Bad advice for businesses facing a crisis
How many offers of help have you had from brands, consultants and suppliers since this crisis hit? I’ve lost count – but that’s not to say that all of them have been unwelcome. It’s been reassuring to hear from other businesses in the same boat, and I’ve seen some genuinely useful advice from companies who have a unique viewpoint or service to offer.
But I’ve also seen people contributing some terrible advice that could make struggling businesses even more vulnerable. I’m going to address one of these ‘tips’ that I feel very strongly about (for obvious reasons).
Stopping marketing activity.
Yes, it’s a quick cost to cut. But at a time when your sole method of reaching out to people is through digital, it’s extremely short sighted.
Digital marketing is not just a sales mouthpiece: it’s a method of communication. It’s a way to connect with your audience, listen to their needs, and understand what you can do to provide a solution – whether that’s right now, or in the future.
How a brand reacts to a crisis speaks volumes. It would be crass to continue marketing as usual in the face of a global pandemic – although, we have seen some companies taking a ‘business as usual’ approach that seems quite frankly tone deaf (if this is you, you need to call us).
Yet a marketing response that reacts to the world around you, is sensitive to what people are going through and keeps communication open during a tough time will have a positive impact for your business. It might not result in an influx of sales – though for some of you, it might – but it will cement your relationships with your customers and prospects.
My advice is this. Use your marketing tools, but use them wisely. Take a thoughtful, measured approach and make sure it aligns with the values you’ve always sought to uphold. Think about how you want to be perceived and what your clients, customers or target audience need or want from you.
If you have an opportunity to offer assistance, or advice – take it. Share it. Communicate it. And if you don’t, think about how you can stay visible in a positive, authentic way – even if that’s just offering some light relief on social media.
Besides, once this is all over, it will be harder to rebuild your reputation if you’ve been radio silent for the duration, especially while competitors have been using this time to stay connected and offer their support.
We’re all in this together, and while the economy is not our most pressing concern right now (compared to our health, our loved ones, and our NHS) you’re certainly not alone if you’re worried about how your business is going to get through this. I genuinely believe that those who can communicate effectively through marketing will be in a stronger position – and ready to grasp the right opportunities when they arise.