Some countries have started weakening lockdown procedures letting businesses gradually get back on the track. Public places are opening; airlines are encouraging people to start planning their vacations since early July; Formula 1 and other sports event organizers announce that races and champions eventually will take place in this season, but still without fans in the bleachers.
Apparently, getting back to our previous image of normal, especially in terms of economy, won’t happen overnight. Plus, businesses still have a chance to get prepared for the full-grade post-quarantine age. What steps or activities can they embrace to win their consumers’ hearts and minds even within these hard times? Here are several thoughts and suggestions, depending on the business type and scale.
Major brands and corporations
As we’ve seen on the example of Coca Cola, who cut their brand awareness activities, there’s not much sense to invest into the promotion for now, as major brands have their dedicated audiences, who will get back to them once lockdown is over.
Still, what they can do now is re-think their business models, as, after the lockdown, consumer habits will change. For instance, hardly ever people will rush to replace their TV sets, smartphones, and hoovers in the first place after staying home for a long time, no matter if they’re users and fans of Samsung, Apple, or other leading providers. Many people were laid off, and they’re spending their savings now to survive. Thus, corporations can use this time to re-think and re-build their post-quarantine strategy.
Mid-size businesses and SMEs
By this type of business, I mean companies focusing on the premium segment, and it seems they won’t experience the recession so severely. That’s because they have chosen the path of service and quality.
The target audience of mid-size businesses will keep having enough money. Apparently, they have also adjusted their needs and spendings, but still, the situation here differs from the mass market significantly.
My take is that these brands need to re-think their price policies, as their own expenses decreased due to low-to-no rent payment and operations expenses. By doing so, brands will nurture relations with their customers, and once the lockdown is over, brands will re-activate their customers and gradually will get the price policy back.
However, it’s only possible if the brands have put digital activities into their business models and budgets beforehand. If it’s an issue, aggregators that set up digital strategies “turn-key” can help mid-size businesses here.
Apparently, these companies experience the most challenging time. Many of them are in loans and expenses. However, this time is an opportunity to re-think their business model as well. We all know that our brains work most efficiently when in stressful situations, so it’s time for small businesses to get the use of it.
Again, if the business initially focused on online, it won’t feel much harm. Otherwise, it’s time to look for partners (aggregators and marketplaces) that would provide the business with leads and inquiries enough to keep afloat.
Despite the times being tough, it might be a good time for startups, though. The market has dropped: many companies put their marketing activities on hold, the threshold to enter the market (and advertise) has decreased significantly.
What does it mean? It means it’s time for the startup to start seeding and attract early adopters and leads, which will also cost less for them now. Specifically, if before they would get 10-20 leads for invested $100, now for the same amount of money, they can get 30, 50, or even 60 leads. But of course, much depends on the business category.
As we started talking about categories, the ones that are thriving include SaaS products related to healthcare and education. Specifically, the EdTech business sees the incredible growth of customers. Also, various sports, meditation, well-being apps experience high demand. Another category growing is alcohol, the lockdown hasn’t impacted on it as much as other FMCG products.
The current situation and times ahead are still uncertain to make any precise predictions, yet sooner or later, the lockdown will be entirely over, and we’ll see the economy gradually leveling off. Brands that keep taking care of their consumers, appearing within their sight while there’s minimum advertising noise, and using this pause time to re-charge, will reap their benefits.