Below are a few steps that can be taken to help to build brand strength throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
COVID-19 has forced many small businesses to significantly change their operations and offerings to adapt to social distancing guidelines and consistently evolving stay at home orders. However, it is essential for brands to remain true to their core mission and business values, no matter the extent of their adaptations, to continue meeting consumer needs during these challenging times.
Although COVID-19 has assuredly brought about many challenges and changes, it has also provided businesses with the opportunity to serve their customers in different ways that remain aligned with company values. Below are a few ways businesses of any size can maintain their core brand throughout the pandemic and long after.
Revisit Your Mission
When the economy or general operations enter difficult times such as these, it is easy to lose focus of the tasks that are critical to the overall mission of the business. Alongside losing sight of the business mission, the core values can begin to fade as well. Despite the consistent changes in “how” companies can run during the pandemic, it remains essential to keep the mission at the forefront of business operations. As businesses struggle to maintain financially, it can be tempting (and easy) to forget the” why” and put total focus into driving as much revenue as possible in the short-term. Unfortunately, while this might make sense, it can also alienate the customer base that has helped build the business, thus having the opposite effect on revenue. To help recenter and reaffirm the business mission, consider how it can service customers now, in a unique way, even if short-term revenue might be marginally compromised.
Communicate with Employees
Employees of any business, regardless of size, industry, or format, have valuable insight into the business’s day-to-day operations and the needs of its customers. So, while developing a plan for the brand, whether at the organization level or by utilizing the assistance of a marketing and branding professional like Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage, Alaska, be sure to include employees in the planning process. It is important to ask employees about their thoughts on how the company can continue to stick to their values. As employees are those on the front lines, they are likely to have a unique perspective.
Consider Customer Feedback
Customers are an excellent source of information as well. They can help a business understand what they are doing right and, conversely, what they are doing wrong or count improve upon. Given the limitations on in-person contact imposed by the pandemic, directly responding to customer feedback can be challenging. This may be an excellent time to implement customer feedback options on your website or find alternate ways to solicit this much needed information. If you are curious about how to do this, consider utilizing a professional marketing service like Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage, Alaska. They have many years working in the market and can help any business incorporate customer feedback mechanisms into their current or future marketing programs.
Think Through Your Customers’ Needs
Building further on the above, it is essential to consider and evaluate customer needs during this time. The biggest mistake many brands make is centering their marketing around the business’s needs and goals, rather than those of their customers. Customers will inevitably make purchasing decisions based on the company they think is best equipped to meet their needs or help them reach their goals. By shifting the business’s focus to the customer’s needs, any business can position itself as uniquely suited to solve their customers’ problems. Business owners must also remember that these needs are likely to change and shift, especially during a pandemic. Therefore, it is important to be ready to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.
The customer-brand relationship can not successfully exist without trust. Right now, in the current state of business operations, this means communicating actively to customers any changes that a business may be making to adapt to the pandemic. Examples of this may include communicating about health and safety precautions or pricing information about how remote or flexible work schedules may impact business hours or service availability. Showing current and future customers how the brand is adapting to changing times will resonate with the consumer especially considering what everyone has been and continued to go through during the pandemic.
Ask for Help
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an ongoing challenge for many businesses. It is essential to remember that it is not necessary to face these challenges alone. It is ok to ask for support, check in with members of the business team, and remain open to fluctuations and change. If business leaders implement this from the top down, it can help to influence the mindset of others in the organization.
Building a resilient brand begins with establishing a resilient culture within the organization. Leaders must lead by example by keeping communication lines open within the business and encouraging feedback from both employees and consumers, by working with employees to adapt in the face of change and the new challenges associated with COVID-19. Also, through collaboration, a business can expand their pool of ideas and bolster its brand’s strength.
It is also beneficial to the brand to remember to help others in the market, if possible. If a business is able, it can help the reputation of the brand to actively seek out ways to help the community in which they operate. In addition to enhanced brand visibility and building mutually beneficial relationships, your customers will also appreciate the kindness, generosity, and humanity displayed by the business.
Stay True to The Business Brand and Identity
While it is important to help customers as best as possible, it is necessary to ensure it is done in a way that makes sense for the brand. Current customers know and understand what the business and brand are all about.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to solve all customers’ problems or meet all customers’ needs. The best any business can do is to show up with solutions to the problems they have for which the business can authentically provide guidance, support, and services.
The struggle to maintain brand strength during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges to many businesses. These difficulties are only enhanced by the pandemic’s duration and the ongoing challenges faced by many consumers. Maintaining brand identity will require businesses to remain flexible to ongoing changes in the market and finding new ways to get their brand message out to consumers. The ability to do this successfully with the proper voice can be difficult. Let Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage, Alaska help make the process easy. Contact us today to talk about how our web site marketing and social media packages can help build brand identity.