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How Brands Are Evolving With The New Normal

Zaheer Dodhia, CEO of Logo Design, is an entrepreneur who’s launched multiple startups including ZillionDesigns, 2ndBazaar, and PCStore.

Is anything the same as it was a year and a half ago? From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 up until now, as we carefully navigate the ever-changing slippery slope toward some stability, the answer looks a lot like no. Nothing’s the same as it was pre-2020.

But the fact is that some things never change. We need to have a working economy. We need to continue inventing, investing, promoting and working for a better world. And here’s a big one: We have a need to always strive for a semblance of normalcy.

With masks and social distancing, the world of consumerism has undergone some serious changes. However, as early as the first or second month of the pandemic in 2020, we were already talking about “the new normal.”

These days, we’re still trying to figure out exactly what that is. But its effects have been clearly seen in how brands are evolving and adapting to maintain their growth and even secure new customers through offering new products, services and customer service initiatives. Here are some of the ways brands are evolving with the new normal.

Focusing On Communication

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Good communication between brands and consumers has always been imperative. It’s only through excellent, regular, repeated communication that a brand can make an impression and effectively notify its audience about how the brand itself is adapting. Marketing is just one aspect of this. A world that is still feeling the effects of a global pandemic and a dodgy economy doesn’t want to buy from a brand that is loudly centered on the material; the ability to create an emotional connection and a “we’re all in this together” narrative is more important than ever before.

In the post-2020 world, brands are turning to email blasts — I’ve even been getting them from retail chains like Target — to let consumers know that they, the brands, have our backs. It’s branding as a character-building exercise, and these newsletters can be an effective way to show how the brand is continuing even during hard times.

It’s also time for brands to get loud about their values. Family first, work-life balance, safe for the environment and for people — all of these values are coming to the forefront in newsletters, emails, on-site banners, social media and more. Letting customers know how much brands care is important — and so is letting customers know what the brand is doing about a problem.

Emphasizing Safety-First Advertising And In-Store Signage

Many of us want to shop with and purchase from brands that we identify with on a personal level. If we feel that a brand values the same things that we do, we’re more likely to interact, engage and invest. For many consumers, those values now include safety. In a post-2020 world, for example, I almost exclusively go to stores that I know enforce a mask policy.

Trader Joe’s, at least in my local area, has been an example of a brand putting their money where their mouth is and enforcing safety standards and practices. In my experience, it’s common to see “Masks Required” signs posted at the entrance to stores. Some draw special attention to these signs, even putting the message on chalkboards right in front of the door.

Reinforcing a safety-first message with actual real-world practicality proves to the consumer that a brand shares their values — it certainly works on me. By extension, brands that highlight their safety standards on their websites and in advertising campaigns also make a connection with consumers who are concerned about the same things. When identifying the best safety practices, businesses should reference the recommendations shared by the CDC.

Turning To In-House, Freelance And Remote Workers

We know that working from home hit an all-time high in 2020. As 2021 progresses, the numbers show employees are still interested in working remotely after the pandemic. Working from home, or at the very least remote working, is a big part of the new normal. It can help brands cut down on overhead expenses and assist with work-life balance for some employees.

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Another adaptation involves more extensive utilization of in-house or freelance work. Very few brands made it through 2020 without a tighter budget, and many of us as business owners are turning to existing resources rather than spending on new ones. Need a new logo? You might find a solution with outsourcing companies. Are you looking for a social media manager? You might find a more cost-effective solution from a freelancer than from a specialist company.

Adapting To The Continuing Rise Of E-Commerce

We’ve already seen spike after spike of e-commerce sales, but there’s no indication that this trend is going anywhere, and focusing on e-commerce is a smart move for brands that want to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

E-commerce isn’t restricted to smaller companies that are simply interested in reducing overhead, either. Amazon is the obvious winner in the e-commerce sweepstakes, but in recent months Procter & Gamble, GSK and other household brands have also leveraged an increased investment in the e-commerce space to make the most of the online-buying bonanza.

The New Normal — For Now

There’s no guarantee that our new normal will last. We might go back to “the old normal.” Whatever the case, the important thing is not only the specifics of how brands evolve but also the essential fact that they must.

Ultimately, brands must be ready to adapt. They have to be light on their feet, observant, responsive and sensitive to the needs of their audiences. They need strategies that encompass what we never thought possible pre-2020. Because despite the current trends brands are utilizing to stay afloat, there’s no telling what will come next.

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