The UK is slowly reducing restrictions and ending lockdown. However, things aren’t going to return to how they were pre-COVID-19, and businesses need to prepare for a new ‘normal’.
The number one priority at this time is to re-open or return to work safely. A second lockdown, as seen in Victoria, Australia or local lockdowns as seen in Leicester, is a real possibility. And, as in the case of Leicester, local lockdowns could mean no special financial support from the Government – BBC News.
Government advice and changes are happening fast and planning for change is critical. To help prepare your business for these changes and for leaving lockdown, we have created an essential three-step guide:
1. Marketing should be your focus
Marketing is an essential element of bouncing back. 75% of consumers say that brands should inform people of what they’re doing.
There is still a lot of uncertainty around what businesses are doing. With some sectors still closed, your customers may need reminding that you’re open and ready for business.
There are many tools in the marketing toolbox, but at this stage, we advise that you focus on PR (public relations). This involves re-engaging with your target audience and rebuilding your relationship.
PR requires you to share your message through media channels, both traditional (press) and non-traditional (social media). The ultimate goal is to build awareness of your brand, reinforce your business values and demonstrate why customers will like doing business with you. This can include things like:
- How you’re re-opening your business (making sure you focus on what’s important to your customers, not your company)
- Case studies of post-COVID-19 business and success
- How you’ve supported your local community
2. Let customers and employees know how you’re keeping them safe
Public health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment and informing your customers and staff about your ‘safe’ re-opening can be a compelling message.
Messages about ‘safe’ have become more important as lockdown has eased. Larger brands are opting for a clear, positive, inspirational, and helpful tone over humorous, witty, or casual.
According to a study by Econsultancy: one in five consumers have actively stopped purchasing from a brand because of its response to the coronavirus outbreak. This included not providing a safe working environment for its employees.
In the same study, 62% stated that they were more likely to spend money with companies that prioritise the health and safety of their staff.
The full study can be found here: coronavirus impact on marketing, ecommerce & advertising
3. Be consistent in your message
After you’ve invested in PR and promoted your ‘safe to return’ messages, you should always ensure you follow through. It’s great to have handwashing stations and social distancing in place, but if these aren’t clearly visible people may become anxious about what the protocols are.
If you have been into a retail shop recently, you’ll have seen the answer to this yourselves: large signs above sanitiser stations and 2-metres or 1-metre plus signs on the floor.
Without these highly visible, tangible changes to improve safety, all your PR and messages will be wasted – and potentially counterproductive as it may appear disingenuous.
Finally, on a more serious note, the importance of these COVID-19 safe measures cannot be stressed enough. If COVID-19 gets into the workplace, everyone exposed will need to isolate, which may include some difficult conversations with customers.
To protect your business, get your cashflow going again and rebuild customer trust, don’t just give COVID-19 safe the lip service – it’s the key to ending your business lockdown.
How ETC can help
If you need help creating a comprehensive ‘bounce back’ plan to reduce recovery time, take advantage of new opportunities ETC can help, please get in touch.
If you’re new to ETC, why not contact us for a free new business review? We’ll spend two hours with you, giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.