Let’s be honest, there is no handbook on how to deal with the current situation.
This is a whole new world and with so much uncertainty, everyone is working hard at understanding what they should do next.
Whilst marketing is always the first thing to be switched off (we can discuss if this is the right thing to do or not another time) it is inherently the first thing to also switch back on.
So what should businesses be doing right now?
Founder and Imagineer, Scott Robinson, has developed a simple 4 step plan for businesses to follow to be ready in the wake of a return to better times.
Scott’s first tip is aimed at communication. Right now, more than ever, clear and concise communication is paramount.
“You need to tell everyone what you’re doing; Is your business open? Have you changed your trading hours? What steps are you taking to protect your staff and your customers? You can’t presume your customers and clients know what is happening in your business” says Scott.
“We’ve seen people using different suppliers because they‘ve presumed their normal suppliers are closed or incapable of supplying. Talk to your customers.”
Use of Social Media and EDM (Electronic Direct Mail or eNewsletters) is a cost-effective and simple way to get to your audience at these times. Ask your customers to spread the word too. This is the one communication you want people to be sharing right now!
Reflecting on the GFC and how certain businesses came through it better than others, Scott observes that being prepared for business post COVID-19 is another critical factor to future success.
“We live in a microsecond world. There are no prizes for second place. If you’re not ready to react when the situation changes, then you’re going to miss opportunities. The next phase of this pandemic will be about timing”.
“Being ready to push communication to your audience at the right time can’t be understated. We’ve seen the effects first hand of how big the impact can be when you get the timing right because you’re prepared and simply waiting for the right moment to release.”
Developing strategies, preparing creative and messaging, requires time. Business must be considering this before the market returns to some form of normality. Preparing sooner rather than later will provide you with the best chance of regaining market traction when things start to turn for the better.
In times like this, it’s easy to become insular and focused on our own businesses and lives. With so much pressure on business owners to make decisions about the unknown, it’s easy to get wrapped up and feel isolated.
This is why we must not forget to CARE.
“I can not stress this enough. You need to genuinely show that you care. Be authentic. This is not some bullshit piece of tokenism. If you’re not sincere, you’ll get found out very quickly. Yes, I’m talking about demonstrating that you sincerely care about your staff, your customers and your community” says Scott.
“If you can help people, then you should.”
This is a time that business should be readjusting to work on strategies to support and assist rather than on ways which they can profit from this sad situation.
Importantly, Scott also talks about taking care of yourself too.
Drawing inspiration from airline safety briefs he says, “You have to fit your mask first before you can help others. It’s no use running to someone else’s aid if you can’t survive yourself. Work out how you’re going to survive and the work out how you can assist others to do the same, without having to rip off your mask.”
With so much chaos around us, it’s easy to lose our ability to be aware of the changing dynamics of the market environment. Staying aware of the ‘moving feast’ is one point Scott has spoken about at length in his conversations with clients over the last few weeks.
“During this time there will be key triggers which will come along that you will require action. This is why you also have to be prepared. When those triggers engage, business owners have to be in a position to respond. Simply reacting won’t be enough.”
Scott adds “If you’re waiting for your competitors to provide you with those triggers…you’re too late. Know what is right for your business and understand your customers. It’s critical to have mechanisms in place to measure and understand your audience and customers. Now is the time to put these things in place if they don’t already exist.”
In a strategic sense, timing becomes such an important part of business success when moving forward. Being aware of the triggers and delivering your communication at the right time increases the success of any strategy you put in place at this time.
We all understand how difficult it is for business at this time. We are all suffering similar concerns and wondering what will happen next. In times like this, we know that communication is such an important element. It can provide calm in the uncertainty and it ensures everyone is on the same page.
We hope this helps your business in gaining clarity relative to moving forward and working through this unprecedented, paradigm shift in how we all need to operate.