How Your Brand Can Respond to the COVID-19 Crisis
Use mindfulness to cope and connect.
A mindfulness practice to help your brand cope
During times of crisis, we all react differently. Some fight, or rather swoop into action. Others freeze or flee, overwhelmed and afraid of how to respond. If you can roll with the punches, your brand and business can survive.
As businesses big and small are closing doors, laying off workers, and responding to increasing pressures, we have to step back and understand constructive ways to react both for ourselves and then for our clients. Just like when the oxygen masks fall from the overhead bin in a plane, you must mask yourself first before you can help your children.
Meditation speaker, Melli O’Brien offers a 4-step process called R.A.I.N. to use mindfulness to navigate difficult times.
- Recognize what is happening
- Acknowledge (allow life to be just as it is)
- Investigate inner experience
Recognize what is happening
By this point, reality has turned your life and business upside down; upending operations and habits with staff working remotely and clients scrambling to stay in business. Our first response was to prepare our staff for a new way of working. Second, we directly informed customers. It’s a good idea to notify clients that you are either open or closed for business so they aren’t left wondering. We sent out personal messages to our clients informing them that while we were all working remotely, we were still able to assist them.
Allow life to be just as it is
You can’t fight gravity, it’s like Murphy’s law. Right now we are forced to shelter-in-place and close doors. As governmental entities and jurisdictions continue to place more restrictions on non-essential businesses, we have to find creative ways to deal with the gravity.
Our client, Syngenta Flowers, hosts an annual event this time of year called California Spring Trials (CAST). When all of California fell under the shelter-in-place order, it became clear that producing the event would be a challenge. Postponing wasn’t an option because the flowers were grown for a specific date. We investigated various platforms like Facebook Live and Zoom to make it a web-based event with live feeds. But the latest mandate prohibited any employee from being at the facility. So we are now creating a microsite with all the content, videos and materials accessible online. Using Zoom and cloud-based programs like Adobe XD, we are able to repurpose six-months of work in a matter of six days to still launch on the original event date. Syngenta realizes some customers won’t be able to tune in that day, so pre-recorded content will be available at their leisure.
Investigate inner experience
At a moment like this, we should ask more questions. Knee-jerk reactions can leave long-lasting impressions – good and bad. Unsure what your customers might think of a promotion? Wondering if anyone is still interested? Wondering if your staff is slacking off at home? We each bring our own experiences so its good to discuss these emotions collectively with your staff and customers. Understand their emotional concerns. Find out how your perception relates to others. This will help you make a more informed response.
As an organization, we are using Zoom and Slack to keep virtually connected. But beyond talking business, we are sharing our experiences with each other – from dealing with parents who won’t listen to us, to kids who are so excited to have as at home. We are all dealing with unique circumstances, but collectively we can agree we are in this together.
Chances are your customers are in the same boat. Reach out to them and find out if they are able to operate, or adapt. We are helping clients adapt print books, brochures, and sales materials into digital experiences. We are leveraging Zoom and web-based platforms to keep our clients’ brands connected. Empathy is the greatest tool for designers and as a business, it will keep you connected.
Melli O’Brien advises us to “remind yourself that you are not your mind nor your emotions.” While we struggle with what to say, and how and when to do it, don’t lose sight of why you are in business. Your brand exists to serve or make. Find ways to continue adjusting to the gravity you can’t fight.
What you may find at the end of this exercise are creative and innovative ways to keep on, keepin’ on. If everyone is being forced to adapt, you are not alone.
If your brand needs assistance navigating these uncertain times, Schipper is available for a free Zoom consultation to discuss your needs and possible solutions.