We’re sitting in our homes. Isolated. Wondering how this unprecedented era will play out. Will we be thrown into recession? Will our brands retreat and retrench hoping we can make it through the long slog ahead?
I’ve been through downturns in ’91, ’01, and ’08. I’ve seen the majority of brands all do the same thing. Hunker down and try to eke out anything that resembles success. And be happy with the meager results. Getting back to breaking even suddenly seems like a big win.
Pay attention to what happened last time
An interesting thing happens amid the wreckage of the markets. People have this tendency to get back to fundamental human stuff.
’08 was the biggest of the downturns I mentioned. The Great Recession. It was out of this darkest of times that something game-changing happened. A movement toward purpose-based branding started to really gain momentum.
Maybe it was because an older under-saved and over-spending generation saw their retirement hopes vanish. Maybe it was because a younger generation saw themselves being handed a mess that they were expected to help clean up. Maybe it was because people just woke up to the emptiness of the hyper-consumerism.
Whatever you want to attribute it to, people started expecting more. More from the companies they worked for. More from the purchases they made.
A few smart brands saw this monumental shift. And made the shift themselves. Brands like Dove and Warby Parker. Brands that realized that they could do more than just provide goods and services. They could make a difference in lives.
Then something amazing happened. People started rewarding these brands for embracing a purpose.
Today, reports reveal that purpose-led brands have the potential to grow twice as fast as those that haven’t pursued a purpose.
Which path will your brand choose?
Will your brand retreat and retrench? Nurse the wounds from the thrashing this pandemic continues to dole out? Or will your brand take the opportunity to do what today’s leading brands did back in the Great Recession? You could revolutionize who you are. It begins with clarifying a purpose and then bringing it to life in everything your brand does and says.
What do you have to lose? The ensuing years of slogging back to where you were before?
If you ever had an excuse to dramatically change how you go about your brand business, this would be it. These are extraordinary times. And this is an extraordinary opportunity.
Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail — a brand innovation company, helping organizations find their unique, undeniable and unshakable sense of purpose and create innovative experiences that bring it to life.
Originally published at https://www.dansalva.com on March 26, 2020.