Since this crisis kicked-off, we’ve spoken with a lot of our colleagues, clients, friends, and the wider Fin Family about how they’re responding and coping.
With little certainty on the horrors we’ve watched unfold, it’s become apparent that the brands feeling most confident they’ll survive this global nosedive appear to be doing a lot of the same things.
We thought we should share our observations (some, anyway), in the hope that senior leaders at our favourite investment firms might find some validation in their approach or take a little inspiration, as they seek to advance marketing objectives or just shore up their current business.
If you’d like to talk through how to address any of the points below please get in touch.
Ironically, transparency is a big part of staying visible. Make sure you’re talking to everyone you can and reassure them that you’re not going anywhere. Build confidence and trust by emphasising your presence.
Hiding from sight will only make investors angry and damage their confidence in your ability to meet their needs.
Contact all of your stakeholders, ensure everyone who matters can see you’re not hiding. Increase your social media presence and push content. Blogs and social posts relevant to your brand’s audiences and their needs.
This goes for your internal teams as well as clients and external stakeholders. Keep them informed so they are able to feel confident, and project that confidence, as you shape your company’s response to the global changes consuming us all.
Long live marketing
Obviously we’d say this, but marketing works in good and bad times. You’ll need to adapt but it’s important to continue. Seed your ground rather than cede it to your nearest, strongest, or just more-active competitors.
Hold your space, project yourself into the right channels and your clients (and prospects) will remember you were there.
Our CEO posted a few thoughts about Cadbury’s response to the shock of war and how they turned this to their advantage.
However successful Cadbury had been before the war, however grave the threat to business was, they found a way to create a market opportunity.
By adapting their product range to better-suit the wartime environment they initiated one of the greatest product-placement strategies the world has ever seen. Whilst it’s not the same scenario now, we can certainly learn from their approach.
They implemented a long-term strategy, which accounted for the needs of the business and those of their consumer. In doing so they attained an unparalleled ubiquity, establishing a sentimental brand relationship on a national scale.
Use some emotional intelligence: be genuine, be clear, be human
Today’s organisational brand values embody people responding to people. In uncertain times those who can project and instil a sense of confidence and certainty will feel like a safe port in stormy seas. Offering empathy, backed by transparency, displays confidence in your offer in spite of the markets’ malaise.
Also, remember that everyone answers to someone. Be empathetic to your clients’ needs, and above all else, be a human-being. Make sure you can’t be perceived as the mythological faceless corporation and that your clients feel like you’ve really understood their concerns. Be humble and honest, offering some calming clarity and guidance.
Focus on the planning, not the plan
The plan means nothing, but active planning means everything (to paraphrase an apocryphal quote). Yesterday’s marketing plans are not without merit, but they need revisiting to address today’s needs, whilst looking to whatever environment we find ourselves in when this is behind us.
Our world is now a thoroughly unpredictable place and Fukuyama’s claim about the end of history seems like a very early call. With mouths agape, we have watched the markets fall, and rise a bit, like never before, this week even finding cause for celebration that oil prices have rallied to under $20 per barrel.
For the foreseeable future, we’ll all need to keep adapting as each wave of change hits us. With this in mind, test your plan and see what stands up. What can you rely on, and what flexibility do you need to ‘bake in’ for the future?
For a deeper discussion on how to address any of the points above please get in touch.