Air Date

September 9, 2020

Featured Guests

Amy Lang
Senior Vice President, Staples

Said Eastman

Paul Ryan Elliot
Founder and CEO, Loft and Bear Vodka

Sam Kanter
Owner, Sam Kanter Events


Jeanette Mulvey
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—


The pandemic has caused many entrepreneurs to rethink their offerings and business models. As a result, rebranding has become an essential step for business owners in various industries throughout this time.

In this installment of CO— Blueprint, our content director Jeanette Mulvey spoke with business professionals on ways they have rebranded and shifted their efforts to accommodate their consumers today. Here are three tips they discussed for rebuilding your brand during the pandemic.

When Rebranding During the Pandemic, Be Consistent With Your Business Marketing on Social Media

During the pandemic, many small businesses have started taking advantage of social media for their business marketing and to connect with consumers.

"Even if you don't have a website, you can do a lot through social," said Amy Lang, SVP of strategy and insights at Staples. "It's highly local, and you can really get your word out and present your brand exactly the way you want it."

Lang also stressed the importance of consistency in messaging, which is especially critical when rebuilding a brand. Maintaining a consistent voice will strengthen your identity and strengthen awareness among your audience.

"Figure out who your customer is and what your message is going to be to them, and just hit it relentlessly," said Lang. "You will get sick of it far before a customer even sees it once or twice, so don't be afraid to keep saying the same thing."

However, you don't need to be on every social media platform, Lang noted. Rather, find the ones that work best for your business during this time and focus more heavily on those.

"It does depend a lot on what you are and who you are," she said. "And one of the best ways to do it is to go play around on all these different social channels. See who's out there and [whether you are] going to make sense in that environment."

During COVID, a Product Repositioning May Involve a Shift Toward E-Commerce and Direct-to-Consumer Sales

Prior to COVID-19, craft distillery Loft and Bear Vodka relied heavily on their sales to restaurants and bars that would serve the vodka on-premises, which accounted for as much as 80% of their annual revenue. When the pandemic hit, Paul Ryan Elliot, founder and CEO of the distillery, knew he needed to drive off-premise sales and chose to reposition his product.

"E-commerce is essentially the closest thing that a brand like ours can get to direct-to-consumer sales," said Elliot. "As we build our e-commerce platform, we're able to serve a wider customer base."

He added that having a hyper-local approach, which Loft and Bear Vodka had prior to COVID-19, limits the number of customers who can actually purchase your product in person. Shifting their focus to e-commerce has allowed them to reach a broader audience and continue to distribute their products.

Businesses Should Communicate Their Brand Repositioning to Consumers With Empathy

Sam Kanter, owner of Sam Kanter Events, knew that a brand repositioning was necessary for her event business in 2020. To accommodate her clients and attract prospects, she shifted her offerings from event planning to COVID consulting.

"Consulting isn't new [for our business], but the type of consulting is," she explained. "We're usually trying to figure out how to fit more people comfortably into a space, and now we're trying to figure out how to fit less people in a space and have them feel comfortable, and still have it be an empowering and inviting environment."

On her website, Kanter now markets her brand as a COVID consulting business, and when she communicates with her clients, she ensures she's being empathetic and accommodating.

"I really try to be honest and direct with my clients … because I do care about their wellbeing," said Kanter. "It's not just a business for me, just like it's not just a business for them."

From the Series

CO— Blueprint