Brand rules during a pandemic

QUICK READ: People are stuck inside and the headlines are causing a lot of fear. Brands need to meet this challenge by making people feel good. They need to remind customers that we’re all in this together and that they are giving back to people who have made their products top sellers.

It’s getting so many people don’t even ant to trad the papers anymore. Too many negative headlines and too much sensationalism. Yet with all this, a lot of brands are advertising as if nothing has changed. Huge mistake.

Some brands have taken to social media to tell consumers that they are working hard to fulfill demand while others are donating time and money to get relief supplies to affected areas. This is the way a responsible brand should act.

For every brand that is reaching out to put a human face on their company, there are still too many others that aren’t. While consumers watch TV to eliminate boredom the same old commercials are running again and again. I doubt too many people are thinking about car insurance or a new car during this lockdown.

Retailers too are getting into the act of supporting employees. Kroger, Target and even Wal*Mart are offering bonuses to employees although some need to change their sick leave policy. None of the giants of the fast-food industry – McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Duncan Donuts, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway – gives their workers paid sick leave which clearly shows their priorities.

If brands believe that, when this is over, everything will go back to normal they’re living in fantasyland. People know which brands are reaching out to help and which ones are out for their own good. Employees at stores as well as healthcare workers are the new heroes.

Taking advantage of the pandemic?

The airlines are big enough to get their own loans from banks at rock-bottom interest rates. Their planes and landing slots are more than adequate collateral yet they are threatening massive layoffs if taxpayers don’t come to their rescue. Keep in mind that these are the same airlines who used the tax breaks to buy back stock and reward executives with huge bonuses.

On Instagram, there are ads for supplements promising to help protect consumers from the virus as well as companies offering to sell hand sanitizers by the bundle. Facebook has not done a good job here.

When this is all over, and it will end, consumers are going to remember which brands marketed with a sense of empathy and which ones marketed wit a sense of making more money. The brand rules are changing in real-time but too many brands don’t get it or move too slow.

Brand rules during a pandemic