June 17, 2020
Vice President and Editor-in-Chief, CO—
Since its onset over a year ago, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted countless businesses across the globe. Many shops were forced to shut down, then modify or even fully pivot their operations prior to reopening. However, there are ways to successfully navigate a change in direction while also instilling confidence in your customer base.
Business Owners Must Communicate Changes to Their Customers to Instill Confidence in Their Brand
Dave Smith, partner, president, and CFO of Penna Powers, listed three things businesses can do in these uncertain times.
“The first thing they need to do is look at how to adapt and innovate,” he explained. “[They must] adapt their business operations to be able to still operate during this time and protect both their customers and employees.”
“We need to communicate as small businesses,” Smith continued. “We need to let our customers know that we’re open and we’re operating, and we’re taking all the necessary precautions, and let them know there’s still an opportunity for them to patronize our business.”
“Third, we need to instill that confidence that we are taking all necessary precautions to protect our customers and employees and demonstrate that,” he said, emphasizing the importance of explaining any updated hygiene and cleaning protocols.
Small Businesses Must Refine Their Brand to Make It Easier on Customers
Molly Mazzolini, partner and director of brand integration at Infinite Scale, encouraged small business owners to stay on the pulse of their industry amid the pandemic.
“I have been seeking out sports industry news through virtual conferences and webinars and even new podcasts that are coming out,” Mazzolini added. “Most of those are free or minimal in terms of the price to participate.”
Mazzolini also emphasized that small businesses should refine their branding to reflect the reality of the world, their industry, and their store.
“Be sure to update your imagery, be sure to refine your brand with the copy, and be sure to address and point out that we are in a new normal,” she said — for example, using photos of people wearing masks can help your brand feel more current.
Within this branding, small businesses should also clearly communicate any changes to their operations: “Put your hours on the Instagram profile, put your hours on the door, but make sure to remove your old hours,” she added. “You have to make it easy on [your customers].”
Finally, Mazzolini shared one final piece of advice from late NBA commissioner David Stern: “Be decisive, be calm and be visible. That relates to you and your brand.”
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