Winning through conversation: How brands can leverage this tough period


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Consumers are presently hurting, and businesses are being placed on a precipice. However, this tough time presents an opportunity for sensitive brands to outbid the competition and win a larger share of the consumers’ mind. It starts when businesses take up a role that relieves the aches of recent socio-economic and health events in the market.

Who won’t fall in love with a knight in shining armour who stepped into the rescue when the house is on fire? Everyone would. This law of nature sure works perfectly in strategically stimulating consumers to fall in love with brands, businesses, and governments, in critical moments.

The pandemic-enforced disruption to local and global supply chains have brought untold pains upon consumers. McKinsey & Company, a research and consulting firm, reflected on the events in the past 8 months:

“Meanwhile, the global economic contractions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have far exceeded those of the Great Recession that ended in 2009 and have occurred at a much faster rate, hitting all sectors and many of the world’s largest employers”.

The American Journal of Tropical Medicine provided clarity on the impact of the lockdown of commercial activities and movement of people at the basic level. One of its journals explained, “The emergence of COVID-19 has affected the economy globally by directly affecting production in key countries that are sole manufacturers of raw materials, intermediate products, and consumer goods, thereby creating supply chain and market disruption, and by its financial impact on firms and the financial markets”.

The pandemic was a setback to sectors outside technology. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the tourism sector alone lost close to $2.2 billion to the pandemic, which negatively impacted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in every nation. Emphasizing the effects of border closures on the global economy, the UN trade and development body said, “…for every $1 million lost in international tourism revenue, a country’s national income could drop by up to $3 million. The effects on employment could be dramatic.”

No doubts, the frustration of the lockdown has snowballed into massive protests and stabbings in places such as Nigeria, the United States and France. In the past weeks, the Nigerian polity especially has been heated up by massive youth protests, shooting, looting of palliative warehouses and burning of government properties.  

Meanwhile, The COVID-19 pandemic presents a channel for brands to connect with and bond with the sprawling 200 million consumer market by:

  1. Providing useful information to guide people through the tough economic period – Information that helps consumers who have lost their incomes retrain or locate a fresh opportunity would be welcome at this time. Likewise, helpful insights which would bring calm should ring a bell in the consumers’ mind.
  2. Broadcasting any supportive initiatives the business launched – Has your business contributed food, medical kits and materials to address issues faced by the consumers? This is the time to broadcast them and let the world into your kind heart.
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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