|Jonathan Salem Baskin is the author of "Branding Only Works on Cattle" and blogs about marketing at |
Traditional branding theology suggests that we can apply emotions to things. That approach doesn't hold much water with consumers who live in a mediasphere that is constant and pervasive, that draws its content from events, not declarations, and from experience, not imagination. So it's not enough to announce that your company is "bullish on America" or that consumers should "Whoo hoo." The stuff seems not only irrelevant but somewhat dishonest.
Complete Coverage:Will the Collapse of Storied Financial Institutions Be Felt in the Marketing and Media Worlds?
Third, that means actions speak louder than words. Don't tell them to feel better; help make it happen.
Finally, transactions matter more than intentions. Consider the airline industry the weeks after Sept. 11: How many people are getting on planes, and how much unhappier could they be about it? The exchanges you have with individual customers are far more important than the broad aspirations of your branding.
Questions to ask about prepping for a crisisLOYALTY: What are the quantitative measures you can rely upon?
TRANSPARENCY: Would your customers be surprised if they knew what you were doing?
LIMITS: If you can't substantiate a brand claim easily and clearly, should you make it?
SURVIVABILITY: Have you planned for the most likely crises? How about the odd ones?