What brands should be doing at this time?

What brands should be doing at this time?

It seems hard to recall what we were doing with our lives before Coronavirus hijacked the headlines and our thoughts.  Yes, we have seen our share of wars and disasters, but perhaps it is the first time that we are witnessing how quickly a living being – one that we cannot even see with the naked eye – can bring the world to its knees within a few short months.

Our notion of what we think we know has been shaken and stirred, flipped over and around, and it is all we can do to keep up.  Now we know, how little we know.

While our healthcare and frontline workers have been tirelessly going above and beyond to save lives, the world grinded to a halt, and we were forced to take a break we would never have given ourselves. This is also a unique period in the sense that this is the first pandemic to occur in the age of information, for never in the entire history of mankind have humans been more connected.

Thanks to technology, the Image Ark team has managed to remain a team.  We have had intense brainstorming sessions, presented concepts to potential clients, and even celebrated birthdays over video conference calls.  And when the webcams are off and our pencils are down, we have had the luxury of time to reflect on what is truly important – for ourselves, for businesses and for humanity.

Emerging new thinking

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
— Heraclitus

History has taught us that great crises are portals of change.  In this period of great upheaval, our collective consciousness has been realigned, and it will not simply go back to business as usual the moment lockdowns start to lift.  As the pandemic has affected lives and livelihoods, it has also brought us closer, and made us more empathetic towards each other.  It has made us think beyond materialistic comforts and appreciate the more humane side of life.  We have noted public sentiments lean towards the spirit of inclusion, collaboration and compassion.

For many, lockdowns have also been opportunities to do massive decluttering and cleanups, making us realize how much stuff we could really do without.  And above all, we have once again found joy in slowing down, in small, seemingly mundane acts – like rearranging our bookshelves, giving ourselves awkward haircuts, smelling the cake that we baked, and calling on an old friend.

We believe tomorrow’s consumers’ brand loyalty and lifestyle choices will be a result of this train of thought.  Thus, a more relaxed pace of life, minimal lifestyle, and appreciation for thoughtfully-made, hand-crafted products made with integrity are trends we expect to see in the near future.

What should brands be doing at this time?

“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”– Ulysses S. Grant

In these uncertain times, brands that align themselves with these new values, follow ethical practices and prioritize human livelihoods over short term gains have better chances of survival and longevity. We see a rising new wave of initiatives that are dedicated to promoting sustainable and ethical business practices, giving equal regard to people and planet as they do to profits.

We look to brands beyond the products and the services they offer. Now more than ever, it is important for brands to clearly reflect on who they are, what values they stand for, and what example they set  – for their employees, the industry they cater to, and the world.

Brands can look within their set of skills and services to come up with novel solutions to help their communities. Tumultuous times have a way of clarifying who our real friends are, and this is an opportunity for brands to assure their audience that they are a true friend. While public sentiments are fraught with anxiety and confusion, brands must seek to provide clarity, focus, direction and optimism, not only with their communication but also with responsiveness and concrete actions.

On our end, our office is closed but our entire team is busier than ever. We created a public Google Drive with information and resources for Coronavirus and designed several hand-washing and sanitation awareness posters freely available for the public to download in high resolution PDFs. Our team also designed several posters in response to United Nations Global Call for Creatives to raise factually verified awareness on the virus’s symptoms, social distancing, myth-busting, importance of kindness and donating for Covid-19 relief.

Image Ark, Pia and Bottles to Beads have recently become proud members of The Good Market – an online B2B platform that connects social enterprises, responsible businesses, and change makers to facilitate a kinder, more sustainable economy. We have also been a part of creating and branding Co-Create Tomorrow, a global movement to nurture a community of artists and creators who want to lend their ideas and skills to amplify the voices of those who need to be heard and call on action.

We have infinite hope in the profound capacity of humans to be resilient, creative, and resourceful in trying times. The crisis has offered us a unique opportunity to pause and reflect and has cast a light on all that we find unnecessary and superficial in systems, societies and in our lives. This is our chance to redesign the world that we want to live in, and as a band of creatives, this is a lifetime project we simply cannot pass up!

What brands should be doing at this time?