Forward-thinking business gurus are advising companies to re-evaluate (or in some cases rip apart) their business model as commercial life eventually inches back to a “new normal” after the pandemic.
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Our questions are: Will your communications and marketing strategy be optimally equipped to handle the new direction (or pivot) your business will take? Will your approach be flexible enough to accommodate shifts as the new normal comes more into focus?
No one knows when social distancing measures will be lessened, but businesses will want to prepare for a future when the consequences of this pandemic are behind us. In anticipation, here’s what your business must focus on now to be best prepared for whatever the future brings.
1. Conduct a Strategic Positioning and Messaging Exercise
Entire industries have come to a screeching halt, consumer habits have changed, society’s faith in elected leadership has been tested and work processes have been upended. Now is the time to take stock of how your products and services can accommodate new priorities and preferences your traditional customer base will have in a post-pandemic world. Like you, your clients will continue to grapple with various changes to their daily lives.
Your company or business unit will need to pivot, reposition or innovate to meet new customer demands. Once you’ve revised your strategy, the next step will be to conduct a strategic positioning and messaging exercise. This will serve as the foundation for your internal communication to align employees with your vision and for your external marketing to clients and prospects.
2. Update Your Website with SEO-Optimized Messaging
Stripped of the ability to make in-person presentations, connect for a business lunch or network at a conference, many businesses will be searching for new service providers, products and partners online.
Where does your website show up? Page one at the top? Midway down the page? Or God forbid on page 2 or beyond?
There’s much to be said for attractive, tricked-out websites with bold graphics and few words… but if you want to appear at the top of searches, some serious compromises will need to be made. Do the work to search engine-optimize your site now!
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3. Reinforce Your Company’s Purpose
How you’ve treated your employees and customers during this crisis will form your reputation for years to come. Take the time to reassess what your company stands for. What ideas can your teams rally around? What can your customers count on you for? In the face of challenges and uncertainty, why should your employees, customers, and shareholders believe in you?
4. Stay Visible Across Platforms
You, like most people these days, are probably spending a significant amount of time online, particularly on social media. Engagement with popular media including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter has increased exponentially since the crisis.
If there was ever a time to increase your social media game, now would be it. Clean up your profiles. Start creating content meaningful to your customers.
The aim should not be to just sell your products, but to address the acute concerns of your customers. Show existing and prospective clients how you can help them successfully navigate the coming months.
5. Re-examine Digital Asset Management and Distribution Platforms
Uncertainties during the early stages of recovery from the virus will force sales teams to devise new ways to prospect and close clients. For example, with the anticipation that the virus may be seasonal until a vaccine is rolled out, what happens during mandated periods that in-person meetings are no longer an option? How can you ensure sales teams have easy, real-time access to the latest validated sales materials?
With an eye on intelligent resourcing, global companies are likely to swing toward centralizing their marketing strategy and content creation. That will require executives to select and implement a robust digital platform that enables colleagues to validate, approve, store, disseminate and withdraw assets from a consolidated database. Centralization with limited content localization will be the chosen strategy to save precious dollars/euros by eliminating the need to recreate fresh sales tools for every market.
The initial shock of COVID-19 to the economy is slowly starting to wear off. Transformative companies are already looking ahead, wondering how they can take advantage of the time they have now, to prepare for the return to normalcy. Start asking questions: what will this new business environment be and what will be the position of your company in it? Over the coming 6-12 months, opportunities may be in lower supply, so now’s the time to set your business up to capture them.