Each year presents new challenges to businesses, but no one could have prepared for what 2020 would bring. With the political, economic, and social issues, compounded with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, brands have struggled to cope.
Doing business through a global pandemic has been difficult. However, as FirstLight Home Care CEO Jeff Bevis highlights, some of the changes taking place now may force businesses to be more adaptable and resilient, which isn’t a bad thing. The challenge for you now is to monitor these changes and adjust accordingly. Here are some of the things that every business owner should have learned from 2020:
Be open to innovation
Quarantines and lockdowns have changed customer behavior and movement, so brands need to think creatively to stay relevant. In an article on ‘How Coronavirus Helped Brand Innovation’, we discussed how a business has to offer more effective products or find ways of delivering these products in response to customer needs.
With consumer brands being some of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus crisis, they’ve had to come up with creative ways to sustain their businesses. Malls have had to rethink and come up with new strategies, like how the South Coast Plaza Mall repurposed its parking lot in Costa Mesa, California to accommodate an open-air shopping area for brands like Omega, Prada, and Versace—hot commodities in Orange County. Another brand that allows its patrons to enjoy in-demand goods is Boston restaurant, Mei Mei. Their creative DIY dumpling kits, equipped with instructional YouTube videos, have inspired several other restaurateurs to take similar steps.
Be attentive and flexible
Recognize when things stop working for you and let sound judgment lead you—whether that be towards a new marketing strategy or a remodel of your business’ legal structure itself.
Of the 163,735 businesses that have closed in the U.S., 60% will not reopen, Yelp reported in an Economic Impact Report this September. Many business owners have found that being personally liable for their brand’s finances has impacted their personal financial well-being. If you want to avoid this fate, then consider learning from their mistakes and changing to a different legal structure. A detailed guide to forming an LLC by ZenBusiness explains that one of the key benefits of forming an LLC is having a distinct separation between personal and business assets. This means you won’t be held personally liable should things take a turn for the worse. What matters is that you evaluate whether your legal structure still works or not.
DO NOT ignore digital marketing
Americans have spent more time on and become more reliant on the internet this year. This has meant that the market has gone digital, and ignoring that fact is an affront to your brand.
Audience sensitivity should be the first consideration when you venture into digital marketing. Gather insights from your audience and make sure that your message is aligned with theirs. It’s a scary time for consumers and coming off tone-deaf could be disastrous for your brand. When you’re able to connect with your market on an emotional level and tap them across various platforms, you can work on building trust. The Atlantic foresees how effective pandemic-time advertising would allow your audience to look to you for reliable products or services even after the pandemic.
Put your people first
This period of prolonged uncertainty has triggered intensified risk management and agile work arrangements for many brands. It’s important to be able to assure your employees that they will be taken care of to increase their morale during the pandemic and loyalty after.
Invest in your people by anticipating future trends and behaviors to accommodate their needs and providing health support, which includes psychological well-being. The SHRM outlines how this can be done by simply encouraging your employees to spend more time outside and recognizing their work.
There’s always room for more preparation and 2020 has been the definitive proof of that. Learn how to anticipate and forecast market trends so you can plan around those deliberately.
You know that brands are shifting to digital, so take that first step and craft your digitally-charged marketing strategies now. You can go through our collection of ‘8 Marketing Faux Pas to Avoid in 2021’ for some tips, for instance, you can learn about the importance of SEO building online which helps you rank up on search engines as well as banking on PR moments that could boost your brand awareness.
This has been a year of both unprecedented challenges and unprecedented solutions from businesses. There’s no guarantee that things will be better next year, and even if they won’t be, it’s up to you to make your brand better using everything you’ve learned this year.