There are no guarantees in life and even fewer in business. That’s why capitalists always maneuver themselves to take full advantage of a global catastrophe, but smart entrepreneurs can ethically do the same. Capitalists are mainly after the money, but the wise entrepreneur knows it’s all about the value he/she can offer. Value is what cements your brand in the mind of your client/customer and increases the likelihood of generating repeat or referral business.
What is valuable? That’s a carefully answered question in challenging times of uncertainty. Today is no exception, people are re-evaluating what is valuable in their lives and what is not. With a recession all but official and in lock-step with a health crisis, brands must be thinking about how they are going to remain valuable to their clients/customers.
The past offers brands important and timely insights that can help take the fear out of the uncertainty. During the 2009 recession, brands adopted a variety of tactics to respond to changing consumer attitudes and buying behaviors. Most approaches fit into six buckets: optimism, humor, nationalism, nostalgia, empowerment and value/price.
Let’s take a look at those past approaches and think about how they can apply to your current brand right now.
1. Optimism: During a crisis, people learn to live with losses (jobs, homes, savings) and uncertainty, making them more sensitive to what really matters. As in every extreme change and loss situation, people start pondering the meaning of their lives. Brands can provide a positive lift by inspiring consumers with optimism. Being the beacon for optimism in a world of dim circumstances can prove a powerful differentiator.
2. Humor: Brands can make light of a dismal situation through recession humor. Humor, the most retained form of advertising and messaging can magnetize your brand to those looking for an escape. Ask yourself; If you could make your customer feel one thing, what would it be? If there is ever a time when happiness is more valued, it’s during a recession or crisis.
3. Price And Value: Consumers will make all sorts of value assessments in response to anxiety, so it is no surprise that the vast majority of recession-related work revolves around value and price. Strategically rolling out price promotions, savings or discounts, as well as value or “more for less” messaging, can motivate consumers to buy in a depressed economy. However, it is important to use this strategy sparingly. Be the brand that discounts, not a discount brand.
4. Empowerment: Making your customers feel like they have greater control will help strengthen your brand in challenging times. Look to be the leading provider of choice — payment plans, different sizes, options or experiences that give control back to your customer will increase your value to them.
5. Nostalgia: Anxiety and nostalgia go hand in hand—when times are tough, it’s only natural to seek comfort in memories of what seems like a simpler era. Think of how you can remind your customers that you have been with them in good times and bad. Give them a lens to the better world you shared together and the bigger future you will create with them.
6. Nationalism: If you can make the claim, make a point of emphasizing the positive impact that doing business with your local small business brand has on the local economy. A user-centric strategy must address the economy in your customer’s world. Remember, that world could have a small radius. Make the case that your brand helps stimulate their economy.
So what makes your brand valuable during these challenging times? What additional value can you introduce to become an indispensable legacy brand in your marketplace? This is your big opportunity to exceed your client/customer needs and be remembered as the life preserver in a sea of social chaos.
I am helping clients in all stages of development answer these questions through online strategy workshops. Please connect with me for a one on one consultation. I can also be reached directly by texting 323 639 0513 in Los Angeles, California.