21st April 2020

Business as Unusual: Is Your Brand Ready?

What businesses and brands need now is a strategic response to Covid-19. Because the future is also going to be unusual.

This lockdown happened to us all before we really had time to prepare. It’s forced families, businesses, national services and governments to rethink everything – fast.

I didn’t think it was possible for my own agency, let alone the vast majority of the UK service sector, to move to an entirely different way of working almost overnight. Yet we did.

That agility, the ability to overcome so many little problems, to find new solutions and to be open to so much change in such a short amount of time, has been remarkable. I applaud my team and every other team that’s made the same dramatic transition. Especially the giant and somewhat cumbersome NHS.

Yet for others it simply isn’t possible. Whole sectors have been forced into complete shutdown just as quickly as we logged into the office server remotely. However hard we might try the arts, hospitality, sport, education, construction and property sectors, amongst many others, just can’t pivot like the service sector can when a pandemic is in full force.

Right now there’s a lot of welcome noise as we celebrate our NHS heroes and drive up the share price of Zoom by showing off how well we are all communicating. It’s keeping all our spirits up in these dark days.   

There’s also a lot of talk about when things will “return to normal” as if all this could be over and done with by the end of the Summer. But I think that’s wishful thinking.

This event will impact us for a long time to come and change the world around us in ways we cannot know or predict.

What we need is business as unusual and that’s going to take some creative thinking. And the larger you are and the harder you’ve been hit so far, the more creative you are going to need to be.

In our strategic branding workshops we always start with the same big question: how do you see the world in the future? Answering that isn’t quite so straightforward anymore. Those businesses that can understand how the world has changed and will change, and as result can change their business and brand, will survive and hopefully thrive.

If ever there was a time to revisit your business and brand strategy it’s now because your people, customers and partners will want to know what the future holds and how they and you can be part of a different world, together.

When we go on to ask “what are your customers’ real issues and needs”, the answers will also have changed fundamentally. So every business needs to listen carefully and develop the essential insights that will lead to product, service, brand and business innovation at every level.

Are you asking the right questions?

How do we see the world in the future?

What is our ambition in that world?

How do we want to be positioned?

What are our goals?

Who are our customers?

What are their real issues and needs?

What do we to have to offer them?

Why should they choose us?

How do we want to come across?

What do we really believe in?

What is the spirit that defines us?

What values guide how we behave?

If we strip everything unnecessary away, what remains?

What is the big idea that shapes everything we do?

What really matters to us?

If you would like some help in answering these questions and debating what the future holds for your business brand, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. Contact me directly: rebecca@rblteam.com

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Rebecca Battman

Managing Director

Rebecca is the founder and Managing Director of rbl. An experienced brand and marketing professional, Rebecca has spent over 30 years helping clients to build, design and manage their brands.

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