June 8th 2020
I interview founders about their challenges for The Vivid Minds. Marketing and media advisor.
Now is the best time to recalibrate your brand’s story and (re)inspire your community. Three months into the pandemic, we finally have a cause for cautious optimism. The latest stats suggest that the coronavirus has started to loosen its grip.
As devastating as this crisis has been, it has also presented opportunities for reevaluating your efforts and strategies. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my clients about business and marketing self-reinvention.
Find New Angles for Your Story
If your brand does not have a signature story, think about the one you casually tell others. If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably already told this story a hundred times. How would you describe your business to your friends? What inspired the idea for it? How about the steps you’ve thought of taking to scale it? Surely you’ve talked about the challenges you faced. Now try to recall your friends’ reactions. Which version of your story resonated with them the most? These intimate moments with friends or family help you discover your true values, and by extension, the core of your brand. For some reason, many entrepreneurs or their PR teams leave the soul out of their story once they begin drafting it, as though it’s no longer welcome.
Even if you drafted your story many years ago, now is a good time to take another look and ask: Is it as good as it was? Or could it use a twist? Maybe you’ve overcome another interesting challenge since then, like adjusting to confinement during the pandemic. Your clients and partners want to know how your company has weathered a crisis.
While working on your story, ask yourself these questions: What’s the biggest struggle for you as a CEO and for your company right now? Have you joined the fight against the coronavirus by donating time, resources, or money? Have you reached out to local communities? What health and safety measures have you introduced? What lessons has your company learned going forward?
Strengthen Your Community
Now more than ever, it is vital to show both your team and your customers how much they mean to the company and how important it is to work together. Your efforts to build stronger and more resilient communities during this crisis will pay off in the future, when consumers resume their normal spending habits.
These free initiatives, which you can now host on Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, and professional webinar platforms, make people feel seen, heard, and supported — especially in such trying times. A human approach to your customers and partners will go a long way and help your brand in the long term.
Unsplash/Tim MarshallEmpower Your Team
Being there for your team is just as important as supporting your clients and external partners. Whether your employees work from home or have to show up at the office every day, you need to empower and motivate them.
Perhaps the best way to do that in these uncertain times is by being honest. As a leader, you have had to make difficult decisions in the past few weeks. More such decisions will likely follow soon. However, beating yourself up about not knowing what to do will get you nowhere.
You might want to encourage your employees to suggest ideas on how to move forward as a team. In a time when no one has all the answers, every contribution is valuable.
Spend Time on Search Engine Optimization and Email Lists
With most normal business activity on hold, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your approach to SEO. This will have a tremendous impact on your online presence. And make sure to include earned media and reviews in your updated strategy. A growing number of consumers rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, so update your Google company page, ask partners to review your services on sites like Trustpilot. What’s more, your marketing budget might experience serious cuts in the coming months. You want to make use of free advertising as much as you can.
Personal Branding through Altruism
That is precisely the type of leader and company you want to be right now. Rather than be seen panicking over how to achieve last year’s profit margins, reach out to the broader community. Think of ways in which you could support your employees, your customers, and their families. Extend a helping hand to first responders or small local businesses that might be struggling — the opportunities are virtually endless.
However, tread carefully. Here again, there is a fine line between doing what is right and good, and overdoing it just for the sake of your personal branding.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in modern history, it is not the first and certainly won’t be the last crisis the world is facing. The tools, strategies, and communities we build now will determine how we respond to the next global challenge. I believe now is the best time to shift focus on creating resilient businesses and robust support networks for employees, clients, and partners.