For small-to-medium enterprises, ensuring that your brand can adapt in the face of external threats, for example, a pandemic, is key to staying ahead of the game.
In times of industry transformation adapting to the changing needs of customers can mean the difference between sinking or swimming.
The changing customer
Consumer needs both in Melbourne and across Australia have changed over the past 6 months. The way we work, live and connect with others has shifted considerably and as a result, so have our needs.
How has your brand adapted to what your customers need in a COVID-19 and post-COVID world? This risk of not adapting to customers’ needs is losing customers and becoming irrelevant over the long-term.
It’s tempting to put your head in the sand at the moment, reign in the marketing spending and hope you come out the other end ‘when this is all over’. However, despite the slowdown, it’s more important than ever to meet your customers’ needs and adapt to meet emerging needs, and of course, promote that. Ensure your customers know who you are – the new you – and what you have to offer.
A brand doesn’t have to be all things to all people. However, by understanding environmental, cultural, geographical or other nuances, and how customers’ feel about your brand, it’s more likely you will build a product/service and customer experiences that can evolve with changing expectations and help you retain your customers.
What’s changing in your industry?
Industries tend to go through transformation at the same time, as businesses within a sector experience the same external threats – economic, customer, legal or technology change. As a result, most of your competitors will have the same conversations about what to invest in and how to adapt in the face of these drivers.
Some examples of how industries have already changed and are changing in light of COVID include, gourmet meal delivery with matching wines from high-end restaurants, the rise of ‘click and collect’, online selling and shopping on Instagram TV, and the acceptance of e-signatures and document sharing.
Keeping up with emerging trends can help you identify opportunities or risks to your brand and adapt at the same time, or better still, before your competitors do.
What could be the impact if you don’t act first or are seen to be falling behind? Competitor brands can stand out, better meet customer expectations and continue to build a positive reputation, which could result in a loss of customers for your business.
Brands are assets that help deliver value to your business when they are managed well. They can also contribute to creating a sustainable competitive advantage. So, having a brand and marketing strategy is essential so that your brand can evolve, adapt to market influences and stay relevant.