Even during a period of disruption, it’s important to keep your brand alive by letting people know that your business is still around.

If your business has been disrupted by circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic or damage to your premises, it can be tempting to lay low until all the disruption passes. However, if you can find time to invest in strengthening your brand, it can pay dividends when life and business return to normal.

Dominate digital

While most people these days understand the value of having a digital presence, times when you are unable to conduct business face to face makes it more relevant than ever. It could mean finally setting up your business Instagram or Facebook profile or reviewing the mix of digital marketing tools you are using. It might even be time to embrace new channels like TikTok. Social media can help build a sense of shared ownership in your brand; growing your customer base and nurturing affinity among existing customers. Digital platforms offer the perfect way to share updates on your products/services while you are not in front of customers, to keep your business top of mind.

Create content

Build your brand by sharing a variety of home-grown and complementary content that reinforces your brand and lets followers get to know your business and what you stand for. For example, if you have a fruit and veg store, try posting photos of your delicious fresh produce, together with recipes for quick family meals and special treats. Don’t forget to include a call to action, such as a link to online ordering or opening hours. Remember to talk to people in a way that shows your human side or sense of humour – “We know that getting kids to eat their greens can be tough, so try these hints and tips”.

Look at how you can deliver services differently

Developing an online following might mean offering different ways for your community to engage with your brand. For example, a small fitness centre could offer online workouts, a Facebook group where customers can share their goals and challenges and an Instagram account to post short messages of encouragement. Offering services in a different way not only helps you keep your business going during times of disruption, but may help you win new and different types of customers.

Encourage user generation

Inviting customers to get involved in creating content can enhance your brand and help develop a sense of community. By contributing, customers will feel they belong and become advocates of your business, even if they can’t engage with you in their usual ways. User generated content is an endorsement of your business that is as powerful as word of mouth recommendations.

For example, a bookstore could invite people to review their favourite book, explaining why they enjoyed it so much. By using a unique hashtag, the store could monitor the posts and comment on the most commonly loved books. There could even be a prize up for grabs for the review that gets the most engagement. By using this marketing technique, the bookstore is getting customers involved, raising awareness to potential new customers, and getting exposure for their product – books! It’s about providing extra value for customers, without being a pushy salesperson.

Stay connected to your customers

Whether you are simply sharing more information about your products or services, providing your offering in a new way online, or gaining word of mouth recommendations, staying visible to your customers during disruption will make it easier for your business to bounce back once things return to normal. Now is not the time to turn your back on previous or potential customers - stay connected and you’ll be front of mind when they are ready to start buying again.

Now is not the time to turn your back on previous or potential customers, stay connected and you’ll be front of mind when they are ready to start buying again. Take a look at our Doing Business Differently blog series for some inspiration on how you can expand your online offering today.

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16 December 2021