How to Future-Proof Your Brand and Business in Times of Crisis

Throughout the Covid19 pandemic and subsequent economic and social global crisis, few people have mentioned that within crisis lies great opportunity. It’s a truth, albeit one that is hard to see when putting out fires daily.

We are simultaneously living through one of the greatest pandemics in human history and the biggest civil rights uprising of our generation (in the U.S., at least), and that’s before the looming threat of global recession. How are businesses supposed to navigate this?

The hard truth is no matter how badly we are affected, we are going to have to weather this storm for some time – it’s a long term and most likely irreversible change felt by customers, employees and industries. Stability, recovery and success depend on adaptability. In times like this businesses should prepare to reinvent themselves, and sometimes more than once.

Here are a few ground rules to help you prepare for an uncertain future:

Communicate with transparency

Your employees may currently be concerned about their future, and rightfully so. It’s hard to work effectively with job security at an all time low. Despite not having all the answers take steps to ensure your crisis plans and its implications are communicated to your teams with maximum transparency.

As an executive you must lead your team through this period of uncertainty by communicating clearly and often, setting an example of positive behavior and projecting confidence, be it via video calls, Slack or email.

Running a fully remote agency I quickly learned that in distributed teams it’s always better to over communicate than not. This is ever more important when teams have been forced to work this way. Talk to your employees.

But what about your customers? Much like employees they will appreciate confidence, empathy and consistency. In times of crisis consistent messaging across all channels will have a positive, calming effect and provide a much needed feeling of security.

Selling your product or service during a crisis is not shameful: people are still seeking solutions to their problems and they’ll appreciate the service you’re offering and the value you bring. Do not forget about meeting your customers on their terms: physically, mentally and emotionally. And adopt a supportive rather than aggressive approach to communication and selling.

Adopt a growth mindset

As sarcastic as it may sound, now is a good time to explore alternative growth opportunities. A decrease in sales can be the wake up call your business needs to reinvent itself.

First, take a look at those long-term tasks you know can improve your business but sit at the bottom of your to-do list as they don’t bring instant revenue. I bet you’ll find items such as website revamp, new service packages, product line upgrades, or that glaring “test new marketing strategies” action which has been stuck in your Evernote since 2016.

Try thinking through two possible paths:

1) What can you offer during the crisis to keep your business afloat and maintain sales?

2) How can you prepare your business to be front and centre when activities pick back up?

The existing crisis is pushing many businesses to consider their digital transformation: from digitally native brands to global corporations, companies are tapping into tech to survive. A recent McKinsey global consumer survey revealed consumers will continue to avoid shopping in physical stores for anything but groceries. Companies with online capabilities are therefore better positioned for a quick recovery in the future.

Be there for the world

Times are tough, but we are tougher. Now is not the time to hide and wait. It’s the time to form unbreakable bonds, show kindness and compassion and be creative. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon: brands actively supporting their customers, employees and causes are already reaping the awards; take a look at the rise of Zoom or the story of Salesforce’s 30% sales increase.Millennials and younger consumers will stand by brands that are not afraid to take a stand. Brands that are community- and cause-centric. Through the current BLM civil rights uprising thousands of brands defined their positions clearly and early and were supported by their communities: from supportive newsletters circulated by The Wing, AngelList, LinkedIn and hundreds of tech companies to Ben & Jerry’s expressing their position loud and clear. Which brings us to the next point….

Lead with empathy

In uncertain times empathy is a strong differentiator on multiple levels. The ability to put yourself in the shoes of your customers brings increased sales and loyalty. Being able to relate and empathize with your employees improves collaboration and productivity within your business.

You don’t have to be large or well-funded to take a stance and provide support. My agency’s response to the Covid19 crisis was to launch Wunderline – a free professional hotline that my team tended 2 hours a day, every day, for a month: providing advice on branding, websites, pitching and remote work to founders and young professionals (you can still register but slots are limited). It paid off in gratitude, connections, learning and even quite a few new clients (though the latter was unexpected).

Reach out to your clients. Show them you’re available. Ask how they are doing. Re-focus your marketing activities to meet your clients and community where they are and be prepared to listen, acknowledge what is going on and provide support where you can.

Many of your prospective clients are using this time to reset and address tasks they’ve been putting off. How can you adapt to their new hierarchy of needs?

Stay true to yourself

Get creative and be agile. Test new audiences, products and offerings. The actions you take today can help secure business for years to come. For example, VSCO used this time to launch a new storytelling feature that encourages human connection and shows their stance. Canlis, my favorite family-owned restaurant in Seattle, launched virtual bingo nights and released family meals with cocktail kits and free delivery.

No matter how tough it gets, don’t let it paralyze you or your business. Be active. Be seen. Offer value. And have good intentions at heart.

New services or product lines will bring change to your brand; your content and messaging will have to adapt to the current moment, so use your voice to communicate change with care. Stay true to yourself as a brand and provide consistent and continuous value to your customers – in these times they need a friend to rely on. Moving forward, consider revisiting your company’s mission and purpose in order to create a plan for how to serve, communicate and activate your community.


How do vision and mission statements impact a company's long-term direction?

Effective vision and mission statements should ideally constitute important tools in formulating a company’s strategy. They should largely remain unchanged through the years, though a significant pivot may bring about new vision and mission statements. Together, they work to define the focus of the business and how it impacts the world. 

The vision statement is a representation of your company’s view of a better world. The mission statement reflects how it sets about to achieve this vision. They work together to create internal alignment and help with strategic decision making. When planning for the future, developing new products, or experimenting with new strategies, teams can perform a quick check against the vision and mission statements to ensure that these initiatives are aligned with the essence of the brand. 

In short, the vision and mission statements are powerful tools which can and should impact decisions across the organizations, making them important factors in a company’s long-term direction.

How does brand strategy influence the overall success of a business?

Your brand strategy reflects how your brand sees the world and its role within it. It is the framework that, ideally, should guide all your communications (both external and internal) and audience touchpoints, i.e. each interaction an audience member has with your business. 

Having standardized communication across all channels and touchpoints makes business processes smoother and positively influences your client relationships, ensuring you develop strong, long-term connections with your customers. It also simplifies strategic decision-making and aligns your team. All these factors are vital to the success of a business.

How do messaging frameworks help communicate your brand message effectively?

Messaging frameworks are structured guides that outline the core messages, value propositions, and differentiators of a brand. They ensure consistency across all communications, from marketing materials and social media posts to customer service interactions. By defining key messages that resonate with the brand's target audiences, messaging frameworks help ensure that a brand’s communications are clear and memorable. 

They also help organizations stay aligned internally and ensure that each member, regardless of their role, understands what the brand’s key message is and how to communicate it effectively. This internal alignment is crucial for presenting a unified brand image to the outside world.

What specific elements contribute to a brand's verbal identity?

A brand’s verbal identity should align your team on how your brand communicates and how this communication changes depending on the situation. It defines a specific and recognizable language through which your brand can deliver its message to your audience or audiences.

Typically, a verbal identity includes some, or all, of the following elements:

Brand personality: This captures the human traits or characteristics that your brand embodies, such as being adventurous, sophisticated, or reliable, which help shape how your brand is perceived.

Brand voice: The brand voice reflects how your brand reflects its personality across all communication channels.

Brand tone: While the brand voice remains consistent, the brand tone can change depending on the context of the message and the audience being addressed, ranging from formal and professional to informal and friendly.

Messaging frameworks: These are strategic tools that outline the key messages your brand intends to communicate to its different target audiences, ensuring that all messaging is aligned with your brand's mission, vision, and value propositions.

Messaging examples: These provide specific examples of how your brand's messaging might be applied in various scenarios.

Style and grammar guidelines: These outline your preferred spelling, grammar, and style, ensuring that your communication is consistent across the board. 

What are some key considerations when developing a tone of voice for a brand?

The first and most important consideration is the brand’s personality. While businesses are functional, they still communicate with people – and people primarily connect with stories and personas. Your brand’s personality will define a set of human characteristics which reflect how it sees itself in the world. By giving your brand these human attributes, you are making it both distinctive and easier to identify with. The tone of voice should reflect your brand’s personality.

It’s also important to consider your target market and your audience’s expectations. While having a distinctive tone of voice is important for memorability, there is such a thing as being too different. If all brands in your segment adopt a serious, professional tone, and you would like to be fun and playful, there is certainly space for that, but consider very carefully why you are doing it.


No items found.


How do brand guidelines ensure consistency in visual identity across different platforms?

Brand guidelines are a key tool for maintaining a consistent visual presentation across various platforms. These guidelines typically outline the main use cases where the brand's visual identity will appear and provide comprehensive rules and standards.

The guidelines include detailed instructions on how to use the brand’s assets, such as logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery. This ensures that anyone using these assets, whether they're designers, marketers, or external partners, can apply them correctly and consistently. 

It’s crucial that the entire team is familiar with these guidelines. It’s important to get team buy-in on the visual identity and ensure that the guidelines are easily accessible. When the whole team understands and follows the guidelines, the brand's visual identity remains unified across all touchpoints, enhancing brand recognition and trust.

How does visual identity differ across industries, and how can a brand ensure it stands out while remaining authentic?

Visual identity varies significantly across industries, shaped by both the industry norms and the unique aspects of each brand. Understanding where your brand stands in the competitive market is essential when crafting a visual identity that both stands out and remains authentic.

Industries have distinct visual trends that are often expected by consumers. For instance, financial services brands typically adopt a reserved, traditional look with a color palette dominated by blues and greys. In contrast, skincare brands often go for a lighter, more colorful approach with pastels. Being aware of these industry-specific trends is important because it helps to decide how much your brand should differentiate itself from these norms. This differentiation should be based on your audience's expectations and your brand's unique value propositions.

For example, a financial services brand that emphasizes its use of innovative technologies might choose a more digital-oriented visual language. Similarly, a skincare brand that focuses on scientific innovation might benefit from a more science-based visual language.

How does competitive benchmarking influence the development of a visual identity?

Competitive benchmarking is important in developing a brand's visual identity as it provides insights into the market environment. By examining the competition, a brand can better understand its unique value proposition and strengths. This understanding is crucial in identifying what sets the brand apart from others.

With this knowledge, a brand can lean into its unique strengths when crafting its visual language. This approach ensures that the visual identity not only looks appealing but also reinforces the brand’s distinct point of view and competitive edge.

What are the key considerations when creating visual concepts for a brand?

The visual identity of a brand should quickly and clearly reflect its strategic positioning. Designers begin the process of creating visual concepts by immersing themselves in the brand’s strategy to extract key narrative themes. These themes are then translated into a visual language that employs both emotional and aesthetic elements to communicate the brand's messages. This translation is crucial as it shapes how the audience perceives and interacts with the brand.

When developing visual concepts, it's important to make sure they align with the brand's strategy and fit well within the competitive landscape: demonstrating key differentiators, but still fitting into the industry at large. The visuals should also be suitable for the mediums they will be used in. Whether for digital, print, or physical applications, the choice of medium can greatly influence how the visual concepts are designed.

How does visual identity contribute to brand recognition and trustworthiness?

Visual identity is key to boosting brand recognition and trustworthiness, especially in busy markets. When a company maintains a consistent visual brand across different platforms, it becomes easier for customers to recognize and remember it. This consistency is crucial for standing out among competitors.

Having a consistent visual identity also shows professionalism and attention to detail. These qualities make customers more likely to trust a brand. When a brand looks the same across all touchpoints, from websites to products and ads, it tells customers the brand is reliable and serious. This builds trust and makes customers more likely to pick this brand over others that may not look as professional or consistent.


What are the advantages of having a well-designed and user-friendly website for a business?

The business landscape has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Now, your digital footprint is definitely at the center of most business growth strategies. A well-designed website allows companies to connect with users in an effective manner, ensure customer loyalty, and expand business - among other benefits.

Website design is the key ingredient to digital success, alongside well-functioning SEO tools, connected backend, and user-friendly strategy. A user-friendly website for your business will:

  • Increase user engagement and conversion rates
  • Improve SEO and searchability of your business
  • Improve retention rates
  • Make your business more credible while making your brand more memorable
How does the design of a website impact its accessibility to users, including those with disabilities?

In website design, "accessibility" refers to whether a site is designed in a way that is inclusive and usable by everyone, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities. 

This may include important site characteristics such as text-to-speech functionality, video captions, alternative text tags for images, enhanced with good design practices of intuitive navigation, straightforward copy. and others. Accessibility is integral to website performance and user experience.

How can businesses ensure consistency and credibility across their website, brand, and marketing materials?

To achieve consistency and credibility across all your collateral, you need to ensure that the brand message - both verbal and visual - is compliant with your brand guidelines. This can include:

  • Using the correct tone of voice principles across all communication channels to differentiate your brand personality

  • Communicating consistent messaging and key differentiators on all platforms

  • Ensuring that key visual elements (logo, color palette, typography, imagery) on your website, marketing, and sales materials are aligned with each other

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when designing and developing a business website?

According to a 2024 web statistics report, a staggering 75% of business credibility is attributed to various web design decisions. In order to improve your website’s trustworthiness, avoid the following common design mistakes:

  • Not prioritizing accessibility: One of the biggest design mistakes out there is overlooking web accessibility principles on your website.

  • Not investing in responsive design and customization: With the majority of global traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices, lack of responsive design and customization can break a business.
  • Prioritizing aesthetics over function: Compromising user experience in favor of flashy aesthetics will dilute your brand message and user journey to the required call to action.

  • Lacking clarity in messaging and navigation: Clear navigation and messaging will reduce the friction users may experience when landing on your site as they are trying to get a clear picture of what your business is.
How does website copywriting contribute to user engagement and conversion, and what role does SEO play in this?

The goal of web copywriting is to guide your users through their web journey while providing information, engaging with and converting them into buyers. Each section of your site shapes the visitor perception about your brand and affects their buying decisions. 

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a practice of creating engaging and persuasive content that not only appeals to your users, but also incorporates relevant keywords and techniques to attract organic traffic to your site.

To start writing SEO-friendly copy for your site, you can:

  • Manually conduct keyword research by checking what competitors are ranking for
  • Use SEO software like SEMRush to investigate new keyword opportunities
  • Make sure to review keywords frequently as their popularity changes often and you want to keep ranking for competitive terms.

Get in touch

Inspired? We’d love to connect and explore ways to collaborate.