Managing Your Brand in a Crisis

17th August 2020

From product failures to environmental disasters, when bad things happen, it’s vital to respond quickly in a way that ensures your brand’s survival.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of a brand crisis that affects consumer behaviour on a global scale. Net consumer optimism and income are at an all-time low, and there is a prominent pull towards a “homebody economy.”

As a crisis changes your customers’ needs, you need to adapt your brand message and communication method. The objective of these changes is to improve consumer confidence and maintain integrity without losing touch with your brand values.

These challenges may seem difficult to overcome. However, with proper strategic brand management, it is possible to unlock the opportunity that lies in difficulty. Understanding how to manage your brand in a crisis is the key, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. Let’s get started.

 

Be Adaptable

It’s not possible to direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails. Revaluating your business strategy is critical to ensure relevance and survival in a changing environment.

A crisis may reduce demand for your products and services, leaving your delivery methods outdated. However, with improvisation and resourcefulness, you can seize the opportunity that lurks within these environmental changes.

For example, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, perfumeries and gin distilleries repurposed their machinery to manufacture hand sanitiser. Belgian lingerie manufacturers started producing face masks. While you may not be able to begin producing pandemic-related products, the same principle applies to your business.

Ideally, you want to transition to a new market using the resources you already have. Analysing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) will help you determine if such a transition is necessary and if it is possible to carry out with your existing resources.

Cut Unnecessary Costs

It is critical to have a steady cash flow, even if your business doesn’t have to survive a crisis. Do a financial review and evaluate your capital and operating expenses to determine what your business doesn’t need.

Reducing expenses can be tricky, and it is not always possible to tell which expense items are necessary for your operations. In some cases, finding a way to reduce an expense will be sufficient to improve your cash flow.

For example, you can reduce printing costs by switching to an online signature service to sign contracts. Instead of paying your employees to travel, use web conference software. You should also evaluate your insurance agreements to ensure that you are getting the best possible deals.

In addition to cutting costs, you also need to funnel the money that you save to those business operations that deliver the best results. Protect your customers, suppliers, and employees’ interests, as these stakeholders are critical to the survival of your business.

Focus on Thriving in the Long Run

If there is a crisis, you can’t rely on consumer’s budgets or immediate revenue, so it is crucial to get to a place of stability as early as possible without panicking. Additionally, while it is vital to maintain healthy cash flow, don’t reduce your costs to the point where your business is no longer operational.

Many companies make the mistake of doing nothing and hoping that things will get back to normal as soon as possible. This approach is not feasible in the long run. Instead, focus on innovation and controlling what you can. Mobilise all the resources you have and stay lean.

By taking calculated action and doing what it takes to generate new revenue streams, you may not start making income within a week or two, but you will have a strong business when the crisis passes.

Connect with Your Customers

Maintaining a relationship with new and existing customers throughout the crisis is an integral part of long-term survival. Formulate a communication strategy that allows for precise and consistent communication with your customers.

Your message should be informative and communicate to your target audience the value of your brand while acknowledging the current situation. The objective of your connection is not only to establish or maintain relationships but also to show consumers how your brand can meet their needs. Let them know how the crisis affects your business hours and your delivery methods.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most communication with customers happens online. Update your website and social media platforms to show that you are in touch with the situation and sensitive to your customers’ problems and fears.

Communicate with Your Team

Internal communication is just as important as communication with your customers. Regular contact with your team will ensure their confidence in your company and optimal performance. If your team works from home, schedule frequent conference calls to stay up to date on any problems they experience and to give them all the information they need to do their work.

Continue Marketing Efforts

Surviving a crisis such as COVID-19 requires continuous efforts to market your innovations, services, or products. The marketing channels you used before the crisis may no longer be effective, especially if you incorporate new revenue streams. Research the best marketing platforms to reach your audience through new avenues.

Use the time you have available to develop new buyer personas and marketing funnels. You should also create relevant and high-value online content to set yourself apart as an authority in your niche. While all your competitors are trying to survive, focus on search engine optimisation, and improving customer experience.

Continuous Monitoring  

Managing your brand in a crisis requires effective strategy formulation and implementation. However, you have to continuously monitor the state of the situation and your company to ensure that you mobilise your resources towards ensuring long-term stability and survival.

Keep monitoring your communication pathways and marketing efforts, and keep setting realistic goals to ensure progress throughout the crisis.

 

And finally…    

No crisis lasts forever, but they do result in lasting changes. With proper management, you can position your brand to be relevant and profitable even during uncertain times.

If you want to talk about how we can help you bring clarity to your brand and drive business growth, contact me on 01473 217993 or [email protected]

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