3 THINGS BUSINESS OWNERS MUST DO TO THRIVE AFTER LOCKDOWN
It’s a strange time to be a business owner. Many of us will find ourselves at a loose end while everything is essentially put on hold. However, we believe there are a number of incredibly important things that we can do with our time while the country is in lockdown that will give us a competitive advantage and provide a foundation for future growth. Actually, 3 things to be specific...
1) RE-EVALUATE YOUR BRAND
Lockdown is the best time to reevaluate your brand. Throughout an average year, it is often difficult for a business owner to find the time to take a step back and look at what aspects of his branding and marketing are working and which ones are not. We all know we should do so but there are often more pressing matters at hand such as the day-to-day running of a business. We are not being forced to take a moment of respite and we should make the most of it by taking a genuine objective look at our branding and marketing to identify, once lockdown lifts, what practices we should put a stop to and what practice we should be doubling down on in order to improve our return on investment.
When making changes to branding, ideally it should appear to a consumer that everything changes overnight in order to avoid any awkward inconsistencies. Just like in theatre, costume changes should be seamless and out of the audience’s sight. However, as we live in the real world and have to deal with things such as availabilities and suppliers, this is often not possible and changes are inevitably made in the most efficient timeframe possible. With lockdown, however, consumers are distracted. The audience's attention is focused elsewhere. Now is a perfect time!
It is especially important to revaluate our brands this year as many global shifts will take place that are likely to impact the state of our markets and the demands of our consumers.
2) MAINTAIN AWARENESS DURING LOCKDOWN
Just because you aren’t in a position to generate as many sales as you were before lockdown measures were put in place, it doesn’t mean you should give up on your marketing altogether. While it would be nice to take a break and put everything on hold, that approach is simply not practical in the world of increased competition and decreased consumer attention spans. Putting all marketing on hold is highly likely to result in decreased brand awareness in your market and if you are not maintaining awareness during this lockdown period, you have a competitor who is. What you must do is pivot your marketing away from generating leads and towards raising awareness of your brand.
There are many ways to maintain awareness during this time. Simply posting on social media, keeping your followers updated on your situation and engaging with customers is enough to keep your business on consumers radars. However, the most important thing you can do just now and the most effective way of maintaining awareness is to provide value. Ask yourself what assets you have as a business that people may need at this trying time and simply provide it to them. We go into this deeper in our What can you do for free? blog post.
3) CREATE A PLAN
In order to gain as much momentum as possible out of lockdown, you must have an established plan of action. Luckily, the majority of us will have the time to plan more than ever.
Social Media Plan
Now is a great time to start creating content to post on social media over the coming months. Many tools exist such as Buffer that allows businesses to schedule a batch of social media content to go out over a set period of time. This is beneficial as it lets you essentially take a set it and forget it approach in your social media efforts. You should, of course, ensure that any content that you schedule is evergreen and is unlikely to be outdated by the time it is actually posted.
We go further into how to set up a social media plan in this recent blog post Come out of lockdown ahead.
A plan of action
One of the main benefits of using this period to set up things such as social media schedule in advance is that it frees up time to take a step back and focus on a longterm strategy. Your post-lockdown plan of action should take into consideration all things that may have changed due to the global nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Take into consideration things such as:
Have your customers' needs changed?
What changes are your competitors implementing?
Have the sectors which could benefit from your offering the most changed?
How have the global changes affected your supply chain?
Your plan of action should encompass and unite all aspects of your business from operations to sales to marketing under one umbrella and establish a clear methodology for hitting the ground running after lockdown.
We speak more on how to successfully set up a marketing plan here.
In order to give your business the best opportunity to thrive after lockdown there are 3 major actions you must take:
Re-evaluate your brand
Create a plan
These three steps are critical in ensuring you learn from and improve upon your past, make the most of what you can in the present and prepare for the uncertain future that we are facing. The businesses that come out the strongest after lockdown will be the ones who used their time most productively and are most willing to adapt to the situation.
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here