Visual Tonality In Times Of Crisis

May 1, 2020
2 min read

Effective marketers know the importance of developing, maintaining, and evolving a brand’s voice. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study concluded that emotional engagement matters more than customer satisfaction and drives brand loyalty.

In the same way that a person's body language and vocal tone informs his or her message, an advertiser's use of words, images, and various background elements can affect the interpretation of an advertisement. The stronger the combined sensory appeal of these elements, the greater the effect the tone has on the audience's interpretation - ultimately formed by absorbing everything together.

But what happens when outside forces — economic, geopolitical, social, etc. — disrupt this carefully balanced ecosystem? 

Images and words that previously conjured positive feelings, viewed in the wrong environment, can seem tone deaf, inappropriate, and even offensive. Advertising perceived as exploitative or insensitive has the potential to ruin a brand’s reputation in an instant.

We are currently living through a moment in our lives that will mark a generation-defining moment, the memory structures built during a crisis go deeper and last longer, than much of the better-planned marketing that comes before or after.

This presents an incredible opportunity to increase your impact - by creating a visually tuned and well-crafted message that will resonate and stay top of mind with your audience. Ultimately, the question is how your brand ought to be behaving given the circumstances – is it appropriate to take action now, or focus on preparing for the future?

That’s why your company must always have an effective and integrated team (art directors, copywriters, media planners) ready to respond. The question now is; how do you want the public to remember your brand after the crisis?

The following are good examples of brands adapting to stay relevant in the current situation:

Ad Age’s regularly updated list tracking marketers response to coronavirus.

© 2024 Soubriet Byrne & Associates, Inc.