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A Newer Normal: Staying Valuable in Unusual Times

Relevance is never static. For brands, it’s a continual chase — an endless competition for a place in the minds of consumers. This struggle has played out along well-established and clearly defined lines between brands and their audiences, often supported by carefully thought out brand pillars.

But never have those conventional lines of connection with audiences been more disrupted. What made brands relevant in February sometimes seems like a distant memory today, and will of course change again when we emerge in whatever way our public health officials and governments deem appropriate. It was relatively simple to latch on to passion points and engagement opportunities when we were free to self-actualize and express ourselves through consumerism and images. Now? Not so much.

Despite this, some brands are thriving. Broadly, they fall into two camps: those that offer essentials and those that offer escape. But to complicate things even further, the seasonal cycles that so many once followed are also changing. Take nesting, for example. Usually it’s behavior we fall into during fall and winter, but now as we sit in our homes and look for ways to stay busy, people are finally getting around to those neglected spaces such as garages, closets, crawl spaces and home offices. Electronics are now essentials for work, homeschooling, entertainment and escapism, and content creators are kicking into high gear to fill the void wherever they can.

The concept of relevance is more critical than ever, and those that acknowledge the impact of this disruptive period and respond with intelligence, will emerge even stronger in the eyes of consumers. So what is it that will resonate with consumers today — and in the foreseeable future?


How does your brand fill the void and fit the values reset triggered by self-isolation? How can you respect the needs of audiences, be they consumers or media? Here, PR becomes distinguished from advertising due to its unique strengths in engagement.


Consumers have had many weeks to prune their living spaces and consider their needs. Products, whatever the category, will need to be put into context more than ever. We’re learning to live without some essentials, while other things that were once luxuries now feel necessary. How will a product or service truly impact your home, your life, your identity today?


A brand’s value will be augmented based on consumer experiences. Electronics become lifelines. Home entertainment, be it video, gaming, books or DIY content, becomes a way to help people make it through dark times. How can brands build upon this increased public appetite for distraction, activity and DIY?

It’s time to adapt.

Adrienne Simic
Senior Vice President

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