How does your brand respond to corona virus?

Taking affirmative action to protect your brand’s customers is the right thing to do. But is there an opportunity to leverage your brand attributes to do… more?

The world is in the grip of corona virus pandemic. Companies – especially those that work in travel – are coming out on the hour to announce how they’re modifying practices to protect their staff and customers.

It’s a smart move. In the vacuum created by timid, inept, or worse, cynical politicians, companies are seizing the initiative and owning decisions that will invariably have a negative impact on their bottom line.

Even today, as we're dealing with the corona virus pandemic, there are opportunities for your brand to do well by doing good. Share on X

Even in these somber times, however, there are opportunities. Not garish, exploitative, sleazy opportunities. But opportunities to do more than simply say ‘We’re worried, and want what’s best for you.’

I’d like to show you a few. And challenge you to think hard – is there a way you can do what’s best for your customers, and at the same time reinforce what’s great about your brand?


My first example arrived yesterday in my inbox from Loom.

First, a backgrounder. Loom is an ingeniously simply video tool. It enables me to effortlessly record a message, then convert that message into a thumbnail gif, and pop it into an email. My clients love it – it’s super-personal, and saves them the effort of reading a long and winding missive from me.

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In the email Loom sent me, they said they knew Loom was brilliant for folks who needed to work from home. And to encourage more folks to do so, they were dropping the price of my pro membership 50% until July – and making Loom free for all students forever. 

marc stoiber brand strategy

In case you can’t read the email I clipped and attached, here’s the whole story again, in a great little blog post. Pay special attention to the presenter explaining the whole offer in a Loom video. Genius. An offer that is very much appreciated.

Nimble Bar

Now a shout out to one of my favorite people – Kyle Guilfoyle of Nimble Bar.

Nimble Bar is an online and live training tool for bartenders and bar owners. The training covers mixology, but also critical business skills that too few owners know about, or practice.

Kyle sent a newsletter out yesterday that caught my eye, and held my attention right to the last word. I’m not a bartender, a bar owner, or even someone who frequents bars. But the advice he offered was extremely helpful. It felt like Kyle had his priorities right – he wanted to help, not simply promote. His newsletter left me feeling a bit smarter and better prepared. Oh, and the visuals and short videos kept me smiling and nodding, despite the somber nature of the message. Especially the ‘greed vs fear’ gauge in the clipping below.

marc stoiber brand strategy


Finally, one of my former clients. Anne Davies is a brilliant educator with a long, storied career helping students, teachers, principals and superintendents. Her company, Connect2Learning, has created mountains of tools and courses that enable teachers to do more effective classroom assessment.

I have two school-aged kids, and have received more than a few corona virus emails from schools, teams and school-related companies over the past days. But Anne’s truly stood out.

In the email attached below, she not only conveyed her concern for everyone in the school system (I know Anne – her sentiments are 100% genuine), but offered up her courses and resources as a means to build teacher expertise in a time of school closures and quarantines. She even went one further. Instead of offering one extra course, she offered twelve!

The offering, as well as the tone, leave me feeling that Anne truly gives a damn, and wants to help out. A reassuring feeling in these (as she says) complicated times.

marc stoiber brand strategy

So how to build your brand during corona virus?

If your company is putting out communication related to the corona virus, here are a few thoughtstarters for crafting a message that resonates.

  1. It’s time to give, not get – People are anxious, scared, or even suffering. The last thing they need to hear about is your great sale. Provide them with a message that makes them smarter, assuages their concern, and demonstrates you’re thinking of them. Commerce is not your priority right now.
  2. Think how your product can help – If teachers are stuck in self-quarantine, and you offer teacher training, suggest they try your product. The offer is legitimate, and provides a genuine benefit. You aren’t shoehorning an unrelated product into their life. It’s about them, not you.
  3. Does your communication invite backlash? – If McDonald’s or Burger King were to put out messaging expressing concern for customers, they’d be inviting an even greater backlash against their policies of unpaid sick leave. Before you hit ‘send’ on your message of corona virus concern, think through points of vulnerability. Will you come across as two-faced or cynical?

Stay safe out there.

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