Each day, businesses around the globe are struggling to digest the impact of the present pandemic and resulting current events and trying to formulate an appropriate plan of action. How should we communicate with our customers? Where should we spend our marketing dollars? What should we say? What should we avoid? How can we stay in business? How can we support our employees, friends, family, clients, colleagues and world overall? Communicating with clear, well-thought-out messages is always important, but communication during times of crisis is critical. What you say and how you say it will make a big impact, for better or worse.
Adjust your focus:
Take time to allow your leadership team and your staff to adjust to a new reality. As a result of recent events, consumer optimism across the globe has been dramatically impacted. Spending patterns have been strongly affected. Consumers are turning to online shopping in droves. Social media use numbers are at historic highs. Take a moment to digest radically-altered consumer habits and new world realities as you work to focus on your next steps.
Engage crisis response:
In times of calm and times of crisis, your team needs to be able to pivot to focus on the most revenue generating activities for your business and your industry. In any crisis situation, a team’s success will be determined by their ability to be agile and adaptable. Best practices will vary depending upon your industry, but no matter who your customers are and what your business sector, ongoing flexibility and thoughtful and ongoing crisis planning will keep you far ahead of your competition. What was relevant in the first week of the crisis quickly became trite, and messaging needs to be constantly adjusted as we move through it.
Manage the current situation:
Times of crisis don’t just effect your business, they affect your employees and their families, as well. Provide ample and ongoing support to your employees first and foremost, but echo that message of compassion with your customers and suppliers, as well. Utilize messaging that shows you empathize with and understand your customers. Refocusing your brand message and actions allows you to connect genuinely with others during the crisis and remain relevant despite current events.
Get ready for recovery:
As we see some states already in an opening-phase, we will see multiple industries quickly ramping up through the summer. It’s important to be ready. Evaluate strategies and rethink media plans. Never stop fighting for heightened brand awareness. Understand that crisis can mean customer loyalty has shifted. Remain creative. Demonstrate abundant acts of generosity. Communicate with all audiences through the downturn and beyond, so customers, partners and employees know and understand that you are ready for the future – whatever that may look like.
Reimagine the future:
In the face of crisis, it can be challenging to plan for the future or to predict the new normal. When emerging from a crisis situation, your company can plan, forecast and predict, but it is important to be ready to pivot again when needed. Expansive crisis situations have a dramatic impact on employee, customer and business partner behaviors and attitudes and stressful situations are well-known to cause abrupt changes in consumer psyche. When looking ahead, know that the picture won’t be totally clear, and that needs to be thoroughly understood. Don’t wait for a clear picture before you begin to plan and react….if you wait for that, it will never happen. Instead, seek insight from experts, listen carefully to your customers and tread carefully as you plan.
Marketing is more than just how well you understand your customer. Marketing has become how well you continue to be relevant to your customers, no matter what the situation. Meeting the anticipated future needs of your customers will help you stand out from the competition and survive crisis situations. Lifestyle disruptions such as a pandemic or other crisis sometimes do cause customers to examine buying habits and brand loyalty. In fact, people are more likely to try new brands after major life events.
Will your business be ready to address that shift as our world comes out of a crisis? Is your messaging ready to address key concerns and ongoing opportunities? Wild Coffee Marketing can help. Contact us today to learn more. At Wild Coffee Marketing, we love helping companies grow better.