That famous Robert Frost quote, “The best way out is always through, ” couldn’t be more applicable than it is for our current state of the world. It’s appropriate for any time your business is facing a crisis or a possible storm ahead. When this happens, our new normal demands that we all communicate, reimagine, pivot, and offer redefined products, services, and new ideas, right here, right now.
As a fellow business owner, I recognize that you may be overwhelmed or anxious as you grapple with financial/employee hurdles, but I want to encourage you that now is not the time to panic.
It’s also not the time to do business as usual—especially when it comes to your marketing and branding.
The best time to refine your digital offerings, fire up your marketing automation, and update your agile messaging was probably a year before this climate existed. The next best time is right NOW.
With all the opportunities to connect digitally to your ideal personas today, one of the next best moves is to pivot by pausing and having a brand brainstorm. Here are some of the steps we recommend:
- Create your core pivoting team. Pick the people on your team that can help you think through each facet of the job quickly. If it’s just you, pull together a team of connections to help you think things through. You can’t work in a vacuum. That is too much pressure for one person in addition you may be closing yourself off to some great ideas.
- Determine if your product or service is reaching the intended audience (or any audience). Look at your data and assess whether or not you have been connecting. If you haven’t, do a survey and interview your clients to see what and where you’re missing.
- Pay attention to what your customers are telling you. Research and data are only valuable if you take an unbiased look at it and then adapt. If you are not able to approach feedback without bias, enlist the help of your team, or hire an agency to help you.
- Hone your definition of target customer demographics. Make sure you are hitting your ideal buyer the hardest. Many companies, as they expand or add to their organization, tend to drift a bit. Regroup and get back at it. But if your current product or service doesn’t resonate with your past clients, maybe this is your opportunity to focus on a different target market and/or tweak your current offerings.
- Adapt to an emerging customer need or pain. Is there a new need in the market for your customers that you can uniquely fill?
- Strip the solution or business services down to a focus on key features. Similar to company drift, look at what you do that is most profitable and double down in that space. Make that your focus.
- Change competitive positioning and pricing to improve traction. Desperate times call for strategic measures. Look at how you can do things differently than your competition and sound the alarm in your communications—which could also include a price discount or special offer. Remember, your goal is to get through this and be around after the crisis is averted.
- Consider alternative technology platforms for the solution. Have you been thinking about doing things differently in any aspect of your business that costs you money or opportunity: billing, branding, or product delivery? Now is the time to look again.
- Assess your existing skill set(s) and make adjustments (and hires) as necessary. With your current goals and offerings, do you have what you need to make it happen? Are the right people supporting you in the ways you need? If not, now is the time to make some tough decisions or get some new skills in the mix.
- Communicate course changes to employees before you make them, then help employees make the transition. If you are more than a company of one, make sure your team is in sync and up to speed with what plans are going on. You need each other to make this happen, and you want to give everyone an opportunity to shine!
- Set short-term goals. Set goals that you can accomplish—30, 60, or 90 days at the most. The time is now, so know your numbers and what needs to happen for this to work.
- Work smarter, not harder. Automation is your friend here, as is data. Use technology as one of your key ways of collecting data to save time, learn what is working and what is not, and tweak as you go.
- Test your new business model before pivoting. We know there are a lot of pieces moving at once, but make sure to test your new business model before shifting entirely. Make sure your current key customers won’t move on to another business because you are doing things differently. Reassure them that you are pivoting to improve what they are currently receiving, not taking away.
Whether you’re working with your internal creative team or an outside agency, this outline is a great place to start. From here, trust your people and engage them in following this new plan.
If you find yourself in this situation, we are here to listen, brainstorm, and deliver in whatever way we can to help you. A call or meeting costs you nothing—we are here to help!