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march 19, 2020

Your Checklist for Building Brand Durability in 2020

by Tony Treadway

empty restaurant

There’s no shortage of advice during the current COVID-19 crisis. No matter your opinion on the declared pandemic, the threat to your business is real. We’ve been helping clients address crises for nearly 30 years as both a public relations firm and marketer. Here is a quick checklist for making sure your company and brand are on sure footing to prosper in a volatile economy:

  • Communicate Clearly with Your Employees – They are your heart and soul, so be as transparent as possible in providing direction on what you know, and don’t know, on a consistent and regular basis. Address them as a group if possible and follow up with an e-mail for those who couldn’t attend. Be a great listener and be empathetic to their concerns. Ask them for their support and share what everyone can tell their friends and customers about how the company is addressing the crisis so that everyone is getting the same story.
  • Share Your Position with Your Customers – Whether government or internally mandated, your business has changed. Be sure to share your position with your customers or potential ones. Use your phone, your website and social media to share your position. Include language that communicates your commitment to safety, family, your planned level of service to them now, next week and in the future. Leaders are proactive in their response to change your brand should have clear directives to defend your customers and market share.
  • What Can You Do to Serve Your Customers? – If you are a restaurant, for example, and you haven’t been shut down, your eat-in traffic is suffering, so turn your focus to curbside service, delivery or drive thru. If you are a supermarket, turn up the volume on your supermarket deli as consumers will be trading to deli food, limiting their trips and picking up groceries as well as what’s for dinner tonight. Find a niche that can still work and go hard quickly to sustain your business.
  • This Is When Family-Owned Companies Build Market Share – While big corporations pull back on their spending to make their stock appear better, family-owned companies who increase their marketing during economic downturns always emerge with increased market share while giants sleep. Lower ad costs and less competition result in a greater share of voice with your customers. Tell your story now, and you will benefit your profit margin in the end.
  • Know When to Hold ‘Em And When to Fold ‘Em – These are days when you must take a long hard look at your business. Go to work on Plan A through C. Reduce costs, limit your borrowing and take a look at pieces of your business or your overhead that you might need to let go. Don’t suffer from a thousand cuts. If you need to make some tough decisions, do them sooner than later.