During these times of crisis, committing to the development of a strategic roadmap is one way to ease the fear and regain a sense of control over your business and your brand. Begin with assessing the long-term implications and opportunities to refresh or reimagine the future of your business.
Diving into Data:
Analyzing the data and understanding your business situation is the first step. Within each revenue stream, it is important to ask the following questions: What changes are occurring? How has the picture evolved from week to week? And where are the opportunities for quick wins that can drive immediate revenue?
When analyzing the answers, try to stay focused on the key drivers for success. Swift and nimble is an operational mandate in a crisis.
Given the long-term nature of COVID-19 and the substantial hit to the economy, businesses and individuals, it’s vital to assess both business and brand as the "new normal" begins to set in. New cultural trends, consumer behaviors, habits and emotions should play into analyzing the foundation of the business -- be it business models or brand positioning.
Creating Compelling (and Non-Selling) Content:
In many cases, selling may not be appropriate today, and pivots from planned programs are likely necessary.
And if you can’t sell yourself right now, you still have to know yourself -- and be sure existing and future customers know you. A strong brand purpose and voice will allow brands to remain relevant and maintain the high degree of authenticity that’s expected today.
Creating a thoughtful message continuum that’s on-brand, but highly nuanced for appropriateness as the stages unfold (response, recovery, rebuild), will also reassure leadership, empower your brand managers and be comforting to customers and fans.
Deployment of nuanced messaging across media channels is critical. While leaning heavily on owned and earned channels is important in the early stages of response, scenario planning is about the development of options as consumer behaviors change.
Still, there is plenty of new consumer data that says brands can and should continue to advertise. In fact, according to Kantar’s COVID-19 Barometer, only 8% of individuals believe companies should stop advertising.
As explored in Kantar’s study, what the data says about creative is good news for brands: it doesn’t need to be new.
Understanding how existing assets can be recast or repurposed to deliver relevant messaging in meaningful ways is an important factor in any response and recovery roadmap. And believe this: Communicating solely based on brand purpose or essence (with the hard sell removed from the equation) can be both liberating and inspiring.
Getting Back to Business:
Once this pandemic has passed, it will be important to understand how it has affected your business. What’s working, and what’s not working? What sentiments, attributes or characteristics for your brand now rise to the top? What new sentiment may have emerged, based on your crisis response? How does this impact the core value proposition and positioning?
If the business and brand fared well, the path forward may be a refresh or an evolution. Or, there may be a need for more significant change, a reimagining of the business or brand, to effectively rebuild and sustain growth.
In addition to strong strategic planning, this is a time that calls for creativity and open-minded collaboration, for businesses to embrace the changing needs, wants and emotions of their target audiences, and and connect with customers in positive, meaningful ways. That’s how to build future success.