Just like consumers, brands had to react quickly to the Coronavirus epidemic. This virus has permanently altered the lives of everyone on Earth. Consumers are less focused on spending; they seek to survive. Brands are following suit, but their actions are under a much larger microscope.
In normal circumstances, brand storytelling is dynamic and sometimes frivolous. Moviegoers can’t possibly relate to James Bond except on an aspirational level. They want to be a cool, sophisticated guy, so they’ll probably cut their hair like him or buy clothes and accessories to look and feel like him. Brand storytelling connects consumers and brands on a more intimate level because brands are engaging with them in a more meaningful way. The story will then remain with a consumer evoke certain emotions that ultimately result in loyalty.
During Coronavirus, many brands and celebrities were quick to adopt stories of solidarity with essential workers and those affected by the virus. They wanted to reinforce how they’re in touch with the current reality and are looking out for their consumers. Some brands built stories off of consumer desires, like Publix. The Florida-based grocery chain listened to consumers and decided to reserve specific shopping hours for senior citizens to ensure they’re able to stock up on necessities.
When there’s a crisis, brands need to proceed with caution. Publix’s choice was appropriate because their regular brand story is that they’re a family-owned grocery store happily servicing their communities with quality products and customer service. This brand story makes Publix an even more relatable brand because senior citizen-consumers and their families feel heard. They see a company bracing for economic turbulence making sure no one is left behind.
The story a brand tells during a crisis will live far beyond it. Consumers will either become repeat customers or limit/ stop their shopping at this company. Brand storytelling is really about putting your money where their mouth is when it matters most. Compelling brand storytelling can result in increased customer lifetime value, so takes notes from Publix!