Branding in Crisis

July 29, 2020

If you’re like many of the mission-minded organizations out there, you may be experiencing the long-term and fatiguing effects of trying to thrive in our new reality. Our organizations and our people have grown weary. It’s perfectly valid to temporarily lose the passion and momentum of the great work we all do. In these moments of crisis and fatigue, vision and hope are needed more than ever.

How can your mission-minded organization leverage the storytelling power of your brand as an antidote to the challenges of the world around us?


Remember the WHY

Let’s face it. This current crisis has left our organizations scrambling to survive and put out fires daily. Yet we want to remind you… Even in the midst of adversity, never lose sight of your “why”.

As Brand Strategists, the kind of deep work we do with an organization during brand development often reminds people of the “why” behind the “what”. The WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us and ultimately drives our organization.

Three ways your WHY can impact your momentum and engagement:

  1. It grounds you and your staff in times of crisis
  2. It helps set guardrails for decision-making and priorities
  3. It reminds and re-inspires your constituents

How is your branding and storytelling reflecting the WHY behind your organization during this crisis?


Surge New Momentum

Perhaps your organization is struggling to maintain financial or operational stability in the direction of your mission. We saw many churches, non-profits, and businesses struggle with regaining the momentum they had before COVID. If your organization is struggling to maintain financial or operational stability in the direction of your mission, surge new momentum in giving and engagement by focusing your storytelling on 3 key areas:


The most effective brands in this crisis acknowledge the difficulty of the moment we’re all living in. Share your stories from a place of vulnerability and authenticity. Meet your audience where they are and connect through empathy.


What your audience needs most during a crisis is a sense of hope and renewed purpose. Let your storytelling bring people from the darkness into the light. Share stories of hope and show them how they can be apart of sharing that same hope with others.

Calls to Action

Your audience needs to know that they are a crucial part of you accomplishing your mission. Cast the vision for a new future and then make it clear that they play a role in helping you build this preferred future.

Have you acknowledged reality through empathetic storytelling? In what ways are you bringing hope and inspiration? Is your brand calling people into your vision?


Lean into the Future

We have to address the elephant in the room. The ways we were doing ministry, reaching our audiences, and calling people into our causes has already changed. We are now playing catch-up.

At Rethink Creative, one of our guiding principles is Embrace Change. Without disruption, there is no escaping the mundane and status quo. Culture moves fast. It can be overwhelming to witness change, let alone embrace it for your own organization. We understand; change can be hard. The best things usually are. When embraced, you position your organization for greater impact. In light of our current crisis, there are a number of ways we can embody this principle.

Without disruption, there is no escaping the mundane and status quo. Culture moves fast. It can be overwhelming to witness change, let alone embrace it for your own organization. We understand; change can be hard. The best things usually are.

You may need to re-evaluate the branding, messaging, and storytelling you relied on before COVID. With this global crisis challenging our assumptions of the health and safety of our families and our wallets, the tools and communications of yesterday may not be suited for tomorrow. Every organization is different, but we recommend starting with these key steps:

Consider a Brand Audit

A Brand and Communications Audit gives you a bird’s eye view of the health of your brand with respect to your strategic objectives, target market and competition. Often the starting point of a larger brand development project, these audits can include a thorough analysis and comparison of visual identity, website and key communications, messaging, and even market research.

Run a Brand Clarity Workshop.

If you and your team are ready to facilitate some much needed strategic conversations, then a Brand Clarity workshop is for you. These workshops help unpack much-needed conversations with key leadership as well as help create eye-opening “aha” moments for your team through strategic empathy-gathering exercises. Sometimes a tough conversation is what is needed to confront the obstacles that are slowing down your momentum. These workshops open up those possibilities and more.

Execute with Insight.

Now that you’ve gathered insight from a potential audit or workshop, your team needs to “land the plane” and execute the creative solutions that will pivot your organization into tomorrow. Does your organization need a light refresh of materials and messaging or will it pivot into a new season with a full rebrand? Whatever you decide to execute on, rest assured you will be miles ahead of other organizations that are too afraid to embrace change.

We have already begun to see the effects of a post-COVID world on organizations that have been unable to adapt in a timely manner. The primary ways you are externally perceived and understood as an organization (visual identity, messaging, marketing, etc.) all are being watched closely. Donors are wondering if your organization is not only tackling the challenges of our time but forging ahead into an inspiring vision. This requires change. Our hope is that your brand will not only survive but thrive in this crisis as you cast vision and continue to bring light into the darkness.


It is an honor to serve alongside many mission-minded organizations during this global crisis. Elevating your mission through effective storytelling is what inspires us to wake up in the morning and continue amidst the current global situation. We wholeheartedly believe this current crisis will mold us into more effective mission-minded leaders and people. Our hope and privilege is to continue to serve you and your organization as we pivot into this new future, together.

“As SEND International looks to the future and considers how our brand and messaging is being perceived by a variety of audiences, we knew that we needed outside expertise to help us find alignment both internally and externally. Rethink Creative has been an extension of the SEND family, providing valuable insights, recommendations and strategies that position our brand for the Great Commission work of bringing the love and message of Jesus to the least reached.”

Michelle Atwell

Michelle Atwell

US Director & CEO
SEND International

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