Here in the UK, lockdown rules are being (subject to R) eased again. The next wave of businesses from the 1st of June will be car dealerships and outdoor markets. Then, from mid-June all other retailers, as long they are #CovidReady! The UK Government’s advice on being ‘Covid-19 secure’ is here.
No matter the size and sophistication of your business you are building, enhancing, damaging your brand at all times in the mind of your community, if you mean to or not!
What is a brand?
Your brand is the collective understanding and opininon of your business in the mind of your customer and community.
You may try to influence this perception through your positioning, the product, your marketing communications, pricing, place of business etc. Every touchpoint your business has with it’s audience will have a cumulative effect.
Brands can take ages to create but could be damaged by a defective product, your attitude to customer service all the way through to how you communicate bad news / recalls / furloughing and the like.
What is a brand strategy in the age of Covid-19?
This is where it can get tricky for any classically trained marketer as this should cause concern. Speed and agility could be a great opportunity or a total minefield.
‘Needs must’ or short term objectives could mean that you may move down the commoditisation route. Sales promotions could erode perceptions you have tried to build. Trying too hard to show you are caring when your service delivery says other wise can cause a negative brand experience. You have put all your metaphorical eggs in a high street show room that no one is seeing. Being seen to price gauge can cause online reviews and boycotts! Having to adapt and re-prove everything is going to be key for all marketers.
Specifically in the age of Covid how well you treat your staff, how well you adapt your premises could be part of your brand equity.
Place could be the most important P
First thoughts are normally about the Product, the Promotion or the Price. But right now IF you can’t adapt your Place everything else is academic.
- Installing screens at the tills
- Moving to contactless payments
- Click and collect adoption
- Online services and appointments
- Starting home delivery
- Floor marking including queue gaps and one way systems
- Putting in social distancing measures like one way systems and less occupancy
- Plus many others
What should you be doing once #CovidReady?
But once you have done this you should build this into everything you do. You should (where appropriate) consider the value you are still giving.
Consider communicating that you are safe and ready to go as soon as they (customers) are ready to come back. Share what changes you have made in your Promotion materials. Use content marketing to communicate the ongoing changes and how you are responding.
Consumers will be re-evalating where they spend their £s. The lockdown has been a time for consumer habits to change rapidly and reference-site retailers have been bypassed and new challengers tried when ‘out-of-stock’ came up.
If you don’t update and build Covid-ready into your brand strategy someone else will!
As an extra – some examples
CarShop’s showroom advice
Sainsbury’s information hub
See their blog hub.
If your business is behaving badly – the UK Government has an ability to report them! See Gov.UK.