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Storytelling in Times of Crisis: How to Reevaluate Your Business Value Proposition

When global panic occurs in the age of digitization, it is crucial for media and communications agencies to listen, learn and adapt to the changing landscape. By telling stories, businesses can garner peoples' attention making them listen, remember and eventually share that message with others. We have seen how businesses quickly adjusted amid the pandemic and they will need to continue to re-prioritize their value propositions as new information unfolds. Through storytelling, we can create a brand message that connects with our core audience. Here are a few key factors to take into consideration:

  1. Consider your customers’ needs: The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted consumer behavior towards the digital world but as we enter the recovery phase – businesses are changing at the core and therefore the messaging and stories surrounding their business are changing. As the world changes, industries must pivot as well. For instance, during the pandemic smart companies began to look at their customers' needs rather than their wants and changed their brand’s story using media. To create a new message you need take a step back to think about how your offerings fit into your consumer’s new lifestyle.

  2. Influencer Marketing is here to stay: Since the pandemic, branding has shifted from showing the aspirational to targeting nostalgia and comfort. Data shows that in a crisis, media consumption goes up and today we see that is especially prevalent with social media. The need to consume social media results from people’s desire to connect with each other to feel comfort. Many businesses have opted to sponsor more influencer marketing posts and tell their story through an influencer’s platform. This is because consumer priorities have shifted in the pandemic and influencers can use their human connection to reach their audience more meaningfully. Influencers are hyper-connected and can turn around content much faster than others to create a new story for brands.

  3. Do something functionally or emotionally tangible when telling a story: In a crisis, brands need to listen to their audiences’ sentiments to ensure their campaigns are tasteful, sensitive and easily digestible. In times of crisis our brains perceive information differently. Our brain begins to narrow down what it thinks is fundamental and can cause concentration levels to go down. The brain becomes more impulsive and less decisive to help deal with the uncertainty, stress and grief. With that behavior in mind, we must speak to what our target audience knows and what is relatable to them. The powers of nostalgia, humor and novelty are key to developing a connection with audiences in these challenging times. Through nostalgia you can encourage familiarity. Through humor you can provide a healing effect to share positivity. And novelty can help you find familiarity in the new landscape.

  4. Successful storytelling is possible in a crisis if you analyze your consumer and adapt to the changes in behavior. As we continue to maneuver through the pandemic, we must not only manage the current issue at hand but equip ourselves with tools for a new future. At the end of the day, people are still people and we want to build a connection with them. Through the stories we tell, we can continue to relate to our consumers, help provide them new information, and make an impact on the world.

By: Sarah Bouzine, Margaret Molloy, Christina Monteleone


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