In the wake of the pandemic, many brands are feeling the strain. But even in the toughest times, there are opportunities for brands to stay relevant, to simplify, to innovate and rebound.
Making sure your brand is prepared for the predicted economic downturn means being smart about where you focus your efforts. We have outlined three ways to help recession-proof your brand.
1. Stay relevant
There has been a shift in customer mindsets and attitudes, with their needs and purchasing habits changing during the COVID-19 outbreak. In times of crisis, people quickly turn to what they know and trust when it comes to spending what little they have. Brands that truly understand and support their customers when they are struggling are the ones that remain relevant and become lifelong favourites. A brand is relevant if it is perceived to be addressing current customer needs and problems.
- Keep your finger on the social media pulse. Tap into insights from social media to rapidly understand consumer sentiment and develop new ideas. Start a discussion about common challenges in your industry; conversations can be a powerful tool for gauging trends.
- Employees are your ears on the ground. Talk to your front-line employees; it will prove useful in gauging how customers are feeling and how you can help them.
- Check that your brand strategy is on point. Brands need to revisit their purpose and values to ensure they are aligned and being expressed authentically. Post-COVID brands will find their strength in authentically being more human and meaningful than competitors who purely focus on making transactions.
- Focus on what makes your brand different. Increase your differentiation and own a unique and relevant place in the hearts and minds of your customers. If customers see your brand as clearly different and more valuable you’ll not need to rely on price decreases or promotions to keep and attract customers.
COVID-19 has been a source of confusion and complexity, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. This creates an opportunity to rethink and improve aspects of your business and develop a customer experience that helps maintain your brand growth. During a recession, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking more is better, but this approach just adds to the noise. By subtracting you will keep your brand focused, simple and clear — simplicity inspires people to spend more and drives brand loyalty.
Related article: Your customers want less, not more
As the lockdown eases, it’s clear that we won’t be returning to ‘business as usual’. The challenge now is for brands to continually innovate and adapt to rapidly changing situations. Innovation is not just about creating a new product or service, but a mindset which brands must build into their business culture, it helps brands achieve sustainable growth and competitive advantage.
An economic downturn can be a worrying time, but history has proven time and again that it is also a moment of great opportunity for many brands. Out of the 2018 recession came several successful brands that rode out the economic downturn, and emerged stronger than ever. Focusing your brand-building efforts is not only a strategy for short-term survival, but it’s also a powerful strategy for guaranteeing long-term success.