Branding and Selling Moving Forward

May 29, 2020 / Mike Leon, President of Brand Heroes Inc.

Branding and selling in the age of COVID-19

My Dad used to say, “Son, everything is sales. If you don’t sell, you don’t eat.” The statement still rings true, but in the age of COVID-19, what are we selling? How are we selling? Should we still sell? Important questions and not as many answers.

The current economy has forced all of us to rethink what it means to promote ourselves in these sensitive times. There are thousands of businesses out there who are going through the same emotional roller coaster, holding on for dear life and waiting for the end of this wild ride.

But just because our businesses have been impacted, doesn’t mean that we can’t make an impact and stay relevant with our customers. Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Remember who you are, and why you’re here: A wise man once said to me “sell the hole, not the drill.” In other words, people aren’t buying the product, they’re buying what it will empower. What you value and believe most as an organization is what will connect you with your customers during bad times. Gut-check your promotions and offerings against your values. If they’re not consistent, don’t do them. Otherwise you will likely confuse, and alienate your customers. Make sure that everything you do today rings true with who you are, and who you have always been leading up to this crisis.

  2. Educate first, sell second: One of the huge challenges for brands right now is reading the proverbial room. What is the right tone to strike with your clients and consumers? The key to selling is engaging, even when times are tough. Now is not the time to go dark. Your brand can provide something for people to believe in. Share a laugh. Show your appreciation to others within your network. Remind your partners why you are here, and show gratitude for those who are sticking with you through these times. Take A&W for example: A&W Commercial

    No graphics. No music. No editing. No burger! This commercial is not making the traditional sale. It is reminding viewers of what matters most during this crisis. This commercial strikes the right chord, and may eventually influence future consumer decisions. They have earned space in the customer’s mind by being authentic in their delivery, and by offering up words of encouragement. Remember, it’s not about what A&W does, it's about why they do it. A&W is “Home of the Burger Family,” with emphasis on “Family.” This commercial is right in line with their brand values, and will ultimately influence the way people think about their brand, and, eventually, make decisions when they are hungry.

    To re-enforce this further, let’s geek out for a minute. In Marvel’s Avengers, Dr. Strange makes a sacrifice that he believes will save the world at a later time. To quote; “we are in the end-game now.” True words when it comes to making the sale. Moves that you make today may not result in a direct sale, but will highlight the values you share with your customers. This will lead to future opportunities.

  3. Lend a hand: Consider the good you can do for others by giving them something of real value. Kraft Canada recently donated their ad space to small food businesses. This is filling an urgent need to help small businesses keep the lights on. Sporting equipment company Bauer is producing masks for front-line nurses and doctors. Think about the tools in your professional tool belt. How can you lend a hand?

So after all this, the question remains: when and how do you sell? Remember that throughout it all your customers will still have needs. They still need insurance and with renewals around the corner there’s a certainty that they will need to purchase. So rest assured that you don’t have to find the need. Instead, find the ‘why?’. Find why they need a specific provider, and what they need to see from them in order to trust and believe that they are the right fit for them.

The bottom line is people buy belief. So what are you giving them to believe in?

About the author

Mike Leon

Mike Leon is an award-winning Digital Marketing and Branding Professional, with 20 years of experience in Canadian and International markets. As President and founding partner of Brand Heroes Inc., Mike is responsible for the firm's strategic direction and can be credited with building Brand Heroes into a leading boutique brand storytelling agency, with a national client list that includes post-secondary, healthcare and regulatory organizations.