One thing is pretty clear right now, there’s no longer such a thing as ‘business as usual.’ People are much more focused on the growing pandemic than the products and services your small business offer.
We’re all spending our days either gathering as much information as we can or trying to looking for some type of entertainment so we can escape this new and terrible reality. One thing we aren’t doing is trying to find the best price on a new push lawn mower.
So How Do You Market During A Crisis?
I’ve been asked that question a lot over the last few weeks and my answer has always been, ‘that depends on what type of business or industry you’re in.” Some businesses will have to make a major shift in what they are offering to their customers or how they will deliver their services without sounding too pushy or callous.
Other businesses will be more affected by the loss of employees to illness or home quarantine, the lack of raw goods or demand for wholesale products. Both of these types of businesses will come out on the other side different not just in the way they operate but in the way they are viewed by their customers and community.
Now is the Time to Build Your Brand
You may not be able to continue your regular schedule of sales and offers during the Coronavirus crisis, but there is an opportunity to build your brand. We’ve already seen instances of large industries converting their assembly lines to manufacture medical supplies and smaller businesses volunteering to sew medical masks.
Your business may not have the time to completely shift to a new manufacturing process or build medical supplies, but you can do something. Healthcare workers would appreciate having lunch or coffee delivered to them during their shift or your business can help provide stressed parents with supplies to keep their children busy at home now that school has been cancelled.
Yes, you should do this because you are genuinely concerned with the needs of your customers but also because it is a great way to build goodwill for your brand.
What is a Brand?
It’s probably not what you think. A brand is not something you create. It’s not a nifty logo or slogan or even that high-tech office design. All of those things can contribute to a company’s brand, but they don’t embody it.
A brand is how people think about you. It’s the emotional feeling your customers have when they hear your name, see your logo, enter your business or hear your jingle. It is more complex than that, but the elemental meaning is what people think of you.
What your business does over the next few weeks and months will have a big impact on your brand.
Rethink Your Message
Review what you had planned over the next few months and see if it aligns with your customers’ current sentiments. Sending out messages without consideration to the trials and tribulations they are experiencing might make you seem insensitive. So reconsider your message now not just on how it will affect your bottom line but also how it will affect your brand.
There’s no way to be ‘top of mind’ during a pandemic but you can come out on the other side and be seen as a valued corporate citizen and brand that is caring and compassionate. And that can pay off big in the future.