How to overcome challenges and support your customers
Businesses must scrutinise the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their employees, facilities, and supply chains in order to be able to make decisions quickly in what is a fast-changing situation.
With millions of people forced to stay at home and not travel, work, and shop freely, it is having clear knock-on repercussions for businesses. However, business continuity planning can help maintain vital business functions. You may need to consider factors such as supply chain disruption, your duty of care towards employees, and communications, particularly as regards to marketing and keeping your brand in front of potential customers for when the crisis abates. Planning can help you prepare for disruption, minimise the potential impact, and return to ‘business as usual’ in the fastest possible time.
In terms of immediate opportunities, consider how behaviours have changed to respond to the situation. Then, depending on the brand and the category, you may find that there is everything to be gained by committing media investment to your crisis response.
Digital platforms, especially short videos and social media channels could help to drive commerce. Align communications so that it’s in the public interest rather than pushing messages for sales generation, which will seem cynical.
Businesses need to formulate sensible business continuity plans, as well as more specific pandemic preparedness plans that enable them to respond quickly. It would be foolish to think that anyone is immune to the business impact of Covid-19. We just have to remember that while we react to the short-term crisis, we should never lose sight of the long-term vision.
Here at TPG, we have a strong track record in working with our customers during both good and bad times and want to provide reassurance to them that, if needed, we are here to help with short-term marketing and communication strategies. This will keep brands, products, and services visible during a challenging time.
We believe that, given the scale of the potential coronavirus effects in the Gulf region, every business should consider proactive external communications to display corporate social responsibility and a commitment to customers. Even if your company is not yet directly affected, a statement may help minimise adverse commercial effects down the track.
Companies that responsibly maintain or increase their marketing spend could also win the hearts and minds of customers in the longer term. With digital socialising on the increase as more people stay at home, increasing budgets to online web and social channels makes perfect sense. Above all, companies should react authentically based on their brand positioning, values, and tone of voice.
The critical lesson for companies is to be customer-led and keep a sense of optimism because the recovery will come around, and brands need to be ready to thrive.
Rod Millington, Editor in Chief
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