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April 9th 2020
These are strange times for any business. But despite the lockdown and the economy grinding to a halt, there’s plenty you could – indeed should – be doing to put your business in the best position possible for when we’re all up and running again.
History can tell us a lot about how businesses should react in times like these. Invariably, those that ‘go dark’ and do nothing during any sort of downturn suffer when it comes around to the upturn; regaining their market position and share (and share of voice) is harder, and more costly.
Research from Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, as part of their COVID Barometer Research showed that right now, people most want brands to help them.
This included talking about how a brand can be helpful in the new everyday (77%); keeping them informed about the brand’s reaction to the new situation (75%); and offering a reassuring tone (70%).
Take a look at advertising from any of the big supermarkets, utility brands or financial institutions, and you’ll see those strategies in action. Now is a good time to get those messages out there too. Only 8% of people expect companies to cut their advertising, so it won’t be seen as insensitive; moreover, the pandemic has changed media consumption enormously, with a 70% increase in web browsing, 63% increase in TV viewing and 61% increase in social media usage.
With the right tone, you can push your brand using a regular programme of online content covering anything from updates on how you’re managing in lockdown, to specialist webinars or white papers, so you stay engaged with your existing and potential clients. Now is a great time to position yourself as a thought leader in your market sector.
But that’s not all. This has turned into a rare opportunity when the foot’s been taken off the gas, and your business isn’t facing the usual time pressures. So use it wisely by getting your database in order. Typically, you should be cleansing your database every 12 months or so, but now you have the chance to invest some time categorising customers more effectively – you’ll find it pays dividends when things start getting back to normal. Also, use this time to assess your website content. Is everything up to date? Look at your competitors. What do you think you could be doing better? How regularly do you add content to your website? Do you know how your website is performing when it comes to online search? If not, find out.
Finally, it’s also a good time to prepare your staff for the upturn when it comes. Even if you’ve had to put them on furlough, they can still spend their time training and developing their skills in readiness.
As you’ve probably gathered, there are plenty of ways you can look at giving your business an advantage even in these unusual times. Just make sure you use the time you’ve been unexpectedly given wisely.