Brand Strategy

Corporate brand – fit for the new reality?

Hopefully, the pandemic will soon be over. But this epochal event will not pass us by without leaving a trace. What changes do corporate brands need to prepare for? It is time to think about this.

No one can yet make a final assessment of the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy – the impressions are too fresh and the event too unique for that. However, surveys give indications that (consumer) behavior could change. The “Swiss Re Institute” made some interesting observations in this regard last December. They wondered whether the behavioral changes observed are of a temporary or fundamental nature. Research shows that it takes between 18 and 254 days for people to change their behavior, so the pandemic is “fertile ground for the formation of new behavior. They identified changes in five areas: In the significantly higher acceptance of digital solutions, in a mobility behavior away from public transport commuting to individual transport or working from home, in a shopping behavior toward local, sustainable (quality) products, in an increased health awareness and in a significant increase in divorces. This sounds understandable and plausible. But now there are just as many studies that convincingly predict the opposite. What now? How do we still manage to react to the changes with our organization and corporate brand?

Answers are more likely to be found in one’s own analysis, which should be conducted as impartially as possible. A few years ago, a criminal psychologist described to me what an open-ended investigation is. When searching for clues at the scene of a crime, only impartiality leads to success, and that is why he must radically remove himself from the meaning. Things must be viewed not from one’s own perspective, but from as many other perspectives as possible, and these impressions must be combined. In terms of content, the criminal profiler is mainly concerned with motives and needs – the actions themselves are less revealing. The same applies to the adjustment of corporate brands at the “entrepreneurial crime scene”: Instead of just observing actions, it is better to take a closer look at motives and needs on which purchasing decisions and preferences are based. And diversity of perspectives is achieved by not only interviewing customers, but also by recording the concerns of management and employees. The condensation of these perspectives provides a solid basis for adapting organizational development, the formulation of offers and the positioning of the corporate brand. If the pandemic has changed needs in a way that is relevant to the company, and if the company succeeds in aligning its actions, communication, and appearance with these needs, this will strengthen the loyalty of customers and employees. This creates a competitive advantage that should not be underestimated.

(This article first appeared in the print and online editions of “Recht relevant. für Verwaltungsräte» )

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— Ralph Hermann / 27 April 2021