23 April 2020

How to Act: Brand Personas in a Crisis

Are you a bit over receiving those random emails from brands you don’t remember letting you know how they’re dealing with the pandemic? Same. Let’s forget about that for a second and take a breath.

Breathe in. Acknowledge that it’s actually a pretty lucky position to be in if you need to think about how to best present your brand right now. Take a moment to be grateful, but also pat yourself on the back. You’ve done something right already.

Breathe out. Let go of the panic that comes with yet another news update and the stress of worrying about your brand’s future strategies.

Now that we’ve done our breathing, we’re ready to consider our approach to crisis communications. Let’s be clear: dry emails are no longer the best your brand can do for your customers. So what do your clients really want from you right now? They want your values to shine through.

“You’ve done something right already. “

We always say to think of your brand as a person. So when it comes to your persona, think of these values as traits. Like Myers-Briggs personality types for brands in a crisis. These are the brand personas to embody in your crisis communications.

The Comforter Brand Persona

The Comforter is here to provide a sense of normalcy to your customers.

It’s the lasagna you used to always get at your local restaurant, but now it’s delivered to your door. It’s the way brands stick to schedules, releases, editions and events. Because it shows they’re continuing business as (un)usual.

It’s the reassurance that although things aren’t completely normal, some things haven’t changed. You’re still doing work, employing people, and delivering projects.

It sounds weird but it’s actually nice to be reassured when brands carry on as usual because it means the world can’t really be ending.

The Inspirer Brand Persona

Diamonds are made under immense pressure. And our most creative ideas are apparently made in a time of crisis.

The Inspirer is the persona that flairs your creativity as a brand. Because it’s inspiring for clients to see that you still have creative brains ticking over. And that creativity ignites a passion in your audience.

An example is the number of brands that have adapted their logos to mimic social distancing. It’s creative, amusing, and most importantly reinforces what’s crucial to do right now in an inventive, playful way.

Inspire your customers to start a project, sculpt clay, write a corona diary, or do nothing at all. Work with what makes sense for your brand.

The Dreamer Brand Persona

The Dreamer persona is here to offer escapism. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to break away and think about other things for a while, so why not be that escape for your customers?

It can feel like we’re in an echo chamber of panic at the moment, so it’s good to step away and have a breather. This might mean delving into an online world of gaming, listening to a podcast, or any of these other welcome distractions from our recent blog post.

We want our favourite brands to encourage this escape. If you offer something that makes your customers feel good, there’s no need to shy away from that offer.

The Soldier Brand Persona

This persona is to give your clients reassurance. Because your brand is soldiering on. You’re weathering the storm and holding strong. Take inspiration from the lyrics of Destiny Child’s ‘Survivor’ for this messaging.

Be there to offer certainty to your clients. They don’t want to smell even a whiff of doubt that you might not make it through to the other side. Showcase your reliability and resilience.

It’s a brave face. Your customers don’t have to see the tears, the bed hair, the forgotten teas, or the 10pm meetings (even if this is the reality). The Soldier persona is the strength we turn to when we need it most.

The Comedian Brand Persona

One of the best coping mechanisms humans have? Humour.

Your brand is allowed to make (appropriate) jokes! Aren’t we all appreciating the memes, positivity, and light-heartedness right now?

“Remember, authenticity is key.”

We need space for mourning. But we also need space for delight. Don’t underestimate the power of humour as a coping mechanism.

If being a comedian doesn’t suit your brand’s usual voice, don’t try it! But if you’re usually a jokey brand, there’s no need to get all doom and gloom on us now. Embody The Comedian persona in the true sense of a good comedian. That is one who lets others in on the joke. One who uses punch up humour, not punch down.

These personas are just a guide to help you shape your responses and communications. Ultimately, it’s your brand and you have to do what feels right. Remember, authenticity is key.

Our final advice: Put out into the world what you want to see. Take a look at our socials to see how we’re maintaining our usual Bellman style while trying to inject some extra positivity and compassion into the world.


For branding by Bellman

Contact Us