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Five essential learnings from lockdowns that brands can apply today


Since 2020, and waves of lockdown across the world, I’ve kept a weather eye on Zavy’s Radar tool to get the pulse of the nation. How are people feeling? Which brands are they responding well to? What brand activity earns positive sentiment and high engagement? What does not? 

In a nutshell

  1. We’ve all learned a lot over lockdown. Here we share five principles we've learned about brand and comms during the pandemic.
  2. Ultimately, it's about brands behaving in the same way that we’d expect people to: respectfully, kindly and authentically.
  3. These principles hold true during a crisis, but are also useful guardrails for brands entering into conversation.

From the answers to those questions, five essential learnings for brands emerged. And while they especially apply during times of crisis and change – the principles are evergreen. You'll also find some more detail in the infographic below. 

1. First, put people first.  

Self-centred messaging doesn't land well at the best of times, and right now you'll get no forgiveness for it. Show gratitude for customers and for staff and if people tell you their needs are not being met, respond quickly.  

2. Don't be boastful or pushy.  

Instead, help alleviate fear by clearly communicating how your organisation is participating in the collective effort to overcome the crisis.   

Save this infographic for reference.

3. Be true to your brand purpose, personality and role.  

But in a way that suits this new context. What job do people look to your brand to help them complete? What can you do to make it easier for them within lockdown restrictions?  

4. Be a team player, and play fair.  

Clearly communicate how your organisation is participating in the country's collective effort. 

5. Understand people's needs.   

Keep listening. Understand people's needs and be the first to provide relevant help and advice. Respond quickly if customers signal unmet needs.   

What it boils down to is brands behaving in the same way that we’d expect people to: respectfully, kindly and authentically.   

On that note, I’d like to recognise the epic efforts of our clients and the hardworking team here at TRA over the past year. Navigating a crisis is a lot easier with great collaborators. And in the spirit of listening to people’s needs – we’re always keen to understand your needs better. So if this article has left you with unanswered questions, let’s talk. 

headshot of Carl Sarney, Head of Strategy at TRA
Carl Sarney
Head of Strategy at TRA
Carl has 20 years of insight industry experience. He is specialised in brand and comms strategy with a proven history of effective work for his clients, including several gold awards for advertising effectiveness. His research work has taken him to just about every town in New Zealand to speak with people from all walks of life. He's also conducted qualitative research in eight more countries while based in London for two years and spent seven years as an ad agency planner before joining TRA in 2018.

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