Public health hurdles have forced many changes over the last several months, particularly for the business owner. Building your brand doesn’t have to be impossible despite lockdown regulations and social distancing, and many businesses have shown us just how resilient they can be, even in the most difficult conditions. The savvy entrepreneur knows that just as quickly as we’ve transitioned into the current state of operations, it’s best to be ready for whatever’s coming next. Beyond the marketing gimmicks and tech glitches that we’ve been inundated with throughout the course of this year, there are some valuable takeaways for building your brand.
First, Be Adaptable
There’s no way anyone could have predicted the chaos that would be 2020, but it seems many companies were very well prepared for anything that 2020 could throw at them. From audience-specific and currently applicable marketing to the ability to quickly move to all-virtual operations, it seemed that many businesses had the resiliency and character to take on the challenge.
The lesson to be learned from those companies that continued to operate continued to support their employees, and continued to remain relevant even as the world was rapidly changing is a lesson of adaptability. It seemed like these businesses were looking into a crystal ball, but the reality is that they were quick thinking and adaptable. Although we can’t predict what the near future or the next decade holds in terms of challenges if you want to continue building a brand regardless of the state of the world, you’ve got to be adaptable.
Virtual Events and Video Marketing Aren’t Going Away
We’ve spent much of 2020 expediting a rapid transition to virtual operations and have been very successful in doing so. Despite the challenges, this is really something that we’ve been working toward on a societal level for the last decade, and people were ready to take that leap for the sake of keeping jobs and maintaining a sense of normalcy in business. Many companies not only made that transition quickly and successfully, but they also strengthened their businesses in the process.
The truth is, things like video marketing and virtual reality were already in the works, and brands were beginning to recognize that. Now, as more and more people are spending their workdays in front of a computer screen, companies have more and more time to interact with consumers. Video marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach a target audience, and current software allows adaptive video advertising and audience-specific modification and data tracking in real-time.
Companies like auto manufacturers and travel agencies have also implemented virtual reality into their regular marketing tactics, and are able to build greater brand recognition by giving the consumer a taste of their product, even from home. Incorporating 360-degree views, inside and out, of the next new car on the assembly line, or walkthroughs of 2021 destination resorts helps build confidence in these brands even when the consumer isn’t ready to buy. It also allows the future buyer to do all the homework they need to do to feel comfortable with a product or company, without leaving their living room. Chances are, this tech is going to work for brand building for years to come.
Social Media is Your Friend, Let Me Explain.
We can go back and forth all day about the evils and advantages of social media marketing, but beyond using it to advertise, it is, and will be, key for product growth and brand recognition for many years to come. No matter how you slice it, people are spending a lot of time on social media platforms, and they offer innovative and interactive ways for brands to advertise. They also offer connectivity that people have been coming to rely on more and more and will continue to rely on as we prioritize social distancing and improving our collective health.
Ignoring social media as an opportunity to not only create an online presence but curate it and engage with your target audience is a big mistake, whether right now or ten years in the future. For many brands, your online presence is your ONLY presence these days, and as we continue on the virtual track, that’s likely to be the case for some time.
Even before you’re ready to sell a product, establishing a rapport with your customer base is crucial. In today’s market, consumers want to know what kind of culture and initiatives they’re supporting in buying your product. They want to know about your company culture, ideals, and what kind of responsibility you’re taking on in leaving your mark on the world. Consider the way each social media platform allows your brand the opportunity to not only target the consumer base that you want but to present yourself in the light you want to be seen in.
Social media platforms also allow your brand to network in a professional way. Developing your professional network is as crucial to a brand as engaging your target audience. Maintaining relevancy with related businesses and past accounts, as well as promoting your work culture and setting the stage for future talent acquisition can both be done by establishing and maintaining a social media presence for your brand.
Be Consistent, Professional, and Use This Time To Fine Tune
Now is not the time to take a back seat when it comes to building your brand. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to spend time fine-tuning your brand, brand language, mission/vision statements, website, and social media profiles. It’s important to not only offer a consistent product or service throughout these trying times but to make sure your customer service remains consistently strong as well. Equally important is defining your customer journey, sales pipeline, and making sure all your customer touchpoints are consistent and intent-driven.
In interacting with your network, your clients, and other vendors, be sure to maintain a tone of professionalism and confidence, without divulging too much about your personal or political opinions surrounding the current health crisis. Create an image of strength and commitment to good service and a good product, that you can carry through beyond these difficult times and far into the future.