4 Ways Your Brand Can Adapt When Crisis Strikes

Brands across the world are asking their agencies to “pivot.” The world has taken a very serious turn, and as marketers, we have to recognize and communicate what we are doing in a way that is most authentic for our brands.

What we do now has major implications for our success in the future, as 69% of people in the U.S. agree that placing profits before people during this crisis will lose their trust (and likely even their business) forever.

“The uncertainty of it all” that we have been hearing so much about lately can be overwhelming and weigh heavily on those trusted to keep businesses afloat in a global pandemic. Most notably, this applies to your brand equity and marketing investment. How do you triage your messaging to protect your investment? What’s most important for your brand to communicate? How do you reposition your brand to stay relevant when so many others are doing the same?

These are all challenges we embraced with our partners at the Arizona Lottery. Even with such a large presence in the market both locally and nationally, few people understand that state lotteries exist to fund vital state programs, programs that need help now more than ever. We knew this message had to take a front seat and it had to do so quickly. Here are a few ways we worked with the Arizona Lottery to adjust our messaging and our actions to best serve the community and strike the right tone in a chaotic environment:

    • Beneficiary Messaging: We leaned into a celebration of the work the Arizona Lottery does to fund critical government programs and also developed a $50,000 sponsorship to support the Central Arizona Shelter System, which offers services to those experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County.
    • Social Media Giveaways: We added more giveaways, contests and prizes across our social media platforms, awarding $200,000 in cash prizes over just two months. Giveaways focused on groups at the center of COVID news, including grocery store workers, teachers and healthcare professionals.
    • Players Club Promotions: We increased the prize pool for our Players Club promotional giveaways, putting more cash in the hands of our most loyal players. An upcoming “no purchase necessary” promotion will also give casual lottery players a chance to join Players Club and connect with the Arizona Lottery.
    • Media Spending: We reallocated our dollars to donate 20% to the Arizona Department of Health so they can increase their reach of COVID-19-related messaging.
    • Operational Support: Arizona Lottery offices in Tucson and Phoenix offered options to accommodate physical distancing protocol while still allowing winners to claim prizes. Players can mail in their claims, drop claims off safely in a lockbox, or set in-person appointments by phone.

While these changes are unique to the Arizona Lottery’s specific needs, there are a few steps brands can take to implement their own updated strategies in times of crisis:

    1. Inform: More information is always better than offering too little. Use owned channels to communicate singular messages to customers. Keep messaging simple, clear, reassuring, consistent and accessible.
    2. Provide value: Focus messaging on solutions, not selling. Fostering goodwill in a crisis will sometimes mean offering something for nothing, but helping people in their time of need will win you a place in people’s hearts, and it’s always the right thing to do.
    3. Don’t act alone: Brand purpose is no longer about brand health, it’s now about public health. Join forces with critical partners (state agencies, businesses like you, etc.) to increase your impact.
    4. Foster a sense of community: Community can take many forms, from your local neighborhood to brand fans. Consumers vote with their dollars for companies that align with their values. Show appreciation for employees and empathy for all.


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