COVID-19 has required unparalleled business agility. Businesses have had to navigate the knowns, unknowns and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. They’ve had to adjust marketing plans to ensure appropriate, timely and empathetic communications and solutions – external and internal.
These short-term changes are only the beginning of what will be required of brands to thrive post-COVID-19. The impacts of the pandemic are far from over. Though many businesses are moving from initial response into the resiliency phase, things will not look the same on the other end of this crisis. Communications will not look the same.
Thriving in this new era of brand engagement and purpose will require reinvention.
New, value-based narratives
For brands that didn’t already have a purpose-driven narrative, now is the time to revisit your story and messaging, infusing both with values that your customers can relate to. It’s not enough to market your product and its functionality. Communications will help you win by focusing on why it matters.
What you sell must fundamentally mean something to the people you want to buy it. It must show empathy and relevance to their life and the greater world. It must be emotive.
Think about what your customers want to hear, not what you want them to hear – and certainly not what you want them to buy.
Many brands were quick to create and make resources available to their communities and beyond – virtual museum tours, streaming video workout classes, Facebook Live concerts. The list goes on in what has been an incredible rally by organizations and individuals to provide enriching and helpful solutions.
There will be longer-term opportunities to reinvent business offerings with new functionality and launch entirely new tools. This crisis has undoubtedly uncovered gaps and weaknesses in business continuity plans, ability to communicate with employees, moving paper-based and in-person (meetings, events, tasks, etc.) to digital and more.
New engagement channels
A crisis of this magnitude ushers in two things – permanent behavioral change and a new wave of innovation to address that change. Digital events, experiences and engagement will thrive; opportunities in new media technologies (voice, video, community and group-based channels) will need to be mastered.
On all these fronts, early adopters will win the day. As you move beyond the initial crisis phase and begin to focus on what’s next, consider these three areas to futureproof your business.