As we now settle into what’s becoming the new normal of business during the COVID-19 crisis, we as business owners are seeing the major effects of the pandemic on business. First, it was felt with our friends in the tourism and hospitality sectors but now the effects are felt across all industries. This is leaving businesses wondering what next steps to take in order to stay alive during this challenging time.

The initial response was to pause marketing, to sit back and evaluate what could possibly be coming next. But now, as this could be stretching far into the months ahead, it is no longer possible to wait and see what happens, it’s time to protect your business and your brand.

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Pivot, Don’t Pause

As the situation was changing day-by-day, and at some points hour by hour, the first response of businesses was to pause all campaigns. That was understandable while waiting for the dust to settle, it is not a long-term strategy for the situation. Now is not the time to disappear. Show up and use all of your resources and creativity to make a difference. It’s time to reevaluate your operations, moving your product and services to be shopped and bought easily online and in turn. It’s a virtual world and if your business had not been proactive online yet, now is the time to move fast to recapture your markets.

Brick and mortar stores are moving online, video conferencing is used for workshops and workouts, and restaurants are now delivery and grocery services. How can your business serve your customers more effectively during these times?


Communication is Key

Pivoting your business model is not enough. Communicating with the public on how your business operations are changing throughout the crisis is essential to stay relevant. Let people know how you are serving the community at these times by communicating new services and hours, keeping your social media profiles, Google My Business, and website up-to-date with this information.

Join forces with others to get the word out, including government, BIAs, DMOs, and collaborate with other businesses to co-promote new offerings and package products for desirable and easy ordering.

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Engage With Your Customers

With people staying home, internet usage is much higher than normal. To make the most of this opportunity we are seeing brands find new ways of connecting with their audiences online with innovative content marketing. For example, BC Parks Foundation created the “B.C.’s at Home Picnic” virtual event inviting people to keep parks top of mind with an indoor picnic while BC music and performers were transmitted into their homes. Trans Am restaurant is bringing their experience to you by offering their famous Wagu burgers for takeout and then hosting their “house party” complete with Spotify playlist and video streaming from the team at the restaurant. And Central City Brewers is hosting “Beers with the Brewmaster” inviting you to virtually meet with their brewmaster for a live Q&A session.

It may not be obvious to the C-Suite as to why you should invest in tactics like these at this time, but this kind of content marketing will bring value and goodwill to your customers. While some customers might be refraining from spending currently, content marketing will keep your brand and products top of mind for when they are ready to spend again.


Compassion Comes First

Show up for your customers with positive brand actions. Remain factual and compassionate to inform and keep calm. With lost jobs, bills to pay, and the stress of the pandemic weighing down on them, the last thing anything wants right now is to be sold to. It can be tempting to hard-sell when you are seeing a loss of revenue, but instead you should try to find what your audience is needing at this time. It may be helpful resources and information, factual information about your products, or messages that focus on the human element of your brand. Are you a fashion brand making masks for healthcare workers, a grocery store opening early for seniors, or a restaurant paying it back with fundraising for out of work hospitality workers? Remaining sensitive to the human side of things including others hardships is key to connecting with the worried consumer at this time. Many business owners and individuals are facing hardships both financially and emotionally, keep this in mind as you set up new strategic marketing plans.

Loki Creative is offering small businesses a free 15 minute consult to help you evaluate your brand and marketing at this time. Shoot us a message and let’s have a virtual coffee!