Helen Brown

Resilience is vital to brand engagement

WPP’s Group Director of Crisis Management and Business Resilience, Helen Brown, explains why a company’s resilience capability is an important factor in brand engagement

A company's resilience capability plays a crucial role in brand engagement because it directly addresses the issue of trust. Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, and without it, stakeholders are less likely to engage with a company's brand; or remain loyal in the long term.  

Resilience refers to a company's ability to plan, adapt, respond, and even flourish in relation to factors impacting success; and it refers to a company’s ability to maintain business services during times of disruption. When a company demonstrates resilience, it instils confidence and reinforces trust in its brand. 

 At a time of increasing geo-political, climate, wealth and health instability, how a company responds to crises significantly impacts how clients and employees perceive its brand. By demonstrating resilience, a company shows its ability to navigate difficult situations and protect both its clients and its employees’ interests. This builds trust that the company can be relied upon, even in a crisis.

By demonstrating agility in a crisis, brands can respond to evolving demands. This adaptability showcases that the company is willing to go the extra mile to meet expectations. Such responsiveness enhances engagement, as stakeholders feel heard, understood and valued. 

And as well as enhancing the attractiveness of a brand for employees, a company's resilience capability can also serve as a competitive advantage. When clients trust a brand's ability to navigate uncertainties and remain steadfast in delivering services, they are more likely to choose that brand over competitors.  

From an employee's perspective, meaningful resilience goes beyond just maintaining operations during challenging times. It involves displaying empathy and understanding towards their emotions and needs, fostering deeper relationships and increasing engagement. 

Global crises have economic outcomes 

According to the World Economic Forum, the interplay of complex disruptions has long-term consequences, and global crises – such as pandemic – have wide-ranging economic consequences for much of the world.  

Crises and disruptions cut deeper in poorer countries and, when many national healthcare systems are overstressed, employees look for broader and longer term financial, medical and cost of living support for themselves and their families (examples of such crises include the Ukraine War, the earthquake in Turkey and the Covid pandemic).  

In the post-Covid environment, employees look to their employer to provide increasingly comprehensive and extensive aid in a crisis. This begs the question whether a brand’s current crisis response needs to evolve to meet these increasing needs. 

Resilience for Sustainable, Inclusive Growth (page 20 in particular) shows the seven resilience themes that come to the fore during a crisis and the corresponding actions that both the private sector and the public sector can take to ensure economic, societal and business resilience. 

Communication during crises is vital

When a brand effectively manages and communicates during a crisis, it instils confidence. Clear and transparent communication, timely updates and proactive support demonstrate commitment to well-being. This responsiveness helps to alleviate concerns, reinforces trust and strengthens the employee-brand relationship. 

Trust in resilience differentiates a company from its competitors by providing clients with the confidence that the brand will continue to meet their needs and deliver on its promises, even in challenging circumstances. When a brand can weather uncertainties and continue to provide quality services, it shows its commitment to delivering value over the long term. 

By showcasing reliability, adapting to customer needs, effectively managing crises and demonstrating empathy, resilient companies build a positive brand perception and foster trust and loyalty. This trust forms the foundation for meaningful engagement and sustainable competitive advantage.  

Helen Brown


published on

20 July 2023



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