How to Make the New Normal a Better Normal
There is no question that the 2020 pandemic has caused significant interruption in our economy. But businesses can do a few things right now to minimize, not only the effects on today’s revenue, but on building revenue when things return to normal.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
Let’s deal with the hardest challenge first: How do you invest anything when revenue is, at best, uncertain and, at worst, non-existent? Answer? Be the entrepreneur that caused your business to exist in the first place. Yes, you are going to need to be creative. It may mean shuffling your staff around…or killing one campaign to fund another…or betting on the come with some 2021 budget dollars. This is no time to shelter down (pun intended) your entire business. Think back to when you weren’t so risk averse…when you found the money and took chances on you and your company. It’s time to get in that mindset again.
Our own agency has, literally, chosen to invest in our brand by adding to our new business staff. We’ve recently hired Tina Marie Smith as our Vice President of Business Relations. We chose to grow our new business efforts with Tina because of her vast experience working with clients to get their brands in front of new audiences by expanding their brand experiences in unexpected ways. We know it’s cliché, but investing in people is our entrepreneurial advantage.
DO NOT ABANDON YOUR COMMUNITY
At some point in the future, we are going to come out of this pandemic. But right now, while we’re in the middle of it, very few of us sit at the top of our customers’ minds. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be an essential business. But even that doesn’t grant you magical powers.
As each day ticks off the pandemic calendar, our stress levels rise and, frankly, interest in brands and companies are not always a priority. So, what do you do? You need to find disruptive ways to connect to your audience with no expectation of revenue. Take this time to survey your audiences about your products or services. Use social media to share stories and experiences about how you are dealing with the challenges of the pandemic…stories about adapting to remote working, new technologies that keeps your company running, or how you inspire creativity and innovation.
These stories make your organization more human and accomplish three important things:
- They keep your existing audience in touch with your brand.
- They strengthen and condition your audience to be more receptive to branded content and opportunities.
- It pushes stories out into the multiverse that help build stronger relationships and a brand presence you can bank on when all of this is all over.
What is Sagon-Phior doing to strengthen our community?
First, it’s important to understand we have worked remotely for decades. Yes, we fully staff our Westside office…but we have always had remote teams of developers, marketing and PR strategists, researchers, writers, and designers on both coasts and locations in between. Since March of this year, from anywhere they’ve asked, we’ve offered free, no-strings-attached, strategic planning to anyone that’s asked for help. We provide options and ideas to help keep these businesses in our community moving in a positive direction. We felt then, as we do now, that we are all in this together and when we come out of this, we will all be stronger if we stick together along the way.
DO NOT MAKE YOUR CUSTOMERS HANDLE ANY MORE CHANGE
There’s a reason Sagon-Phior has stayed busy during the pandemic: We help our clients understand that they have a primary goal of never requiring their customers to adapt to their brand. Through research, data science, emotional marketing, and a keen understanding of the power of storytelling (remember…we got our start in the movies), we make brands deeply understand, relate to, and adapt to their customers.
In times like these, when your audience is going through dramatic changes on what seems like a daily basis, making them overcome a single obstacle or jump through yet another hoop pushes them further away. It alienates them and tells them you simply don’t understand their needs.
So, what does this functionally look like?
- Take the time to understand how your audience is feeling during the pandemic and acknowledge it in your messaging and content.
- Seek out meaningful insights, data, and information that will help define the customer journey.
- Find and emphasize new revenue streams to give them more choices and options.
- Make it easier to find you and your goods and services online. Your customers are spending more and more time online. Increase your paid social budgets, put more additional time into your SEO efforts, and increase your organic social media to stay in front of your customers (social media sites are seeing between 5% and 30% daily increases in additional usage).
This pandemic is not going to be leaving us anytime soon…so stop trying to ride it out or pretend your customer base will just magically be there when it’s all over. It takes understanding the emotional nuances of your audiences’ behaviors, never – not for one second – taking them for granted, and investing in both them and you to get through it. Otherwise, you’re going to look back with perfect 2020 vision (again, pun intended) and realize you could have done so much more.
Los Angeles based Sagon-Phior, a full service marketing and branding agency, utilizing emotional branding to build better relationships between a brand and an audience. Emotional branding enables more effective ways to increase brand awareness, loyalty and sales while revealing insights to better understand important, often unseen, patterns of consumer behavior.