Strategies to help your business navigate the challenges of Covid-19.
UNPRECEDENTED TIMES CALL FOR UNPRECEDENTED COMMUNICATIONS. HERE’S OUR FRAMEWORK SO YOUR BUSINESS CAN STAND OUT FROM THE COMPETITION AND RIDE THE WAVE THAT IS COVID-19.
The world has come to a standstill due to the virus pandemic and life as we know it has changed. From social distancing to working from home, we have all had to adopt a new way to work through it.
As a business owner, you’re likely looking for ways to survive in a new era that has the globe shifting their budgets.
Your brand communications have never been so important. How you interact with customers now, will shape your future success. IMS has developed a communications strategy framework to enable companies to navigate this crisis, to realign communications and emerge from this stronger and ready for growth.
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We’re in limbo. We have no past experience of any such occurrence. We are frantically searching the web for guidance and a response strategy to tell us how to respond.
What should we say to customers, when should we say it and how should we say it?
- Keep talking – As HBR points out, companies that continue to communicate and maintain brand presence during recessionary times recover quicker and reported boosted financial performance throughout the year following the downturn.
- You don’t need to sell in this phase but rather support. Offer advice, information, free downloads and anything that might help your customers and be of value to them.
- Companies that keep communicating and maintain their brand presence are perceived as resilient and demonstrate leadership. Be a leader.
- Tone is important. Ensure all communications is non-commercial, considerate and speaks positively of the future.
Many Irish companies have completely reinvented how they do business as a result of Covid19. We’ve seen Gin producers switching manufacturing capabilities to hand sanitiser gels, clothing manufacturers are now designing and developing PPE and medical component manufactures are ramping up production 100-fold. We’re a resilient bunch and aren’t afraid to try new things and help in whatever way we can. If you’re fortunate enough to be a company owner that has reinvented a business, you’ve possibly opened up a whole new market and customer base.
- You will need to relook at your route to market and how you can efficiently and efficiently bring your new capabilities to a wider audience at home and abroad.
- Communications needs to reflect your newly developed expertise.
- Whether or not you’ve reinvented your business, its important you recognise that many of your existing customers have. Their business models will have changed and possibly their demands too. The reality is this shift may be their new normal, post Covid-19. How do you fit into that?
- Have everything ready to go. We may be back to business as usual much faster than we think, the fact is no one really knows. Its important we have all communications, messaging and assets in place so we can hit the ground running. Its not conceivable that pre-crisis messaging will remain appropriate, so make a plan and consider this early on.
It’s likely that the removal of lockdown will see some short term increases in demand. This may be good for short term results, but we need to consider the new normal may not be so demanding.
- It’s important to recognise that this form of rebound could come quickly so it’s vital to be prepared. Have your messaging and assets ready to go.
- Think about the competition. Your organisation may be significantly more resilient than others in your sector. Your competitor landscape may be very different as a result of the pandemic and potential customers may be in search of new suppliers.
- Other competitors may offer your customers more cost-effective introductory offers so it’s important to put in place measures to retain your existing client base.
- Consider focusing your messaging and offers on support, as a way to help your customers recover.
Nobody knows the full economic impact Covid-19 will have long term. Whether there will be a global economic recession or not, it’s likely we’ll be in this Amend stage for a number of months. Coping with fragile demand and new business requirements will impact how we operate.
- Gradual recovery is a more likely scenario than ‘back with a bang.
- Your message and value proposition during this phase are critically important. Your customers’ expectations will be ever increasing and holding onto them will be key.
- Really exploring how you can support customers businesses and developing this into a compelling value proposition will help you stand out from the crowd. Communicate how you can support their business efficiently and productively and centre your communications around demand messaging.
- Communicate your resilience. As a business and as a team. People buy from people, not bricks and mortar. Tell your recovery story and your future plans. Show you’re an ambitious leader.
- If your customers have lost market share, explore new ways and areas in which you can help them. Amend your business model and let people know.
“A colleague and mentor of mine recommended a podcast to me recently called ‘Better than Before’. It’s about an athlete who had a serious injury and could no longer train or compete. During this downtime he focused on developing other skills relevant to his sport so he would return “Better than Before. The moral is that when things are outside of your control, look at the things you can control which can make a difference? If you’d like some additional information or general advice on where to go next with your communications strategy during this time, I’m happy to have a call or online discussion. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or LinkedIn
Stay safe and remember this is only a phase.|
Karagh Kelly, Commercial Director