B2B Brands: How To Come Out Stronger When The Turbulence Subsides
In this new era of life amid the coronavirus pandemic, it may seem like the world has come to a screeching halt. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Yes, we need to follow guidelines and restrictions to help curb the spread of the virus, but that need not stop you, our valued clients, from doing what you do best. These are indeed turbulent times, but with every challenge come opportunities. When the unexpected happens, the best we can do is to stay flexible, pivot and adjust where needed. This is a time to think creatively; stay connected to your customers, suppliers and employees; lend people a hand if they are struggling; and use your time wisely and well. Here are some thoughts to help you stay positive, focused, and strategic in this time of uncertainty, so that you are in the best possible position when the tides do change:
Acknowledge the situation.
If you haven’t already, reach out to your audiences and tell them what you’re doing during this time to ensure “business as usual,” or as close to “usual” as possible. Keep the tone of your communication positive and be aware that this message will be unlike any other you might send. Words of encouragement will go a long way. This is an emotionally-charged situation and your audience is likely experiencing a wide range of emotions – they may fear for their own health, or their loved ones; they may fear losing their jobs, their own businesses, their investments, their homes. Tread carefully and connect with your audience frequently. Technology is one of the best tools we have right now. At times like these, for B2B organizations, it’s important for the CEO and other leadership team members to be visible, accessible and very much at the front lines of the organization.
Make yourself available.
Many people in business rely on email and text for nearly every communication. This is not the time to fall back on those methods exclusively. More than ever, your customers want to hear from you. Call them up, ask them how they’re doing, ask if there’s anything you can do to help them, even if it’s just walking through a scenario or letting them blow off steam. A personal phone call is somewhat of a rarity these days, and it catches people by surprise, in a positive way. It shows you took the time to give your attention to them, and that you truly care about them. Months from now, they will remember that you called them and were supportive in a time of need. And should they reach out to you first, always take their call, no matter if it’s early in the morning, late at night, or on a weekend. Show them you will always be there, even if just as a sounding board.
Build new relationships.
This moment is not a time for the “hard sell.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue exploring new relationships. When a crisis occurs, sometimes the unlikeliest people come together for the common good. Make use of your best skills to help anyone you can. Offer advice. Start conversations. Reach out to strangers. Introduce people to each other. Float ideas. Make connections for people expectantly out of work. You have an opportunity to slowly build a relationship with someone who may someday be your next great client, or source of referral. When the crisis subsides, these people will remember and appreciate you.
Start prepping for the upside.
Strategically prepare for what to do when life gets back to normal. You need to be prepared if you want to be the first to market, the first to launch new products, the first to roll out new initiatives. All of this can be achieved if you have a detailed, structured plan in place. Keep your teams engaged and motivated so you can be ready to head straight out of the gate.
Rethink your messaging and positioning.
When restrictions lift, many things will be very different. Perhaps customers may no longer be interested in high-end, top-of-the-line offerings, and are much more interested in overall value and performance. Consider what adjustments need to be made to your offerings, and how you position them through brand messaging, to best fit what may very well be an altered economic climate.