Nobody would have thought how our lives would change as we were stepping in 2020. New goals and aspirations were soon hit with a new reality called COVID-19. As COVID evolved into a global pandemic over the last five months, it required an immediate reaction from large and small businesses.
Along with this, the U.S is also coping with age-old racism and inequality issues that sparked protests and social movements around the globe. The current environment has had an enormous impact on both consumers and brands. The stay-at-home orders call for support for minority-owned businesses, shifts in demand for certain products, supply chain challenges, and distribution channels difficulties have caused a radical change in buying behaviors and forced customers to shop in new ways.
The current socio-economic instability has put an immense focus on all brand actions. Consumers now have higher expectations for brands to be responsible for answering essential questions about societal, economic, and environmental progress. Companies can no longer use their old business model of merely providing a product or service.
Companies must reassess their business model, business objectives, and value proposition to survive in this new reality. We have provided some essential tips on adapting your brand to stay relevant.
1) Remember that all eyes are on you
Consumers are watching brand commitments and brand responses concerning COVID-19 and social justice movements. If they fail to act, they could face boycotting, which can have long-lasting effects on business.
2) Reassess your Purpose
Millennials want their brands to align with their values and want to see upper management use their platform to address critical social issues. We saw the importance of brands taking purposeful action in the early stages of COVID-19’s impact.
For example, Nike started a hashtag campaign with #playinside and #playfortheworld. This campaign encouraged athletes to inspire people to train or play at home in an effort to flatten the curve. The message tapped into human emotions and provided hope while maintaining their brand identity.
In light of the black lives matter movement, Sephora signed a 15% Pledge and committed to devoting 15% of its shelf space to products from black-owned businesses.
3) Meet consumer needs
The effects of the global pandemic have caused human requirements to fall back to the very basic needs of survival. Around the world, there is more demand for food, personal safety, and health. We are witnessing corporations closely monitor the needs of consumers and employees to take action promptly. Companies are transitioning their businesses digitally, providing various no-contact delivery and pick-up options. People will most likely continue shopping online, and businesses need to provide them with the best customer experience.
4) Be prepared for consumption changes
Back in March, we all had to press the reset button to make us revamp our lives. If and when we resurface from this pandemic and go back to somewhat normalcy, we will again experience different buying patterns. The ongoing momentum will cause people to shop ethically, and brands will have to make efforts to stay relevant.
5) Businesses must take immediate and thoughtful action
One of the biggest takeaways from this situation is how quickly businesses can innovate and contribute to societal needs. Consumers will continue to expect quick and thoughtful actions going forward. The importance of brands in responding to customer concerns and needs during a global crisis is important to maintain brand loyalty.
Going forward, consumers will align their purchases and brand loyalties with their values. For small businesses, your time is now! You have a golden opportunity to gain attention and convince new customers of your value through small business branding efforts. Many small brands are finding themselves in a stronger position to compete and prevail against larger rival companies. The future of all brands will require them to have a purpose but meaningful responses and follow-through actions.