Updated: May 29, 2020
As cities, states, regions, and the nation begin to reopen, brands in nearly every industry are faced with the challenge of adjusting and evolving so they can be viable. Depending on the type and size of a business, this can be a daunting task. To help, we have outlined a brand reintroduction checklist to help get businesses started.
Tip #1: Know the Laws
Before you begin to evaluate what you are capable of operationally, you need to know what is allowed by your industry within your state, county, and city. Some industries have more COVID-19 restrictions than others, so it is important to have a deep understanding of the restrictions that impact you. The restrictions will evolve and change, so it is very important to make sure you're always up to date with the latest announcements.
Tip #2: Research Your Category
Once you understand what restrictions are in place for your industry, it is a good idea to see what others in your category are doing. There may be things you can learn based on their experiences. For example, a competitor or similar business may be getting public backlash for something that is allowed within current restrictions. You can take that knowledge and apply it to how you will offer your services. Conversely, you may see that another business is getting positive feedback from customers in another area, so you can take that information and apply it to your own business.
Tip #3 Research your market & region
Beyond researching your category, it may be helpful to see what other types of businesses in your market or region are doing. Perhaps you own a garden center, you can find out how grocery stores are enforcing one-way isles or how a restaurant is succeeding in providing curbside pick-ups efficiently. Use that new found knowledge to your advantage.
Tip #4 Communicate
It is imperative that you are communicating internally with your team AND externally with customers. Internally, you need to make sure ALL employees understand the laws and restrictions that are relevant to your industry (see tip #1). Additionally, everyone on your staff needs to know how to implement new practices to remain compliant. Externally, your customers need to know how they can interact with your brand safely. Messages on your website, in advertising, on social media, and in e-newsletters need to be consistent. Communication needs to continue and remain consistent throughout the shopping and transactional experience for guests as well.
Tip #5 Have a PR Plan
This will be more important for some industries than others, but everyone needs a plan. What will you say when a news organization calls to ask why/when you are opening? The media may want to know why you are or are not offering a specific service despite current restrictions. If you followed tip #4, you will be prepared for this. Everyone on your team needs to know who they are directing press to, and that specific person needs to have a strategy for messaging.
Tip #6 Have a Secondary Plan
It is safe to say that everyone was scrambling a bit in March when restrictions started being implemented. No one wants to be caught flat footed a second time. As you begin to operate your business in the “new normal”, have a plan in place if old restrictions are implemented again and your services need to take a step back. Make a plan now to adjust operationally so you can maintain a safe and profitable business.
While there is not a cookie cutter solution to reintroducing a brand, our team at Eleven Twenty-Three has done incredible work leading to great results with these six steps in mind. Through opportunistic media buys, creative pivots, social media management, and strategy optimization and implementation, our team has placed the brands we work with in a position to succeed as restrictions are lifted.If you are currently working with an agency, it’s important to set-up regular communication during this time. Zoom meetings every other week can be helpful to make sure you are on the same page with a plan to set you up for success. If you are not currently working with an agency, make sure you communicate steps with your internal team so everyone is relaying the same information to customers. Now more than ever it’s important that you stay focused on the operations of your business. We all want to make sure our community succeeds as we navigate through the re-entry process.
Author: Ryan Stauffer