More than a year ago, when WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Then, countries in South-East Asia Region were either responding to their first cases of the infection or keeping vigilant by restricting cross-border movements. Later on, vaccination and better healthcare management, in general, allowed many countries to open their economies gradually. However, the Delta variant posing a threat for cases to rise has pushed back countries to rethink their strategies. 

The pandemic has deeply impacted small business owners and, on a larger scale, the economy. With online purchases keeping businesses afloat, those who have not optimised their online presence lost several opportunities. So while the pandemic may have forced your business to turn around, you need to stay true to your mission and values, no matter how much you need to pivot. Here are some tips on how to keep your brand relevant during this crisis.

“While the pandemic may have forced your business to turn around, it’s important for brands to stay true to their mission and values, no matter how much they need to pivot.”

Revisit your brand mission

As might be expected, your focus for the past year is to observe business continuity where you have to weigh in cutting costs, driving productivity, and implementing safety measures altogether. But, unfortunately, doing this might made you feel disconnected from your very core as a business. Hence, this is the right opportunity for you to proactively and authentically serve your customers in a way that aligns with your company values. To help you reconsider your mission, revisit your ‘why’ to uniquely suit your customers right now, even if it doesn’t generate revenue in the short term. Then, customers will see your brand’s relevance to the current state over the long haul, and steady revenue and growth will follow.

“Revisit your ‘why’ to uniquely serve your customers right now, even if it doesn’t generate revenue in the short term.”

Improve your marketing strategy

Marketing can help to increase your brand profile, helping to push your business ahead of those who have reduced, or altogether ceased, their marketing activities during difficult times. Centre your marketing around your customers because most of the brands often focus on themselves. However, your business is not static, and your marketing strategy should not be either. Reflect on your previous strategy and plan, and evaluate what worked and what’s not.

By shifting your focus to the customer’s needs, you can position yourself as uniquely suited to solve their problems. Remember that these needs are likely to turn and change, so be ready to adjust your strategy accordingly. Your ability to adapt rapidly is invaluable. Your initial approach may not be the final one, and your go-to-market strategy will need to be adjusted based on how the situation develops.

Customers will remember brands for their genuine acts of kindness in difficult times, so stay true to your brand values, but adapt to the changing circumstances and spread positivity.

Build an engaged community

One of the essential practices to make your business stand out from the competition is engaging with your customers and the wider community. Innovating through the crisis to stay close to your customer community makes your brand exciting and stands out from the crowd. So how do businesses build this engagement? First, you have to create that closeness with your customers. Then, connect with customers through meaningful conversations, for example, inviting them to put their voice on your brand activities.

There’s no way we can pivot so effectively without that loyal and engaged customer community who trust and believe in our brand. When building that loyal customer base, it is essential to know how your customers have changed and why your brand matters to them this time. This way, whatever marketing activities you conduct, your customers know that they’re genuinely part of your brand.

“This way, whatever marketing activities you conduct, your customers know that they’re genuinely part of your brand.”

Innovation is more critical than ever

Many companies are deprioritising innovation to concentrate on operations. However, many brand owners firmly believe that they will return to innovation-related initiatives once the world has stabilised, the core business is secure, and the path forward is more apparent.

However, we believe that particularly in times of crisis, urgent actions of innovation can be taken, including:

  • Proactively adapt to meet the shifting needs of your customer
  • Identify new opportunities that are being created by the changing landscape (refer to this article to help you identify opportunities in the market)
  • Review and reevaluate your innovation initiative portfolio and ensure to have resources to support appropriately
  • Build the foundation for postcrisis growth to remain competitive in the recovery period

Final Note

In the end, stay true to who you are. While you want to help your customers as best as possible, you need to do so in a way that makes sense for your brand. Jumping on trends, adopting a radically new brand voice or trying to be everything to everything can ring false for your customers.

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