When our president, Cyril Ramaphosa addressed us as a nation at 8pm the 15th of August 2020, he had the following to say:
“My fellow South Africans, It has been five months since we declared a national state of disaster to combat to the coronavirus pandemic. As I said then, and as I repeat now, never before in the history of our democracy has our country been confronted with such a severe threat – a situation that has demanded an extraordinary response and much sacrifice.
It has been an immensely difficult five months, and the pandemic has taken a heavy toll – on the health of our people, on families and communities, on the public health system, on the economy and on people’s everyday lives.
During this difficult period what all of us have longed for as South Africans most of all is to be healthy, restore our livelihoods and rebuild our economy.
I address you this evening amid signs of hope. We are making progress in our fight against COVID-19.”
Having spent over 5 months in a state of lockdown, and whilst we have now shifted to level 2, meaning almost all areas of our economy can return to some relevance of what was the norm, the norm is no longer a concept that exists.
The time is now for business and brand to start planning for the rest of this year as well as next year, and what the future holds. It is important to remember that this changed future is coming at you, whether you are ready for it or not. How you enter the fray, is up to you. During this Covid-19 global pandemic, almost all of the “norms” we knew have been turned on their heads. The question many people are asking now is “how do we move forward?” –
Here are three ideas that we believe you can implement to achieve this.
1) BE HUMAN
As an agency we regularly communicate the importance, to businesses and brands, of being authentic and real, as this is the best way to connect with customers. In time we have learned, that while the above is true, there is something more that clients are looking for… consistency. Whilst it is vital that you focus on your core business, remember to always act with empathy. Ensure that all touchpoints wherever possible speak to your customers where they are, try to understand their needs and treat them as real people. Stop treating them as a pay cheque.
Smaller businesses have an advantage over bigger corporates here, as generally the smaller businesses interact more closely to the people they sell products to or service and can act more quickly in response to their needs and wants. In times of uncertainty people simply want to be seen.
2) EMBRACE CHANGE
To grow your business and brand in this in this ever-changing, fluid and unpredictable world, you need to do things differently. You cannot simply carry on doing things the way you used to. The time is now to try something different, a new technique, vision or mission, or even an entire business model. It is time to stop prioritizing short-term profitability, over long-term survival. Look for ways to ensure a solid foundation is built and the business is sustainable and on the right growth trajectory. Be resilient, yet flexible enough to withstand and work within the global pandemic, and you will achieve the results you desire.
3) UNDERSTAND YOUR TARGET MARKET
The third and most complex idea that you can implement, is understand you target market better. Find out if you are providing exactly the right product or service, at the right time, to the right. Simplest way to do this, is research and testing. Ask your clients what they are looking for, how you can improve and how you can better serve their needs.
While the Covid-19 global pandemic, may mean that there are fewer customers or customers with less disposable income, they will still spend money, but in places where their needs are best served and met.
Crafted by Chris Midgley