Change is unavoidable. Life is full of surprises, both positive and negative. What you can control is how you respond.
Adapting to sudden shifts is an essential part of not just thriving as a business, but surviving. And that’s never been more important.
As businesses are forced to adapt to a position they’ve never before been in, the situation raises countless questions about the right actions to take. And with recent changes being so sudden, these actions need to be taken seriously— and immediately.
“Remember: your brand may very well be forever defined by how you act and what you say in the coming months.”
While the future still seems uncertain and a little scary, the good news is that there are some crucial measures every business can (and should) take to ensure they’re responding appropriately to the current situation and building resilience.
Whether you’re dealing with financial uncertainty, a loss of ability to deliver your product or service, or a drastic drop-off in sales or engagement, there are five universal aspects that no business should compromise on. Let’s get into it.
1. Essential Services
It’s pretty likely that you’ve had to make some changes to your business expenses, and marketing services may well be some of the first things you had to reassess.
There will no doubt be some things you won’t be able to afford to keep on. But some you really can’t afford to lose.
We can’t give you a list of essential marketing services, because these are entirely dependent on your business. It’s about individuality.
“Pushing against change is futile. Rather than resisting, work to accommodate and flow with it.”
For instance, a fashion eCommerce company could see a massive dropoff in sales if they were to cancel social media advertising. An emergency electrician may rely on search engine optimisation more than ever to allow new customers to find them through organic search. Social media management might be essential to an online business coach who relies on their following to generate more leads during this unique time.
To assess which marketing services are essential for your business, speak to your marketing manager or agency. They’ll be able to assess what’s going to give you the best return on investment, and which services might be best to put on the back burner until the world returns to some sense of normalcy.
You can also read our recent blog post for more recommendations.
2. External Communications
We probably don’t need to tell you this, but exercising some sensitivity in how you communicate is crucial.
Your audience is more critical now than ever. You really can’t afford to commit any faux pas.
If you have a social media presence, then the way you behave on there needs to be absolutely solid. The same advice applies to the emails you send your customers and clients and the information on your website.
Remember: your brand may very well be forever defined by how you act and what you say in the coming months.
Conduct a thorough audit of all your communications, making sure to double-check everything from email subject lines to social media hashtags. Don’t just nix anything inappropriate. Try to keep your tone optimistic and focused on solutions. This isn’t a time for pessimism any more than it is a time for ignorance.
3. Your Unique Offering
Businesses are struggling, but that doesn’t mean neglecting the customer. As their demand, needs, and behaviours change, so too should your offering pivot to meet them where they currently are.
Pushing against change is futile. Rather than resisting, work to accommodate and flow with it.
A great start is considering how you can leverage technology. Countless brands have pivoted their service to an online model. Just think of all the fitness studios who are now offering streamed home workout classes. Can you engage people online through digital products, webinars, or home-delivered goods?
“We’d all benefit from a little normalcy in our lives right now.”
It’s worth noting that this is your chance to be responsive, but never opportunistic. Don’t think of how you can take advantage of others’ misfortune. Instead, ask yourself: what does the customer need? How can my business help?
For instance, some fashion brands are using their fabric scraps to create masks to donate to healthcare providers. Influencers are leveraging their platform to spread awareness and worthy causes (such as supplying meals for hospital staff) to their large following. Other brands are collaborating to bundle their services rather than competing.
There’s surely something you can use or do to help out. The world needs all the help it can get.
4. Brand Image
It’s always important to keep your brand image in check, but now is your moment to bust out the fine-toothed comb and really scrutinise how you’re presenting yourself.
We always like to encourage people to think of their brand as a person. Do the way that person speaks, dresses, and acts seem inappropriate considering the current situation? Are they being ignorant of what’s going on in the world?
“You really can’t afford to commit any faux pas.”
That doesn’t have to mean adopting a sombre, austere persona. To use a practical example, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with your usual bright, cheery brand colours and fonts. But you should probably reconsider the appropriateness of certain imagery or language.
Photos of people high-fiving? Sharing a blog post on the best local winery tours? Making lighthearted jokes about that dreadful morning commute when most people are working from home, and countless others have lost their jobs? Probably not the best move.
As always, you should still be acting and speaking from your brand’s unique persona— no need to make your website look like a public service announcement. It’s what your audience expects and, most importantly, will appreciate. We’d all benefit from a little normalcy in our lives right now.
5. Customer Service
Your clients and customers are your priority— so make sure they know it.
Anxiety may be at an all-time high across the board, but people are actually more likely to be understanding during what is a stressful season for businesses. While customer expectations may be more considerate than ever, you still need to make sure that your audience feels acknowledged and appreciated.
This can be as simple as maintaining touchpoints to keep customers in the loop. Put a notice on your website to alert customers of the long wait before your next restock. Send out an email informing them of a longer than expected delivery date. Be candid about your ability to respond to enquiries during a period when you may have a higher workload, limited resources, and even reduced staff.
Don’t hesitate to share how you’re (positively) responding to and dealing with the situation. Remember, we’re all in this together, and maintaining hope is vital.