts your positive change out into the world for good.

Out of the gate, I feel like State Farm got it right by reaching out to people who are struggling financially. State Farm was “there” with more than just words. They were there with a promise that matched what people were experiencing.

Then there are brands like GM, Tesla and Ford that started making completely new products (ventilators and face shields) because it was the humane thing to do. Now that’s meaningful. That’s powerful. Sure, you can call me naïve—obviously these companies are also doing it for the publicity—but it’s still action that is relevant to the problem at hand.

So, what could your brand do? Better yet, what should your brand do? Here are five thought starters to help you create your own brand ripple effect.

The Brand (Re)Action Ripple Effect

Make Sure It’s Tangible.

How exactly are you here for me? More than understanding my problem, how are you helping me solve it?

Signal Change.

As we’ve all been hearing, these are unprecedented times. When thinking about your brand, shoot for unprecedented action. This could be anything from a deep discount to completely reimagining an aspect of your business to make the world just a little bit better.

Be Authentic.

Not every brand has to save lives. Maybe it’s just about putting a smile on someone’s face. Stay true to who you are.

Be Meaningful.

If your action moves you as a human being, it should move your audience just the same. Even if they don’t respond today, they’ll remember what you did. And when budgets open up, they’ll think of you first.

Make It Actionable.

How can I (as my own brand) engage in what you’re doing? How can I be part of the difference you’re making? And please make it easy. I’ve got six Zoom calls today.

As a marketer, your job is to move people to action. Especially right now, the best way to do that is to start with your own.

Reach out if you’d like to talk more about mobilizing your brand, and follow our weekly series for more business and marketing strategies designed to help you make sense of these surreal times.


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