Businesses”; market positioning in times of crisis says a lot about the organization–;more so than during times of serenity.
The current pandemic has shown a few brands in a poor light–;while other companies have shone.
Some of these brands have found themselves making rash decisions in an attempt to save on cost–;only to damage their brand image.
We look at what brands should avoid doing at all costs during a crisis.
Lack of Communication
Brands that put themselves in a difficult market position are the ones who don”;t respond immediately to changes in their circumstances.
In such a situation, not communicating could lead to a loss of goodwill from customers and the community–;goodwill that would be very difficult to regain post-crisis.
Not Reframing Content for the Context
It is important to ensure that you update your content for your changing circumstances–;check your content calendar before messages go out that may not capture the current situation.
Because when circumstances change, brands cannot afford to position themselves as going about life like it”;s business-as-usual.
Instead, it is best to “;read the room”; and create content that will alleviate customer concerns.
Brands should choose to work on an awareness strategy that focuses on aiding people or that adds value to the community.
Reacting, Not Pre-Empting
When policies and initiatives have to be changed due to new circumstances, it can be hard for a brand to keep up. Creating a timeline can help marketers keep track of changes.
But some brands have instead had knee-jerk reactions to changes. Not acting pre-emptively hasn”;t done them any favors.
In a time when social media is so heavily used, not pre-empting changes in the industry can make a brand look very bad.
If customers see your competitors adapting to changes faster than you, not only will they call you out on social media but they won”;t think twice about leaving you for another brand.
Updating return policies and instituting refunds for events that are no longer taking place goes a long way in improving customer relationships.
While companies can save money and resources by waiting to react to a situation, the final result may be a loss in client bases that can never be recovered from.
Profiting off Situations
There is a long history of brands using difficult situations to make more money–;instead of prioritizing customer services and experience.
For instance, stores and supermarkets that hike up prices for essential products needed during disasters or crises.
Increasing prices for bottled water during a marathon, or doubling fares when there is an issue with public transportation reflects poorly on companies willfully putting their community at risk.
Airlines have been taken to task over policies that weren”;t compassionate for customers”; circumstances or that prioritized monetary benefits over the comfort of passengers.
Businesses that offer essential goods and services are expected to make them available to people in dire circumstances, but this isn”;t always the case.
These are the kinds of market positions one doesn’t come back from.
Not Standing by Employees
There have been instances of brands reacting in a particularly appealing fashion to the prospect of revenue loss–;they let their staff go without salaries, severance packages, or a week”;s notice.
Brands across the board–;and around the world–;have been guilty of this practice. And this action often makes it into the news, coloring the company in a very bad light.
When thousands lose their jobs overnight, with no means to pay rent, or buy groceries, or take care of their families, it makes the corporate look like a malevolent entity.
In certain cases, intense pressure from the community, or even government intervention, has been required before the brand in question backtracked on their stand.
Even personal brands have been guilty of doing the same. In these cases, the outcome for the company can be worse because solopreneurs often build project their brand as being a family.
Employees who fall ill because of lack of company protection–;and are then asked to use up their own sick leave–;don”;t do so in isolation. Their families and communities get to know.
And, of course, there is always social media, where employees willing to brave breaking their contract will go to share their grievances.
By not standing by their employees, such brands fail to take into account that their staff belongs to communities–;communities that have helped build the very businesses that are failing them.
There is a lot of misinformation being generated on the internet. At times like these, companies should focus on collecting sourced information
Using a flowchart maker to collect and dispense data is also a good way to keep communities engaged.
But not all brands are doing this. It is bad enough when individuals spread incorrect information, but when companies do it, the effect is catastrophic.
Though most brands are careful not to share unvalidated news, some take it upon themselves to act as experts, especially if it means continuing the way they run their business.
During natural disasters or transport strikes, event organizations hoping to be able to hold their events despite the circumstances around them can come across as lax in this regard.
By attempting to give the impression that the situation is better than it really is–;so that customers will buy tickets and attend the event–;they sometimes spread misinformation.
When there is an immediate crisis at hand, information is still developing, communities often turn to not just news networks but also the companies around them for advice.
This places a lot of pressure on companies, who should be cautious about where they source the details from.
If facts are still not verified, it is best if companies acknowledge that the situation is ongoing and that they will update their customers as and when they know more.
A brand”;s market position plays a major role in its ability to continue through a crisis. We have outlined what brands should not do if they want to hold on to their position in the community.
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