Should You Launch a New Brand During a Pandemic?

Learn why now might be a great time to move forward with a brand launch, even during uncertain times.

We recently read an article about a new plant-based energy drink, TENZING, that just hit the market. TENZING claims to be the ‘strongest plant-power on the market’ and the only plant-based BCAA drink without artificial ingredients.

Why is this brand launch so notable? Because it happened amid a pandemic.

Many brands that initially planned for a late-spring or early-summer launch have discovered a market that looks vastly different. Consumer behaviors have changed, and with it, these brands have been forced to make some unexpected shifts.

However, these changes might not be so bad for business. TENZING Founder Huib van Bockel recognized that because of the pandemic, interest in new sports, exercise regimens, and fitness challenges has surged, paving the way for his new energy drink.

A similar story came out of the UK. After previously purchasing outdoor media space for early spring, UK-based snack brand Emily Crisps decided to make the best of a trying situation. They ran this witty ad making light of social distancing. Now it’s getting attention—though maybe a different kind of attention than Emily Crisps expected.

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What Does This Mean for The Rest of Us?

Even if you aren’t selling an energy drink—or toilet paper or cleaning products—now could be the ideal time to introduce your brand. Especially if COVID-19 has revealed a gap in the market where your business belongs.

There’s a new normal. We’re all having to wear many hats—parent, teacher, business leader, essential worker, team-of-one. And it goes without saying, so are your consumers. This historic moment brings unprecedented opportunities to show why your brand is relevant.

Are you providing valuable products or services to frontline workers? Making life easier for consumers who are stretched to their limits? Entertaining bored consumers maintaining their distance? Now’s the time to ensure your brand promise is loud and clear. Communicate what you stand for and who you serve.

Consumers are looking for guidance and assistance. We all want reassurance that soon, we’ll be able to return to visiting our loved ones and doing the things we enjoy. We sometimes need help navigating and making peace with the many ways our lives have changed.

On one hand, there’s the fear that brands that capitalize on this vulnerability will be seen as self-serving. But on the other, brands can take this opportunity to show that the people behind them are human, too. We really are in this together.

Many of our basic needs—food, shelter, Netflix—haven’t changed. And we still crave information. Where do we go to find it? The internet. Businesses who can launch a brand that looks, sounds, and feels human—across their websites, social media accounts, and other platforms—will rise when this devastating pandemic is behind us.

They also want to support local businesses. It’s incredible how many in our community have banded together to support local restaurants, shops, and service providers. Though the impact of the pandemic is global, the effects are being felt close to home, where some businesses have had to close their doors permanently. Others (the lucky ones) are thriving.

This might not feel like the ideal environment in which to launch (or relaunch) a brand. But businesses that go to market now are uniquely positioned to ride the wave of ‘shop local’ sentiment echoing through our communities.

You might finally have the time to ensure an effective brand launch. Launching a brand is no simple task. Websites must be created, social media platforms set up, email blasts sent, and various other tasks completed. These are difficult things to get done even during the best of times. But as businesses slowly reopen and we ease back into the outside world, you might find you have some extra time to tackle these tasks.

There’s never a perfect time to launch a brand. But there are times when you can better focus your energy on the critical to-dos that will set you up for success. For many businesses, that time is now.

But what’s realistic?

If you are uncertain about whether to proceed with a brand launch, you’re not alone. There is no right or wrong answer. It could be that conditions are more favorable than you think to proceed. Or maybe there are enough unknowns that pausing is wise. The bottom line is that sometimes you just need a sounding board to talk it through.

The Meld team has heard from many business owners—those who are having to redefine their identities and goals for the post-COVID-19 world, those working to help end the global health crisis, those pushing their retail launch out by a few months due to supplier issues, and others who see a new opportunity that’s prompting them to push toward a faster launch.

What kind of assistance or consultation does your brand or business need? Reach out and let’s talk about how we can navigate this together.

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