How to build your brand in the middle of a global pandemic

Science says it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. This suggests that you should be used to the ‘new normal’ by now. You should be developing your brand during this global pandemic in different ways.

But have you really adapted your behaviour since the ‘new normal’ reshaped the UK economy? Or are you just rolling with the punches until there are fewer unknowns. Realistically, can any of us still continue to build our brands while so much hangs in the balance?

There’s so much uncertainty that many of us are reluctant to change because some of the new ways of working might not stick around. This is especially true if it means investing your time and money.

So, as brand consultants, we decided to look at things we think you can take as ‘given’. We’re sure there are three new habits worth adopting for the long term. That’s because we still believe that your brand can grow from strength to strength. We’ll talk you through them now.

Habit 1

Raise your digital profile

We know there has been a seismic shift to digitalisation and e-commerce. ONS statistics in February this year showed that online sales increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2%. This was up from 29.6% in December 2020 and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behaviours.

These figures underline why boosting your online business presence has never been more important and will be pivotal in the fight to survive this crisis. It’s a move that we think is definitely worth making.

Habit 2

Promote your purpose and values

We know that consumers are acting differently. We’re buying online from brands we trust – those that show they care about us and the environment. Your brand identity, purpose and values as a business have always been crucial to success.

This will always be the norm and is another given in these strange times. So make sure your customers know what you stand for and why they should choose your services.  

Revisit your brand identity and make sure it’s working for you across all your communication channels. Improving social engagement and showing authenticity are the things to focus on here. 81% of customers say trust in the brand is a key buying factor since the pandemic. 

Habit 3

Improve customer experience

We know that the way we interact with our customers has to change. Satisfaction ratings are at their worst since 2015, according to the Institute of Customer Service

People want to deal with real people that understand their needs and are willing to show their human side. More consumers are also prepared to walk away from a brand they love because of just one bad experience.

So this is the right time to get to know your customers, to find new ways to connect and to gather feedback. Make it easy for them to contact you, really listen to their ideas and suggestions, find ways to make them smile and put things right if you can when things go wrong.

Simple but effective steps you can take right now. Getting into the right customer service habits will always be the right thing to do. Some things will never change!

If you want to talk to us about your brand and how to introduce some of the new habits we’ve discussed in this blog, let us know. Fill in the contact form on our website by clicking this link:

Why it’s make or break for your brand

As business owners, we might feel like we’re in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ right now but not if we start thinking differently. We can get through this if we change our mindset.

But, before we get into the ‘how’, we need to look at the ‘why’. Let’s go back to last year when Covid-19 took over our lives and threatened our businesses. Why didn’t we see it coming?

Maybe it’s because, as business people, we’re natural optimists. Or, as problem-solvers, we find a way to deal with most challenges. Perhaps, more likely, it’s because we never really think the unthinkable.

Okay, yes we plan for risk and make our forecasts, but, this is exactly why we need to change our perspective. It’s ‘make or break’ time for our brands.

We have to think round corners to make sure that the global pandemic doesn’t destroy our livelihoods.

So how can we do this? There are two topics below that will challenge your thinking.   

Topic 1: Time to diversify?

One thing you can do is change your offer. It’s a risky move but diversification can lead to new markets and new customers.

By adding new products or services, or even launching into new sectors, you can add value to your business and your brand. Ask yourself and your team:

  • Is there a gap in the market?
  • Is there demand for something new?
  • Can you adapt your business to meet this need?

Start by weighing up the risks before you invest time or money. Then think about the untapped expertise you have within your business that you could exploit. Where could this take your business?

Don’t forget to ask your customers what they want because buying habits have changed dramatically since lockdown began.

Most of us now buy online, buy from businesses we trust and buy into more ethical brands. There are some startling findings in the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020.

Also, make sure to get the right people with the right skills you need to support your new venture. Take a look at The Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs‘ skills and employment programmes: information for employers.

Topic 2: Time to innovate?

An even bolder step is to reimagine your business completely. For opportunists, innovators and entrepreneurs, this is your year. Change direction, change your brand, why not change everything?

Did you know that lockdown has spawned thousands of new businesses across the UK? Often this has meant specialists in one sector closing up shop and starting again in a different sector. Yes, scary but true, and probably unthinkable before the pandemic.

So what can you do? What’s the big idea? Where’s the opportunity? Every business is different so we don’t have any pearly words to share here except to say be brave, be bold and be different.

We’re running free webinars from April so sign up now if you want to join us. We’ll be sharing our thoughts, predictions and ideas together on how we can all survive and thrive through 2021 and beyond. It’s good to talk!

To sign up please click on this link


Core values, trust, branding

Do customers value your brand?

Trust has always been important to customers and we’re now told that 70% of people are buying from a business because of its values. 86% of consumers will only support authentic brands.

The global pandemic has helped to drive this shift which is why we should all be focussing on social connections, meaningful relationships and keeping it real.

Being a force for good and showing customers that we genuinely care will keep our businesses relevant during these strange and uncertain times. We must think about ways to surprise people with small acts of kindness and show the human side of business.

So, if doing ethical business is the new benchmark, how do we know we’re one of the good guys? If the answer to all of these questions is, yes, then you’re going in the right direction:

  • Are the things you value evident in everything you do?
  • Do you gather feedback and act on it – good or bad?
  • Do the people you work with share your ethics?

Right now we need to do more. We need to give people a reason to do business with us by living the values we sign up to and by winning trust and appreciation for what we do. We need to improve our service offer and communication channels. We need to show that we’re still relevant.

If our brand values are clear and connect with people, then we won’t just survive, we’ll thrive.

Branding, trusted relationships, social connection, authenticity

Is your brand future-proof?

Let’s face it the world has changed. The ‘new norm’ means that we all have to do business differently now. Online commerce and communication are critical which means that your online presence as a business has to be strong and authoritative. 

Trusted relationships, social connection and authenticity are more important than ever because of the global pandemic. And all three of these things are rooted in your brand.

So how do we make sure that your brand is fit for this new normal? How do we protect and promote it?

Here are six things to consider:

  • Reality check – is your business still relevant? Is it trusted?
  • Survive and thrive – take a look at every aspect of your business from the risks you face to the opportunities you can see in your sector
  • Make the change – think digital marketing and social engagement
  • Stay connected – invest in building reliable relationships with partners and suppliers
  • Care for your customers – go the extra mile whenever you can and ask for genuine feedback
  • Be a force for good – live and breathe your values and keep it real

Remember, brands change and evolve. This ‘new norm’ could just be the best business opportunity you’ve ever had. It’s time for hope but it’s also time for action.

Startup business, branding

Why day one starts with your brand

The moment you decide to start up a business, you need to think brand. It’s the key to every successful company – no matter how big or small. It makes you stand out from your competitors; it adds value to your offer and it connects you with your customers. It’s a cornerstone of your business. 

If you don’t invest a little time and money to get your brand right at the start, it will cost you a lot of money further down the line – even your livelihood and your reputation could be at stake! 

If you understand your brand, your image will be clear and consistent – and it will have a personality. Your customers will have a bond with you, they will know what to expect from you and they will trust you. They will stay loyal and recommend you. People will want to work for you and with you. 

So as a start-up business, that’s why it’s important to think about your brand from day one – it should be part of your initial business plan – and it should stay on your business agenda. 

Think of your company as a person. What’s its DNA? What does it look like, what does it sound like? And, what does it feel like? Now think about your favourite brand and ask the same questions. You know exactly what you’re buying into, don’t you? 

And when you’ve established your business, your brand should always be under review because your business changes. You launch new services and products – you start to compete in different markets. Rivals try to poach your customers and often copy you which is flattering but also threatening. 

Great brands evolve because we live in an ever-changing world and customers are savvier these days. They trust recommendations by friends and family. They’re not afraid to complain or compliment. The power of social media can make or break your business so you have to protect your brand by keeping it strong and relevant.