COVID-19: Why being a meaningful brand truly matters now
People don’t stop buying during a recession, they start thinking before they buy
What is your reason for existing?
Finally, a question that business leaders get to ponder on during these difficult times. On the 11th of March 2020, the director-general of the world health organisation declared the COVID-19 as a pandemic. To bring it closer to home, the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster which meant the shutdown of several land ports and seaports, the prohibition of gatherings of 100 people or more and the introduction of hygiene control measure in the mining, retail banking and farming industries. These, however, aren’t the only industries affected, every business and industry is affected.
There are controllables and uncontrollables in business and as a business leader you cannot control the state of the globe currently however, you can control how you as a business or rather as a brand survive.
Why you must change
- As explained above pandemics usually cause country shutdowns which means no trading globally — this causes many countries to go into recession
- During recessions consumers become sentimental
- Consumer sentiment means people spend less — this matters in South Africa because major sectors contributing to the country’s GDP are based on customer expenditure
- When there are such situations in a country, businesses are sure to go through a tough time
- No one knows how long COVID-19 is going to be around
- The aftermath of COVID-19 will be strenuous — be prepared to for a long season of tribulations
If you are product-centric in your marketing, thing again. Your product won’t keep you afloat during times like this — people will.
What you must change
Your marketing approach for internal and external stakeholders
The first people you should worry about are the people who help you keep your business running — your internal stakeholder’s employees, managers and directors etc. These people are probably the most fearful people around you and you can’t make it through tough times with a team that lacks confidence. Make sure the top objectives of your marketing team are to inspire confidence in your team — over and above being honest with your team about the company’s position throughout. The backing objectives must be focused on reinforcing your brand’s purpose in the consumers’ mind. Be meaningful. (What is a meaningful brand)
How you must change
Have a strategy document
Ask yourself the most important question “What is our reason for being”. When you get to answer this question it will be much easier to survive in difficult times. With a firm strategy that has your company’s point of difference and positioning you’ll know why you exist. Keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t let your marketing team get carried away with distractions. Don’t plan a social media campaign to bring in more sales, but plan an effective campaign on how to convert normal customers to loyal customers. You do this by consistently doing what you do best over and over again. Repeat your purpose. This will also keep your loyal clients happy and their spend will keep you afloat.
When you must change
Big brands have already started implementing steps to ensuring that internal structures are safe and not doubtful and they are now at the phase of ensuring their external structures are also confident in their business.