brand building

6 Ways to Turn Disruption & Market Hostility into a Brand Building and Revenue Growth Opportunity

Disruption is an overriding factor around the world in recent years from digital transformation, to digitising and the recent pandemic. Consequently, there’s been a dramatic impact on brand building and how brands perform, in every way from their communication to their ability to get their product or service to market. 

The reality is that the current pace of disruption isn’t going to let up but will in fact increase. With a more digital, interconnected world and higher customer expectations, this disruptive VUCA world is here to stay (VUCA, is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity). Instead of seeing it as an impediment to the success of your brand, consider how you can leverage the multiple opportunities disruption offers, so you can be a leading disrupter actively innovating to drive growth. 

Here we’re explaining how you can turn the disruptive world into a brand-building opportunity for your business to both drive growth and build long-term resilience.

Related: Brand Disruption, Be the Disruptor or Be Defeated

1. User Personas Help Brand Building Match the Moment to Grow

Some brands offer a functional benefit that persists no matter what the circumstance. But many brands can see disruption affect demand. This is true for many functional benefits – foreign travel is less appealing during a pandemic, for example, while tech support for homeworking may be more in demand. Brands that put emotional benefits front and centre can be even more damaged by such disruption. During times of disruption, people’s emotional needs and desires can change dramatically and very fast. So emotional benefits which are desirable in normal times can suddenly become less valued, or even socially unacceptable.

Achieving the optimal emotional benefits from your customers’ perspective matters a lot. Emotions drive purchases regardless of gender or cultural background. During disruptive or hostile trading conditions, your customers’ overriding mood or feelings matter even more. When things are changing fast and unpredictably, customers respond with certain behaviours. For example, they may seek security, reliability, and reassurance. Obviously, this impacts the emotional benefits of brands commonly thought of as highly emotionally engaged. But it also brings into question the relevance of many everyday brands — product or service, B2B and B2C, that you may not rate or associate with the emotional drivers so highly.

One of the best ways to mitigate risk and avoid disruption is through the use of user personas and purchaser personas because they’re a core part of your brand building. They reflect how your target audience thinks and feels now and in the future, rather than in the past, so it’s important to revisit them regularly and keep them relevantly up-to-date.

brand building

Image via © AA

A B2C service case study is provided by the insurance brand, the AA. It recognises that traffic accidents are often traumatic for customers in multiple ways, physically, financially, and emotionally, so it has shifted its brand positioning from the functional benefits of assistance to a wider focus including more emotional benefits. That reflects the desire for people during a time of heightened travel anxiety to focus on the positive mental associations with car travel, not the possible downsides. 

Related: Increase Sales Using Buyer Personas, Your Guide to Understanding and Targeting Your Ideal Customers

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

  1. Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
  2. Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind here. This is a live, interactive programme online where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy to differentiate more strongly and achieve higher revenue. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand-building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
  3. Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here
branding strategy

© Persona Design

2. Brand Strategy Enables Brand Building to be More Nimble and Responsive to Fit Customer Needs

During disruptive conditions, situations typically change fast. That means that brands often need to act faster than usual. As circumstances change, they need to respond quickly. At a practical level, this can be reflecting a changed reality. For example, if logistics delays mean a product is late to market, the brand communication may need to be changed but also in some cases reworked. Or if an incentive scheme for businesses is introduced at short notice, B2B businesses may need to adapt their brand-building strategy rapidly to capitalise on the opportunity.

Brand building in an ad hoc manner or responding tactically to events confuses what your brand stands for in the minds of your target customers. That undermines their trust — and when customers don’t trust your brand they don’t buy it. It also consumes a lot of time and energy internally amongst your team and slows down their productivity, as well as making you more vulnerable to costly mistakes. 

A clear brand strategy ensures you have robust clarity on how to build your brand over the long-term. That empowers you to achieve higher revenue and mitigate risks. Consequently, when things are more disruptive a brand can respond strategically and fast which in turn helps make it more successful and profitable, instead of flailing around for a tactical response that simply confuses your customers, your team, and the market — all of which undermines your business.

brand building

© Kainos

A B2B service case study that brings this to life is Kainos. The Belfast-based software provider prospered throughout the pandemic. Key to its success was its focus on enabling businesses and governmental organisations to work more efficiently through the right cloud-based software, independently of where they were. 

A key part of its pre-pandemic brand-building approach had focussed on open, honest, constructive dialogues designed to help participants work more effectively in different situations.  That meant that when lockdowns and other such unanticipated disruptions hit businesses Kainos was able to continue to build its brand on that basis, rather than having to change its offering rapidly on the hop.

Related: Building a Resilient Brand and Business, 10 Lessons From Brands That Have Thrived Through Market Stress

3. Strong Brand Building Requires Knowing Your Baseline, What You’re Starting With

It can be challenging to make the most of your brand assets unless you know exactly what those assets are to start with. The truth is, research shows a surprising number of business leaders and brand owners don’t really have an objective, clear overview of what their brand assets are[1].

That’s why a brand audit is a helpful building block which sets the stage for any future brand building because it identifies your strengths, vulnerabilities and opportunities for innovation and growth. Too many business leaders and brand managers postpone getting their house in order or wait until disruption occurs. This in turn makes their recovery more painful and costly as they belatedly start getting their brand strategy into shape — starting with a brand audit

Time and again, experience (and countless case studies) shows that those businesses that have a clear understanding of their brand enables them to flex quickly while staying strategically on-brand to meet disruptive events head-on. Consequently, they come out on top, identify new opportunities and leverage the disruption to grow revenue.

A B2B service case study on point is Computacenter which is little-known outside its core markets. The IT consultancy has a long history of growth year after year and is well-regarded in its end markets for its deep knowledge base and reliability. That awareness of its brand strengths helps to explain the group’s success even as its business model has evolved over the years. By knowing what it has permission to do with its target customers, the company has grown by sticking to core competencies and delivering them well.

brand strategy “Having worked with Lorraine on a number of events and projects, I knew that taking part in the Persona Leadership Branding Strategy Mastermind programme was going to open my eyes to how my brand could be mapped out and developed to help the business grow. 

I had no idea just how much of an impact the programme would have in helping me to shape my whole business strategy and lay the foundations for my future plans. By evaluating my brand, defining and putting structure on what we do, and why, it enabled me to map out the direction for where the business and brand is headed.

All the worksheets, tools, and resources you receive are very thorough and Lorraine gets a great sense of what your business is and what you are trying to achieve, so her guidance is tailored to you. 

I would highly recommend working with Persona Design to any entrepreneur/SME that is striving for success.” 

Fiona Kelly

Founder, Conference & Events Director

Zoom In & The Executive PA Forum

Fiona Kelly

Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy, so you can [1] navigate a disruptive time successfully and increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value, so you can command a premium.

In fact, the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand, and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results, so you can grow your business faster and more effectively. 

The programme enables you to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers, so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in-house bespoke Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Intensives working with you and your team, so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724

4. A Disruptive World Offers New Opportunities for Brand Building

People often look unfavourably on prospering from misfortune, so brands need to tread sensitively to protect and enhance their brand reputation during times of change. However, the reality is that disruption brings in its wake all sorts of opportunities. That can be about new needs or desires from the target audience. But it can also be a welcome opportunity for a more general reset. Disruption can provide the ideal opportunity for a brand refresh.

Disruption is often a temporary moment when one established order gives way to a newly established order, as discussed in the Harvard Business Review in the context of the pandemic [2]. There can be lots of reasons for that, but the impact is consistent in one way: thinking about disruption as a launching pad for a future reality, rather than a temporary blip before a return to an uninterrupted prior state, is more likely to lead to long-term brand building success.

brand building

Image via © DPD

A B2B and B2C service case study is DPD. At a time when mail delivery competitors were struggling due to declining volumes, DPD has thrived. In Ireland, its business grew 50% in 2020 versus the same period the year before [3]. The shift to online shopping has been fully embraced by the courier group. 

Related: 7 Luxury Brand Resilience Principles You Can Leverage to Grow Your Profits in Hostile Market Conditions

Brand Audit Workbook

Get the Person Brand Audit Workbook here now, so you can start evaluating your business’s strengths, vulnerabilities, and new opportunities for innovation and growth to achieve stronger differentiation and higher revenue.

5. Tone of Voice is Critical to Brand Building, so You Stand Out in a Disruptive World

Brand strategy entails 12 key elements. One of them is your brand’s tone of voice and signature language — the way in which it communicates externally as well as with its internal branding. Your brand tone of voice is used throughout your communications, from sales scripts to adverts, website copy, newsletters and packaging to mention a few.

During disruptive times, your brand tone of voice often takes on elevated importance. Customers will often unconsciously see disruptive times as an inflection point in their loyalty to your brand — depending on how you perform, or not as the case may be. 

brand building

Image via Creative Brief © Tesco

A case study is Tesco’s personalised recipes from customers featuring dishes such as Alice’s “peacemaking cupcakes” and Henry’s “Being Good Tonight” Falafel. This accessible, human-centred, “can do” tone of voice matches well the mood of a population struggling with challenging, uncertain times.

Related: How to Develop Your Brand Tone of Voice to Increase Sales

“An excellent programme that provides an informative guide on how to structure your brand’s development whether you are launching a new brand, refreshing an existing one and/or conducting a review of your brand to ascertain possible weaknesses.”

Ciarán Barry


Broadview Ventures

Ciarán Barry

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high-performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.

  1. Schedule a chat — we can meet in person online
  2. Let’s consider a customised plan for you
  3. And perhaps implement the plan together  
  4. Contact us [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind. 

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.

Ask about the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind — live, interactively, face-to-face online.

“If you’re interested in the brand strategy that will take you to the next level, that will put you on the market in a premium position, Lorraine Carter is the person to assist you in getting there with specific elements and with specific tools that simply work. All you have to do is focus and know what you want — she provides the tool kit you need to accomplish your goals.”

Adina Iacob

Founder, PR, Communications & Media Relations Consultant

Adina Iacob

6. Disruption Forces New Approaches to Brand Building

Adversity is the mother of opportunity, runs the old proverb. That is also true when it comes to brand building. Rather than bemoaning shifts in demand, pricing changes and shocks in the distribution chain, a disruption can often be reframed as a chance to take a new approach to brand building

Even if it is forced on you, there will often be some benefits to such an approach as long as you have the right mindset about how to embrace it and a strong brand strategy to fall back on and adapt fast.

brand building

© Isle20

A case study is Isle20. Dispersed small-scale producers on a Scottish island lacked their normal distribution channels during the pandemic. So they teamed up on a shared e-commerce platform which turned the negative of being on a remote island with few sales channels into a positive, compelling brand story about provenance.

brand building

© Ireland Together

Another compelling example is the non-profit organisation Ireland Together. This voluntary community of SMEs sprung up at speed in 2020 and has very successfully provided an invaluable supporting network for members through access to experts with decades of experience across a full spectrum of business functions. 

Its central focus is around sharing experiences and challenges in a secure and supportive environment so that SME business owners, leaders, and decision-makers can all navigate the evolving economic climate together.

Related: Branding in a Crisis, 5 Practical Steps, so You Match to the Moment Brilliantly

“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”

Dave Feenan


Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet

Dave Feenan

Final Thoughts

The world has changed fast in many ways over the past couple of years. That can be challenging for brands as well as for people — but it can also offer new opportunities to those who are willing to embrace change and adapt. 

A clear brand strategy, a nimble mindset, the right tone of voice, and an understanding of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses are essential tools. 

The fact is, armed with the right tools and a commitment to brand growth, your brand can not only survive but thrive, even during disruptive times.

Questions to Consider

  1. Do you have user personas and do you use them to help shape commercial brand decision-making?
  2. How could your brand strategy be clearer and more actionable?
  3. How might a brand audit help your brand planning?
  4. Does your brand tone of voice attract and retain your target users?
  5. What have you learned from the past year which helps strengthen your brand’s approach to the market?

Your Persona Client Satisfaction Guarantee

  1. When you work with us, we’ll create a customised brand-building plan and strategy with clear investment for you tailored to your specific requirements and preferences
  2. You’ll know each step of your brand building journey before we start because we’ll discuss it, document it, and agree on it with you before work commences
  3. You’ll have timelines, key milestones, and deliverables to evaluate and approve for each stage and part of your brand building process
  4. Because we know the unexpected sometimes happens we can make adjustments along the way if you need it and if something extra is requested we’ll ensure you’re fully appraised about what that entails before committing
  5. As we achieve pre-agreed objectives you’ll be able to evaluate your brand building work and strategy in progress, coupled with the outcomes to ensure return on investment

Get in touch today because we’d love to enable you to re-evaluate and build your standout, powerhouse brand so you can Be The One — increase your profits and leave your competitors way behind. 

Email us [email protected] or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30) and ask about our VIP Brand Strategy Re-Evaluation.