Our businesses are all facing challenging times as the economic impact of Coronavirus starts to take its toll, but this is not a race to the finish line to see who wins & who loses. This is the time to look at the ecosystems we operate in & figure out how we can make the best decision to benefit our communities at large.
Prioritise people over profit
Never before has it been so important for businesses & brands to prioritise people over profit. This is not limited to your employees & your consumers but to everyone operating in your business ecosystem.
Your consumers haven’t disappeared, they have just experienced a huge shift in their patterns & their immediate human needs.
For the time being they are concerned about meeting their basic needs - being safe, having food & shelter.
You need to find out what safety means to them. How can you accommodate these new needs? How can you pivot your business to prioritise people.
This is not the time to profit or exploit opportunities in this crisis.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
You cannot ignore the fact that overnight your current messaging might seem irrelevant, or worse - insensitive & profit seeking. This is a flag to act quickly.
It is not wrong to start pulling messages that might damage your brand’s long-term reputation, but you have got to keep a connection to your consumers & find a way to help them in this disruptive time. They need to know what measures you have put in place to keep them safe. They want to know that you are taking care of your employees & others in the community.
If your brand message has always been built around “care” and “community” - be prepared to be put under the spotlight to deliver on that purpose. This is the time to make your brand purpose count - all those years of building up messaging about how you care. Your consumers want to see it in action now.
“The brands who continue to communicate factually and with empathy at this time have the chance to resurface from the crisis with deeper consumer and customer connection”
Look beyond your consumers to all the people in your brand ecosystem
This is the time to look at everyone who helps deliver your brand to consumers. If you are an alcoholic beverage - don’t just look at your customers & how you can help them - think one step further to the waiters & bartenders that serve your products. If you are in FMCG - what about the merchandisers that work at the frontline restocking shelves.
Instead of building discounts into products think how you can assist in other ways & communicate those initiatives.
Help another business to help your business and brands.
If you are struggling at the moment and trying to come up with plans to keep your business afloat - try to shift your thinking. Think outside of your industry & your current business model. There are many businesses that are thriving at the moment & staff that are working overtime. How can you lighten the load on your business whilst supporting someone else's.
Think about your vehicles that are standing still - is there an opportunity to team up with another business that needs short term delivery services?
Could you quickly flip your restaurant to provide frozen foods & team up with an essential outlet that will remain open?
What skills do you have sitting in your business that could be used in another in the interim?
How could you combine with a competitor to deliver a product or service that will add value to consumers’ lives?
Whatever you do, do not disconnect from the people that matter to your businesses & brands. Stay in touch. Communicate regularly. Be authentic.