We’re all in this together.
That’s what we’re supposed to say these days, right? But if you will, allow us to make a small adjustment to that statement.
Each and every one of us is in this.
Our current period of economic—and global—uncertainty is going to affect every person, every business and every industry differently. Both during and after this crisis, people and companies will have varying reasons for buying or not buying, different challenges to face with their budgets and differing views on the future. Things are just going to be…different from here on out.
But one thing will remain constant and prove itself to be more important than ever before:
“Testing the waters,” “dipping a toe” and “giving it a shot” aren’t phrases that will play anymore. Belief that inspires confidence in decisions will be a prerequisite. In short, trust is now a necessity. And it’s our responsibility as marketers to create it.
If your brand can demonstrate more value to customers—outside of a traditional sales pitch—it’s going to endear you to them long after this period ends. With diminished resources, they’ll need to believe that you’re counseling them to invest in programs that will truly benefit them and their business. They’ll ask you to prove to them that your interest lies in their success, not just in your own. With initiatives on hold, your focus might need to shift from converting transactions to strengthening relationships. And without knowing what the new normal will look like, you’ll have to be prepared to serve evolved preferences with evolved value propositions.
To think that there’s a blanket solution to accomplishing all of the above is even more foolish than it was before the age of coronavirus. But the thing we should all be repeating to ourselves over and over right now is this: The worst course of action is inaction. Failing to get to work on these problems now means failing to succeed later. We might not be selling, but we need to be working.
So…what should we be doing?
Take stock of your brand.
Does it currently contain a voice and tone that convey empathy and altruism? Is your value proposition going to remain relevant to the changing needs of customers? If not, what are you doing about it?
Communicate with your customers.
What are they seeing in their respective industries? How is it affecting sales cycles? Which critical “moments” are you missing with them right now and how could those be recreated elsewhere? What are you doing to be a partner rather than a vendor?
Evaluate your priorities.
What were your top three goals two months ago? What are they today? What needs to change in response to the way your goals have changed? What action is being taken?
Review (and protect) your budget.
How have revenue changes affected your allocation? Where are you cutting dollars, and where are they going. What could you responsibly redirect those dollars toward with the above initiatives in mind? What are the top-priority tactics to preserve?
Consider your team.
Can responsibilities be temporarily rebalanced based on individual capacity? Does everyone have a voice and the ability to suggest ways to succeed? As with your brand, are you creating a culture of empathy and support? How are you communicating this to everyone?
Sounds like a lot of work, especially since none of it involves, you know, ACTUALLY PUTTING ANYTHING IN MARKET, but right now is a time to do what needs done instead of pretending nothing has changed. Because everything has changed, almost overnight. But it’s how we build trust in times of change that will dictate our success in the new normal.
So let’s get to work.
Interested in a deeper conversation on how to strengthen relationships amid uncertainty? Reach out to us.
With initiatives on hold, your focus might need to shift from converting transactions to strengthening relationships.
About the Author
A creative leader at 90octane, Patrick helps frame the message for enterprise brands at all levels of communication, believing the importance of style is equal to that of substance. He dresses just ok, though.