How to Stay Relevant in Disruptive Times

The question isn’t “Why will you remember 2020?” You have plenty of reasons to do that. The question is, why will your business be remembered?

Staying relevant can be difficult in times like these. The good news is, remaining top of mind in disruptive times is about doubling down on marketing fundamentals. Here’s how to do it:

1. Cater to Your Most Stable Customers

Who are your people? Not your marketing team, not your brand managers; your people who put their trust in your brand for the long haul.

Knowing your audience is such a fundamental principle of brand management that it is easy to overlook. But during a time of disruption, people will look to something safe and stable. Put your focus not on what seems to be crumbling but on who needs you not to crumble. 

Now is the perfect time for personal outreach. Be reassuring. Something as simple as reminding your people of how long your business has lasted can work wonders.

Remember, relevance is about perception. Perception is alterable with something as simple as a video message reminding your people that you remain; that you’ll still be there once the storm passes.

Blend this with old-school truth with new tech, such as an online event. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, virtual events will remain in demand not just during but well after the pandemic. Post the recording on your site to get ongoing value out of it.

Regardless of whether you host a Q&A panel, a how-to webinar, or a short interview with a top official, make it feel like a fireside chat. Familiarity is everything in times of uncertainty.

2. Practice Benevolence

People are suffering right now. What can your business do to put a dent in their needs? Position yourself as a problem solver

Solving problems means thinking outside of the box. Take education, most of which is now happening virtually: Schools can provide devices like iPads and Chromebooks, but internet service has been the locked gate.

How can you answer that? With benevolent relevance. 

Your business has wireless internet, right? Why not offer drive-in Wi-Fi three nights a week from 7-9 p.m.?

This doesn’t have to be a heavy lift, either. Contact your local school district to let them know you have a parking lot and a strong Wi-Fi signal. Explain that you want to help those students whose families cannot afford internet access at home. 

Your primary goal should be to help struggling students, but don’t forget about the initiative’s marketing potential. Position your team to interview a few willing parents and students using your service. 

Your ability to stay relevant is all about perception. The perception of a business that is “giving away” Wi-Fi so that students can enhance their education is golden. 

3. Observe and Reflect 

It is easy, especially during the disruption caused by an unprecedented global pandemic, to worry about your company’s internal operations. But observing what’s going on around you is critical if your goal is to stay relevant. 

A good example is social media, which has become even more social during the crisis. It’s how people are getting together, keeping in touch, and catching up. 

Compare others’ social media habits to your brand’s: Are you using these tools to their full potential? Yes, you are pushing out relevant suggestions and invitations to purchase. But are you using it to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing and how it is working for them?

During unstable times, it is wise to survey competitors whose compass has found true north. What are they posting? How are audiences reacting? Are they reacting? 

There is only one way to find out: astute observation. Your intention shouldn’t be to sabotage but to learn. Learning is the heart of relevance, and relevance is the heart of success in disruptive times.

Yes, this is an unprecedented time. Beyond maintaining your day-to-day operations, your goal must be to change with the times. Can your business not only survive but thrive? It can, and it will by focusing on the essential challenge of any business: maintaining relevance through innovation, forward-thinking, and metered action. 

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