Kelly Lucente

STATUS QUO ISN’T A STRATEGY

This year running a business has meant starting a very different chapter as few have remained immune to our existing state of global affairs.  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic nearly every brand has had to make a sharp pivot that has altered their company architecture in many ways.    Six months into this and it is still premature to predict exactly what the new normal will look like, but it’s likely that what “was” will not be restored in exactly the same form as old assumptions and certainties, unfortunately, no longer prevail. 

Everyone initially was focused on getting through the immediate crisis and on how to handle the fallout in the short-term while very few were thinking about strategies (marketing, operating or financial) on how to manage damage control for the long-term.

Even after the current pandemic has subsided, it is likely that we will emerge with an irreversible and significant shift in conducting a large majority of sales and marketing conversations online rather than face to face.  For many industries, dealing with managing conversions without someone’s body language and expression to gauge can be a challenging hurdle (think car sales for one) while other industries had been fine tuning their social media and online channel marketing way before the pandemic hit and thus have had a leg up in part.

Some of our re-tool® clients have wanted to hit pause and wait for things to get back to the way they were. We have cautioned against that because as we blogged about earlier this spring being proactive rather than reactive is always a stronger play.  Many have seized the moment by taking the time to decide how they wanted their brands to show up during this unprecedented time.

No matter where your business falls on the COVID-19 affected spectrum, it is vital to acknowledge that maintaining the status quo is not a smart strategy in these most uncertain times.  It is really easy to adopt that frame of mind but the status quo should only be used as a temporary adaptation to circumstances rather than a long-term stance.  

Don’t get us wrong, remaining sitting on the status quo fence is very normal considering the turmoil in so many areas of our lives right now.  Much of the work we have been doing here at re-tool® is aiding our clients in figuring out the right way forward for them.  Each business is unique with factors that need to be factored in.

Here are a few things on our agenda that we discuss with our clients (and prospective ones) that you might find value in:

Be Super Clear About Your Brand’s WHY:  The foundation for good brand positioning is knowing your customer and deciding what your brand does best. Why is your business better than others in a same/similar space? Pairing this with your ideal customer is key to unearthing your positioning unicorn. If you know who they are and what they want, then you should know WHY they come to you (or should) to meet their needs, instead of choosing another.  

Be Remarkable:  We advise that one way to break out of status quo mode is to take the time to sort out what makes your business remarkable,  what does it do differently than your competitors?  You would be amazed at how many clients cannot fully answer this question when we pose it to them.  They think they know in some cases only to go through the exercise of looking at their competition (which BTW isn’t always apples to apples) to find out that their competition touts something similar.

Be Vulnerable: With so much on people’s collective minds, you want to tame, not trigger, you want to educate or inform,  and you want to define/refine your solutions in a way that suits evolving pain points.   Be vulnerable with your brand, showcase or share what is going on with it currently, in real time.  Have you made any changes, shuffles or a complete shift in your service suite?  Tell your audience about it.

Our client Roach Associates, a CPA firm decided that despite the unexpected downtime, viewed it as an opportunity to delve into an activity that they wouldn’t normally have had time for, to collectively rethink, revitalize and reinvent their visual aesthetic and voice to better position themselves as COVID-19 hopefully wanes and exits.  Their positioning and rebrand work served up a stronger representation of who Roach Associates is and what they can do for their clients and they wanted to be sure they looked and sounded the part.  See their before and after here:

None of us have asked for this level of change.  No one could have predicted the almost unbelievable effect COVID-19 has had across the business ecosystem but the consequences are happening in real time and we are all just trying to do our very best and adjust accordingly.  

Let re-tool® know if we can help you and your brand as you evaluate next steps for the final quarter of 2020 and beyond.