Chapter stories

Redefining your voice during a crisis

Words matter. Your words (what you say) and your tone (how you say it) are fundamental to the perception of your brand, yet they are so often undervalued.

Covid-19 has been a masterclass in relevance and reputation. At a time when emotions are intensified and problems are magnified, brands, celebrities and Government ministers have been frantically fighting for relevancy. A spotlight has been shone on those who have diplomatically navigated their way through the crisis, saying the right thing at the right time – and those that haven’t.

As we get closer to shutting the door to 2020, now is the time to be giving careful consideration to the stories you want to tell and how you plan to share them. Keep front of mind the following principles and your brand is much more likely to be heard and listened to.


01 | Redefining your relevance

One of the biggest challenges for brands during Covid has been defining their relevance, particularly so for sectors such as hospitality. With many businesses unable to operate and struggling to make ends meet, maintaining presence with little or no content to share is no mean feat. The best way to ensure you stay relevant is to shift to a ‘servicing’ mindset; now is not the time for hard selling. Give careful thought to what your customers need and how you can help them, whether it’s offering a new service or providing some much-needed, light entertainment. Actively follow through on your word with positive, non-profiteering actions and once the crisis is over, you’ll be remembered for the right reasons.


02 | Messaging with meaning

Constant news reports, daily briefings and continuous changes to the rules and restrictions has resulted information fatigue. Consumers are re-evaluating which brands they still need in their lives and those that they can survive without. If there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s that nobody wants to hear anything more about the ‘uncertain times’. Think about every message you want to communicate and then consider if it’s genuinely interesting, informative or necessary. If it is, it’s worth doing. Otherwise it’s just littering the world with additional content clutter.


03 | Reshaping your tone of voice

Every brand has its own tone of voice which reflects its brand values and is instantly recognisable. Alongside the brand aesthetic, the tone of voice plays a huge part in creating a brand personality. During a crisis, the tone of voice should stay consistent with the values but needs to be re-purposed to reflect the world around us and the mood of the public. The brand voice and technical bits (grammar, language and syntax) can stay the same to ensure the brand personality is maintained, but the tone needs to be adjusted. A tone that was appropriate tone in 2019 is likely to miss the mark now, particular in response to a shift in people’s thoughts, behaviours and opinions. The key to reshaping your tone of voice and ensuring authenticity is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and connect with how they are feeling. Do they need empathy and peace-of-mind reassurance, or perhaps they’re in need of uplifting optimism as we look to the future? Either way, if it’s not said with sensitivity it’s likely you’ll be perceived as ‘tone deaf’.


There’s no denying that Covid-19 has presented huge challenges across the world and businesses are fighting for survival. However, as we approach a new year and an imminent vaccine providing much-needed light at the end of the tunnel, now is an ideal opportunity to be redefining your voice. By giving some careful thought as to how you can add value to your customers and reshaping your messaging to reflect this, you’ll be remembered in a positive light for years to come.


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