The present health and social situation originated by Covid-19 has changed the market in a structural way and will require profound adaptations of many businesses.
The manager of any company must be able to assess in a cold and independent way the real impacts of the situation on its operation and find new ways of acting.
And that's probably the hardest part. To be able to move emotionally away from the current parameters of our business and make an impartial assessment.
I'll leave you a script you can follow for that diagnosis. Because the solution can only be found after the problem has been correctly diagnosed.
1. Does my offer still make sense in today's market?
With the present crisis generated by Covid-19, we have witnessed several companies drastically changing their operating model to respond to specific market needs in this period -https://www.publico.pt/2020/03/20/economia/noticia/coronavirus-super-bock-destilaria-levira-convertem-alcool-cerveja-gel-desinfectante-1908711
We also know that this current social situation has generated new needs in various sectors - masks, gel, acrylic partitions, houses with more outside space, among others.
We must therefore be able to understand the real position of our business in this new reality - is it relevant in the current environment? Is it still necessary / requested? Is there any adaptation I can or should make to make my offer more relevant or respond to a specific need? Is the price we charge adjusted to this new reality? Is there any new opportunity on the market horizon?
As an example of less obvious business developments, it is interesting to see how, in the luxury real estate market, more and more cases of projects associated with major global luxury brands are emerging -
Porsche Design https://www.porsche-design.com/en/pd-about/ueber-uns/porsche-design-towers/TowerMiami/
2. Does my Target still make sense?
- The global market is increasingly segmented into communities with common interests / needs, creating opportunities for segmentation by specialty
- People are looking for fewer and fewer generic solutions precisely because they feel part of a specific community, with specific needs and interests
- In this sense, we have to assess what structural changes we have in our target. Does it make sense to keep aiming for the same customer profile? Is there an opportunity to point to new, more specific targets and generate new business sources there?
- It is interesting to see the work of Targeting that the NFL has developed, understanding the value of the female audience in that sport - https://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/the-n-f-l-markets-to-fashion-fans/
3. Does my brand have the proper positioning?
- Brands are mutating organisms, forced to evolve over time as a consequence of their general framework in the market - they react to their customers, competitors, market trends, social discussions, among others.
- Let's look at the case of Redbull, which has evolved from an energy drink brand to become the world's largest Extreme Sports brand, with various content platforms and the sale of these to numerous television channels - https://www.redbull.com/pt-pt/
- In another parameter, it is increasingly common to see brands associating with social, environmental or even political movements - https://qz.com/1400583/modern-corporate-social-activism-looks-like-nikes-kaepernick-ad/
- It is therefore fundamental to evaluate the real positioning of our brand in the market (how the market perceives us) and how this positioning facilitates or hinders the achievement of the Strategic Business Vision.
- One of the main errors of Brand Strategy is precisely to neglect its real Positioning and not to work actively on initiatives (operation or communication) that support the intended positioning.
- The Positioning work is constant and is reflected in the way the brand and the current company, both internally and externally.
- One thing is certain - in most brands, the positioning their leaders want is distinct from the real market perception
- We have 4 different levels to be able to evaluate the real positioning of our brand - internal (employees), suppliers and partners, direct customers and market in general. You should therefore start this evaluation within doors and broaden the scope of action.
4. Do I have a proper Brand Communication?
- Nowadays, more and more communication channels are available for a correct Brand Communication.
- The different digital platforms have allowed a micro segmentation which, when used correctly, allows a much more efficient communication investment management as we speak directly to groups of people close to our Target.
- Never before have communication tools been so accessible and democratized as today, with several platforms managed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that test and identify the solutions that best work for our business.
- These tools allow us to act in real time and with such fine segmentation that we only talk to whom we want, when we want and how we want.
- It is therefore natural to see investment in Digital Advertising increase every year, in a global and sustained trend - https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-digital-ad-spending-2019
- With a good partner in Digital Communication or Growth Marketing, it is possible to make different types of campaigns at very competitive prices and identify the solution that best suits our challenge.
- That's why I find it very difficult to understand the advertising investments of some very specific product brands, which still communicate on mass platforms, without any kind of segmentation - take for example some of the brands present in football stadiums!
5. Is the customer experience of my customers positive?
- Many of today's businesses live beyond just selling on a supermarket shelf
- A simple yogurt brand can have several interface platforms with its customers (current and potential), which serve precisely to work on the Brand Positioning aspect and the involvement of customers with it
- One of the main consequences of Covid-19 was precisely the acceleration of Enterprise Scanning, not only with the forced implementation of online work but also with the digitalization of the commercial side, with many companies entering the world of ecommerce for the first time
- We also know that the general consumer has less and less availability for search and/or purchase processes, which has forced brands to make their processes increasingly efficient - an online purchase process is increasingly simplified so that the user has to go through as few steps as possible until the completion of their purchase
- It is essential to correctly understand and evaluate the entire route of the customer with the brand, including the different platforms used
- Accelerate Business Digitization, choose the right channels, reinforce strengths and correct weaknesses so that the whole consumer experience is pleasant, comfortable and efficient
- A good reputation for Customer Service is equally critical to the entire Customer Experience and, as you can see in this Forbes ranking, it is possible in any industry or area of activity - https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherelliott/2018/07/11/these-companies-have-the-best-customer-service-heres-why/#23cccd49b80a
The sincere and detailed answer to the questions raised here is certainly a great starting point for the design of a Brand Strategy for the recovery of the business in the post-covid.
We urgently need to see the current situation as a unique opportunity to evaluate and correct our actions in a structured manner, in order to respond not only to the current demand but, more importantly, to what will be the new market paradigm in future years, with all the changes in consumption that we will certainly see.
Unlike the vast majority of managers, marketing investment cannot be the first budget item to be cut in times of crisis.
This is precisely the time to put the focus of the entire organization in the elaboration of the Brand Strategy and in the design of a Strategic Marketing Plan to make clear where and how we want to go with our business.