When things are going well, it’s easy for businesses to be generous with their time, resources, patience, and general good will. It’s easy to be confident, bold, and forward thinking. But when times get rough or uncertain, many brands simply retreat, begin to focus inwardly, and hunker down, fearful of the future and what it may (or may not) hold.
Suddenly, all that free-flowing blog and website content, how-to information, social media posts and contests, product videos, and a range of other “extras” your brand’s raving fans have come to expect from you simply dry up. Worse yet, your core products or services disappear, or their availability is severely curtailed, leaving your most ardent supporters to fend for themselves, often when they need you most.
In personal relationships, this is called being a “fair-weather friend.” In business terms, I call it being a fair-weather brand.
ARE YOU A FAIR-WEATHER BRAND?
It’s not hyperbole to say that 2020 has been a rough year, both personally and professionally. What started out with such promise was a dealt a serious blow when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, followed by closures, a global economic downturn, and social unrest.
Of course, if we’re being truly honest, no individuals or businesses should be faulted for reacting to these events from a place of fear and pessimism—at least to begin with. It was only natural.
After the initial shock, however, brands needed to shift gears quickly to evaluate the marketplace and the evolving needs of their customers to determine how they could continue to satisfy those needs both short-term and long-term.
- What needed to change?
- What could stay the same?
- What were the short-term and long-term implications of taking action (or not taking action) . . . and was it economically feasible or practical?
BE A BRAND CUSTOMERS CAN DEPEND ON
With personal relationships, you want friends you can depend on. You’re there for them; they should be there for you. Brands are no different. Your customers depend on you in good times—they should be able to depend on you when times are tough.
Faced with uncertain times, rather than retreat, successful marketers and business leaders should consider new, either permanent or temporary ways of doing business or altering their offerings.
- What are you doing as a business to ensure your brand continues to show up in the lives of your customers and raving fans on a regular basis in both good times and bad? Think communications, messaging, public outreach, and market presence; think your website, blog, social media, and digital marketing.
- Can you adjust pricing to reflect current economic realities without compromising your bottom line, demonstrating to customers that you are a willing and able business partner, sensitive to their needs, and not tone deaf? Hint: yes you can, especially if you focus more on long-term success rather than short-term gains.
- Can you expand or pivot product or service offerings, delivering what your customers need from you now, compared to what they may have needed from you only months ago? Regardless of the situation, companies that are nimble and able to adapt to changes in the marketplace (while remaining consistent to their brand promise), are set up best to succeed.
- Is there an entirely new niche, consistent with your brand promise, that you can occupy either in the minds of your current target audience or a potential new audience? Think about all those companies that stepped up to re-purpose their manufacturing and production efforts to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. For some the switch was temporary; for others, the switch represented new opportunities.
BRAND LOYALTY WORKS BOTH WAYS
You’ve always expected your customers to be loyal; they should expect no less from you.
Granted, times are tough right now for a lot of individuals and businesses. But rather than retreat until the economic picture seems less bleak, brands should be doing all they can to demonstrate that they are resilient and “in it to win it” by forging long-term relationships with their loyal customers.
How to Fail at Marketing – There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Market Your Brand
(Can you decide which this is?)
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
Barrel O’Monkeyz has decades of branding, brand storytelling, strategizing, and messaging expertise to share. We remain committed to putting our team to work for you. If you are struggling with questions about your brand and how to keep your business afloat, give us a call to discuss strategies and potential services, plus how we’ve reduced our service pricing to help businesses stay on their feet! Contact us today.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
Your Brand & COVID-19: Should You Stay the Course or Pivot?
Harvard Business Review: How Businesses Have Successfully Pivoted During the Pandemic
USA Today: Companies That Are Helping Americans Fight COVID-19
Don’t Let Analysis-Paralysis Stop You in Your Tracks