2020 is the year of small business challenges, and they’re coming one after the other. Companies struggle to adapt and keep a positive image with their target audiences. Past marketing efforts don’t always work in this highly competitive marketplace. Very few industries remain at business-as-usual levels. Essential services face the challenges of increased traffic. Non-essential companies must find ways to stay open while following new guidelines.
The difficulties of 2020 will pass. As do natural disasters, economic turmoil, and other upheavals. When life returns to normal, you want to be in a position to grow. Now is the time to take advantage of business branding opportunities. Here are 9 branding ideas for improving your image and seeking out new customers during challenging times.
1. Embrace Offline Marketing
Trade shows probably won’t happen, and people won’t meet up to hear a talk on your service. But, you can still reach out via print ads and radio slots. Take advantage of offline marketing strategies. Make them a part of your online campaign. Spend any available downtime sharing your knowledge with the community.
2. Reinvent Your Company
Many small businesses neglect their image because they’re so busy growing. During slow periods, think through your origin story. What is your reason for starting the company? Your mission should go far deeper than making money. How do you want to help your typical customer? What other causes does your passion tie into?
A heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company might want to save customers money with high-efficacy units. They might also donate money to local eco-friendly causes. This shows they care about protecting the environment for future generations.
Answers to the above questions are what you build your business branding around.
3. Define Your Archetype
Each brand has a personality. You might be fun, bold, or reassuring. Think of a popular folklore character. Use this fictional being to represent your brand’s personality. Perhaps you slay dragons or rescue princesses. Once your business has a personality, it’s easier to plan marketing that showcases your organization.
Help came for companies impacted by the pandemic in the form of a $2 trillion stimulus package. However, businesses during these hard times must get creative with the way they offer products and services. While some that were already struggling may fail, others will build their brand names and survive the year.
4. Revamp Your Logo
A fresh new look may be what your brand needs for an edge right now. Netscout reports internet traffic increased by about 35% as most people stay home. Now is an excellent time to improve your online marketing strategy. But remember your logo. You’ll use it more often as you reach morel platforms. Your logo is your company’s face. If yours doesn’t show who you are, rework it.
5. Understand Consumer Behavior
During times of crisis, massive shifts occur in the way shoppers behave. Study the psychology of human behavior to better understand and meet their needs.
Your marketing efforts should match what your target audience most cares about. Don’t offer a luxury solution when people want bargains. Instead of ignoring fears, talk about them, and explain how you want to help. Understand your users’ mindsets, and you’ll earn their loyalty.
6. Watch Your Competition
Some of your competitors don’t prepare for potential downturns. Watch them closely throughout 2020. Some may go out of business, creating an opportunity for you to reach out to their customers. Be sensitive. Avoid trying to “steal” customers while other companies are still operating.
7. Assess Your Products
The best-selling items of 2019 may flounder in 2020. People are focusing much more on necessities. Observe what still sells and which products need replacing. Can you offer anything your customers need?
This kind of shift occurred at many distilleries across the country. They quickly shifted focus. When a sudden shortage happened, they started making hand sanitizer for their communities.
Clothing manufacturers turned to produce masks and other protective equipment. Look at what you can offer and ensure it makes sense within your business model. You’ll need (and want) to move back to normal operations at some point.
8. Be Sensitive
You likely plan out your marketing campaigns months in advance. Things you planned for the summer of 2020 may no longer be relevant and may even come across in poor taste. Be ready to shift your focus and put ads on the backburner.
A campaign advertising services for weddings and gatherings in June and July. Your message will come across as out of touch.
9. Communicate Value
Amidst everything, people are worried about the economy throughout 2020. They aren’t as likely to part with their hard-earned dollars for frivolous purchases. Use your business branding to communicate the value your product or service provides. Explain the advantage of doing business with you over your competitors.
Reassure Scared Consumers
Now is the time to improve every aspect of the customer experience. People feel uncertain and worried about the future. Do your part to reduce some of the stress by being upfront. Become the brand they know they can trust to consider their interests and do the right thing.
Don’t argue if a customer is unhappy with a product. Train your employees to be calm and helpful. Do everything you can to make at least one small aspect of your customers’ lives easier. That includes using your business brand to showcase what you’re doing to help the community at large.