Brand communication in crisis
Crises are, by their very nature, associated with unpopular measures. In addition, every negative event scratches the image of a brand. The longer a crisis lasts, the more the doubt drills into the core of the brand. What can be done before a brand has to be withdrawn from the market for good?
Special role of the brand core in the crisis
The brand core describes the essential values or characteristics and competencies that characterize a brand. It creates an unmistakable brand personality. In contrast to the brand image, which also has a long-term effect, the brand core establishes the very existence of a brand. If, for example.B, if individual value areas of the brand core are broken away as a result of a crisis, the brand may nevertheless have been irreparably damaged despite the apparent success of the reputationmeasures as such. Without a healthy brand core, the entire concept collapses. Brand image maintenance without sustainable research into the causes of damage to the brand core therefore remains pure cosmetics.
Diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for damaged brands
The brand core is also the remaining DNA for the post-crisis reboot. The heretical question is: on what remaining values does the brand justify its future right to exist? Marketing envelopes that have become meaningless should be consistently stripped off after a crisis in order to demonstrate the company’s ability to learn and strategically reorient at home and outside credibly. This “skinning process” begins with the ethical-ideal values, which were the first to be damaged in the crisis.
These include loss of value such as lack of credibility and loss of opinion leadership (e.B. consulting skills in the banking industry), irresponsibility towards society, employees, etc. (e.B. low-cost workers in online commerce), lack of authenticity (e.B. in the context of political scandals) materialism instead of spirituality (e.B Catholic Church) and many more.
Only on the basis of renewed ethical-ideal values of the brand core can the company devote itself to the emotional loss of value that is much more noticeable in the public sphere: hatred and anger (e.B. Made in Germany from the point of view of Greek consumers), fears (e.B. job concerns of Opel employees), envy (e.B. discussion about manager salaries), displeasure and active sales cancellation.B s (e.B.
In the third step, the brand core must be examined for damage in the aesthetic-cultural dimension: references to inter- and intracultural intolerance, lack of zeitgeist, susceptibility to plagiarism, design vilification must be examined for their origins.
Last but not least, it is now possible to think about optimizing the factually functional values. Examples of brand core damage in this area are the fight against obvious, measurable quality and performance deficiencies, decreasing profit margins, increase in warranty cases, etc.
After this four-stage diagnostic process, the repaired or reduced brand core is reassembled in reverse order and checked for its holistic appearance. Targeted therapy measures follow.
General implementation notes
In brand communication after a crisis, the emphasis on simple, above all functionally measurable quality aspects is of particular importance. The early communication of positive, emotional or ethical values without functionally experienceable added value can lead to unintentional mixing with the crisis images still present in the memory of consumers. Overall, a balancing exercise between recognition and innovation must always be sought.
Lost contact with the customer or employees must be restored. It is worth investing time in surveys on brand value loss instead of cosmetically covering the burnt surface only quickly and in need through a few goodwill campaigns.
With the help of this evaluated value canon 2.0, suitable design guidelines for the new brand design, brand behaviour and brand communication can then be developed. This ensures that in a crisis, only operational ad hoc communication is carried out. Rather, the brand core becomes the guardian of corporate values in the crisis and helps to make appropriate decisions even in complex situations.