A crisis, by definition, is ‘a time in which important or difficult decisions need to be made’. The decisions made during this time can be the difference between business success, or one of the many businesses that have gone under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been a vast stretching impact upon the lives or businesses as a result of the outbreak and spread of COVID-19. Given the decisions that need to be made as a result, it’s safe to say that we’re living in times of crisis.
For business owners, the important and difficult decisions made right now will have lasting consequences, long after the pandemic is over. This unprecedented global crisis is forcing businesses to think creatively, quickly, while adapting to a new sense of normality.
How is it that businesses should react to the crisis and face the prospect of their new reality?
Here are some of the key lessons that businesses can do to develop innovative strategies to adapt during a crisis, and flourish as a result.
1. Embrace the new normal strategically and quickly
The livelihood of many companies relies solely on in-person appointments and the footfall of customers. However, since many are still encouraged to stay home, these types of businesses have had to embrace and adapt to this new normal rather rapidly.
Take the medical sector, for example. How can medical care professionals successfully carry out their jobs without being able to access their most important aspect- the patient?
As the coronavirus pandemic became a global crisis, medical firms would quickly shift their business models to telemedicine. This service was not something that had been accepted too widely before, with less than 30% of doctors offering this as a solution to their care previously.
The shift from traditional, face-to-face appointments over to these telephone consultation services was no small feat. It involved updating websites to allow for the functionality of virtual doctors’ office visits, as well as adapting the brand messaging to educational from promotional. This ensured that all patients using the service were kept up to date and received accurate, up-to-date information.
The strategic planning, combined with precise and careful execution is the key to the success of getting this up and running. Doing this will enable businesses to quickly embrace change and scale up new approaches effectively.
The takeaway of this is to align the offerings of your business with the changing and developing needs of society, allowing to develop strategic approaches, ensuring that businesses can adapt quickly and effectively amidst times of crisis.
2. Get creative with your marketing
If while making the best efforts to adapt to the new normal, you don’t keep people updated, all of the time, effort, and money spent on these adaptations will be wasted. This is one of the reasons why it is essential to be creative in the ways in which the word is put out to all customers and potential new customers.
Think beyond what has worked for your business before and how the greatest amount of people can be reached exactly where they are. In a time where most people have been encouraged to stay at home, more traditional methods of marketing such as flyers, or giving away custom logo socks at marketing events are not possible for the time being. It’s time to think beyond relying on footfall going past a physical distance to meet potential customers where they are.
For example, going back to the above notion of the medical industry, businesses could create multi-channel campaigns to keep their patients in the loop about a shift over to telephone consultations. Social media could be used to teach people about what medical attention they may need during the coronavirus pandemic. This could be implementing video marketing on social media linking to a ‘chat-bot’ feature on your website.
Social media can also be used to keep customers up to date with the changes that are being put in place during the crisis. It is very important to ensure that this information is kept up to date, and your customers informed. This could be anything from ‘online office hours’ to booking appointments for consultations.
By making engaging content that can be accessed by people being made to stay home at the moment, your business will be ahead of the times, using various tools that can be used even once the crisis is over.
This means using the advertising to spread awareness about the changes to the business while using creativity to reach as many people as possible.
3. Know that this goes beyond your business
Being creative and adapting to this new normal isn’t just something that is beneficial to businesses but something that could also impact society positively overall. The adaptations put in place can help to ensure the overall effectiveness of the important public health measures such as maintaining social distancing.
For example, many small businesses are using eCommerce websites such as Etsy to ensure that social distancing is maintained while keeping businesses up and running.
Medical companies are also potentially able to have consultations with more patients in a day, which meant that social distancing is observed, the medical office is kept busy while able to ease the burden on emergency rooms. This, in turn, reduces the chance of catching and spreading COVID-19.
Keep people informed about these efforts after identifying how your business can be used to serve a greater good beyond maintaining revenue.
By quickly utilizing these new approaches to marketing and keeping your business afloat, businesses are able to navigate their way through the COVID-19 crisis. The work put in as soon as possible can have a lasting effect on the legacy and reputation of the business, even long after the crisis is over. Even if it means outsourcing some of these key services to other specialist organizations, by adapting your business to a ‘new normal’ you will not only be able to survive the present economic climate but will also be able to set up to thrive in the future.