Covid-19 will change business as usual forever but is this a good thing?

By 19th June 2020News

As we begin to emerge from lockdown it’s great to read about and see so many businesses who have completely overhauled their business model in light of the COVID-19 situation, transforming their business for the better in fact. Businesses have changed how they’re talking to their customers and have revamped their marketing strategies.

How can your business address these shifts, and make the outcome positive, as customer’s attitudes and sentiments change?

Here are a number of ways business has changed as we know it and potentially for the better in some areas:

DIGITAL FORWARD:

Adopting a digital-first brand isn’t a ground-breaking new concept but it is never-the-less vital, and it has been the only way we have all stayed connected with our much-loved brands and one another!

Although retail shops are opening, many of us are sticking to virtual shopping to avoid the crowds and queues. Many brands instead are offering strong discounts and competitions online in an attempt to stand out from competitors.

Other brands are taking this a step further by creating immersive experiences, entirely online. We mentioned in our recent blog (https://www.owb.uk.com/digbeth-doodles-15th-june/) how Mamas and Papas are another brand using technology to encourage people to shop, with ‘virtual shopping’… Much like a personal shopping experience, a member of the team will take you around the store (all from the comfort of your own home) to talk parents-to-be through essentials for their baby.

We’ve all heard about Joe Wicks’ PE workouts and even online clubbing is becoming a new thing (next OWB night out?!), with alcohol brands joining forces with e-commerce brand JD.com. (https://www.thedrum.com/news/2020/03/17/budweiser-r-my-martin-carlsberg-pernod-ricard-partner-with-jdcom-online-clubbing)

Now that in-person events are cancelled for the foreseeable, this digital-first approach is key to getting people talking, reaching new audiences, and continuing to grow. The strange and new world of Virtual networking events are now prominent, and will presumably become a “new normal”. Our very own Shari recently attended one, which made for an interesting experience with around 30 people on the call, looking at a presentation, followed by smaller ‘break out bubbles’ for chat and networking afterwards.

New digital tools  and platforms are being introduced aimed at supporting brands as they re-position their focus, and helping brands directly connect with customers, read more https://www.owb.uk.com/new-tools-being-provided-by-digital-platforms-to-help-brands-directly-connect-with-customers/

VIRTUAL OFFICES

Many of us are adapting to a new way of working from home, giving us the opportunity to reflect on how we work.“Virtual Offices”, and their place in the future, is something that many businesses will be looking into.

According to thedrum.com (2020) recent research has shown that those long days in the office and sweaty commutes aren’t essential for 92% of workers , who deem themselves to be well equipped to work from home. Many businesses have adapted well and are reaping the benefits of their workforce working from home, bearing in mind a flexible working space, will mean businesses can save more on office space!

DEMAND FOR DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER BRAND GROWTH

The pandemic has been a time for DTC brands to shine and thrive, as the middleman has been cut out, in terms of department stores and online marketplaces. This has enabled brands to build stronger bonds with customers and local suppliers alike, for example the direct flowers business Bloom & Wild are now sourcing flowers entirely from the UK, reducing costs and supporting the UK economy.

FOCUS ON LONG TERM RESULTS

So, what does all this mean? It has been a time to reflect for many brands, refreshing and rethinking marketing strategies and where they envisage the brand going in the future to create sustainable growth. With budgets cut, the creative industry has had to work hard with brands, considering better ways to connect and maintain an engaged audience and the loyalty of existing customers as well as growing a new audience base.

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Not simply saying what your brand values are, but acting on them and being genuine and true to brand values, will be key to customer retention. Recent times have shed light on brands who can talk the talk but not walk the walk. Some brands have stuck by their values and shown support for local businesses, which includes small acts, such as buying vouchers for future beauty and hair treatment, or ordering food from their struggling local restaurants, which can have a lasting impact. Customers have identified with these brands better and engendered positive attitudes to that brand, which could secure long-term loyalty.

All in all, the new post-Covid world reiterates the importance of planning ahead, although brands have had to adapt to the current situation, the next step is thinking long-term and which strategies are more likely to stand the test of time, and keep customers returning.

Get in touch with OWB today if you want to re-position your focus and get #ReadyForTheUpturn.