Many of the questions I received from my webinar on Wednesday were about tone and ethos. How do you strike the right tone when talking about your brand during this crazy time? How can you show the strength of your brand’s character?
I tapped a valued partner and dear friend of mine, Julie Hahn, for her thoughts on this. Julie has been working with AC&C Marketing for seven years as a copy editor and writer. She’s part of the fabric of our business and helps our words sound and read a little bit better.
Recently, we talked about brand tone and ethics during the time of coronavirus. We’ve both watched, in real time, as brands we previously considered solid used the pandemic to their advantage — and lost our loyalty in the process. How did they manage to mess it up so quickly?
For me, emails that are obviously written by the company’s legal team are not compelling. I’m sure the now-obligatory “How we’re responding to COVID-19” emails have flooded your inbox, too. When I read them I think, “Hmmm …. What are they trying to hide with this boring email?”
(And let’s not even get into how celebrities are ruining their carefully cultivated images by posting tone-deaf plugs for silk face masks that can be used during a first-class flight to Paris.)
On the other hand, Julie pointed to a disarmingly honest and caring response from a small business as an example of striking the right tone: “Whoa, this situation is crazy. Is everyone OK? Here’s how we’re ready to help you get through this.”
We agreed that the secret sauce during this time is honesty plus empathy. If you’ve been building your brand ethically, your customers already know that they can trust what you’re doing. But if you can show them through your messaging and your tone that you care about their safety, their communities, and that you truly value them as customers, you’re well on your way to weathering this pandemic … even without a $300 silk face mask.

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