The full impact of coronavirus on businesses will not become obvious until sometime in the next few months and beyond. From tourism and travel bans, to hospitality and retail shutdowns – every business is feeling the effects. Here are four things to consider.

Your customer is (still) king

Consumer behaviour is always changing – but this crisis is having an immediate impact on purchasing habits. Understanding what this looks like for your business over the next six months, is your key to survival. By understanding how the economic downturn will affect your customers, pivot your offering to ensure your business can continue to trade:

  • Develop new ways of working with your customers such as online/video/phone conferencing, webinars or online consultations
  • Offer no-contact delivery services
  • Improve your website to include new or expanded e-commerce solutions.

Revisit your messaging

While your core product or service offering may not change in a crisis, your messaging may need to change to enhance your value proposition.

Try and reframe your brand story in a way that is relevant to the current climate.

Using their own platforms and marketing teams, Coca-Cola and McDonalds are among the many companies that have debuted brand campaigns urging people to abide by official recommendations surrounding COVID-19.

Coca-Cola

This week in Times Square, Coca-Cola ran an ad urging people to practice social distancing. On a red background featuring the Coca-Cola logo with wide-spaced letters, the ad simply reads, “Staying apart is the best way to stay united.”

Protect brand loyalty and trust

The two foundations of customer loyalty, trust and confidence, are being put to the test. While we all hope this is a temporary situation, anxiety is high, and people are scared.

This global crisis is truly about customer moments that matter. By putting your customers’ interests first, this can be a time for your brand to lead. Even though you may be taking a hit to your bottom line, putting flexible refund, pricing, and change policies in place, and finding other ways to help your customers through this crisis will be beneficial to the long-term health of your company.

Here are some suggestions to help you manage your customers during the current situation:

  • Be true to your brand purpose
  • Communicate to your customers about changes to your business such as reduced trading hours or limited services
  • Create or improve loyalty programs
  • Offer education or training programs online.

Engage and innovate

Use this time to work on the business rather than in the business. Take advantage of the slow down and use this time to create, experiment, engage and innovate where possible. This is a time for you to look ahead to the future:

  • Revamp systems and processes for increased productivity when the crisis ends
  • Revisit your marketing and advertising
  • Focus on product innovation.

For example, a number of distilleries around Australia are now making hand sanitiser, including Wise Wine, Bundaberg Rum and Archie Rose.

Archie Rose founder Will Edwards said on the company’s website, like all businesses, Archie Rose is “facing some incredibly difficult times”.

“We’re in a unique position to manufacture this essential product – with the required federal licences, dangerous goods approvals, access to raw materials and expertise – and so we’re now making hand sanitiser our production focus,” he said.

Wise-Wine

Luxury beauty brands such as Saint Laurant are making surgical grade masks and Spanish owned Zara will make medical supplies such as gowns to assist in the crisis.

Brands that can survive this crisis will come out stronger, will have less competition, and potentially a more loyal customer base. They may even find a new purpose.

Source: Forbes

 

 

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