Brand building
in times of crisis

Crisis leads to unexpected places. This website streams slowly building ambient music tracks. The music is overdubbed with recordings of radio operators directing first responders to emergency events. 

The two-hour long tracks are surprisingly popular. The music creates an interesting tension against the voices of people trained to remain calm as crises unfold in real time.

As brand builders we can learn two things from this.

First, consistent tones and reassuring voices are essential for crisis management.

Second, as the musician behind these tracks discovered, with imagination, crisis can bring unexpected opportunities.

Reimagine your strategy, reimagine your brand

Profound crisis forces change on an organisation. 

In business you may find your offering is no longer relevant. Or you become a low priority for your customer. 

After the initial shock, leaders take action to ensure survival. Boardrooms get busy. Plans are redrawn. Futures reimagined. 

The strategies, maps and business models that gave guidance no longer reflect reality. Because reality has changed, our stories must change too. 

Changing a business strategy or operational mission without aligning the brand strategy risks cognitive dissonance. Your brand may work against you, instead of for you.

There’s little doubt that those who enter the coming new normal with clear, relevant brand communications will be much better positioned than those without.

Seeking opportunity

Some businesses won’t survive this global health crisis. But thanks to foresight, grit, luck, and a stomach for risk, many will. And some will evolve and emerge stronger than ever.

The 2008 global financial crisis offers inspiration for leaders and managers currently making crucial decisions that enable their organisations to survive and even thrive amid chaos and uncertainty.

Netflix, for example, introduced a new streaming plan in 2009 alongside their disc-delivery service. They gained 3 million new members and successfully repositioned their brand from offline to online content delivery, and then to content production.


During the same period, Lego expanded its marketing efforts in Europe and Asia seeing profits rise by over 60%.

Offbeat thinking for offbeat times

In a crisis what we learned in the past may not prepare us for the future. It’s time to do something different. That starts by thinking something different.

There’s little doubt that those who enter the coming new normal with clear, relevant brand communications will be much better positioned than those without. Brands in tune with the times always get a better reception.

Normal activities have almost ceased for many organisations. Some leaders see this as a unique opportunity to bring their team together to rethink their business and brands.

A professional approach to change

Our wholehearted brand building methodology has helped many organisations enjoy valuable competitive advantages. 

Traditionally we saw brand building activities slow considerably during times of crisis. It happened during the Asian financial crisis, SARS, and the 2008 GFC. 

COVID-19 is different. We have seen instead a continuous flow of enquiries and engagements. It seems leaders more than ever understand the importance of brand building, communications, design and creativity in crisis and change management. 

Effective communications shapes culture, and a healthy culture will nourish and sustain a rebound from difficult times. A confident, composed voice is always music to the ears of people facing danger and uncertainty.

Key takeaway: Reimagine your strategy, reimagine your brand

Stepworks’ purpose is to create positive change. As survivors who understand the pain of crisis, we wish to support leaders and brand managers any way we can. Do reach out to us for a chat about your unique situation and we’ll do what we can to help.

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