|Communicating in a Down Economy
By Michelle Adelson, May 27, 2009
We live in an ever-changing landscape where communication is instant and continuous. Consumers look toward connectivity, media, and communication channels to stay in touch with the market and their brand circles.
On the other side of the fence and in direct conflict with this behavior, often, when businesses are facing challenges and even scrambling to reposition themselves and strategically move forward, communication falls to the waste side. In these times, when decision makers and executives don’t know what to do, they tend to do nothing at all. There are notable consequences to this, resulting in uncertainty, a lack of confidence, and potentially a disconnect from target audiences.
However, there are simple methods and steps to combat this common dichotomy which begins with implementing a communication plan. Arming staff with vehicles and procedures to reach and stay connected to target audiences not only aligns internal teams, but creates a cohesive and meaningful solution to significantly reduce uncertainty, breed confidence, and build long-term loyalty in the market place.
Communication plans should be equipped with key elements that include defining the channels and methods that reach defined markets based on habits and how they engage with your company and brand. Ensure the key messages and brand positioning is relatable to the current environment, especially in today’s struggling economic conditions. Take the time to determine the issues and challenges facing customers. Address these topical matters directly in relation to your brand platform and how your business consistently responds. It is an opportunity to identify with your customers, and in return, have your customers identify with your brand.
As the world is engulfed in a recession, opportunities are present. As the poorly managed corporations fade into the sunset, astute entities take their place having paid attention to the constant ebb and flow of world trade and the enormous pace of technology. Incorporate the technology into your communication plan. Regular newsletters or announcements with relevant updates and information are valuable to customers, reinforce your brand, and allow you to stay in front of your target market while virally acquiring and managing audiences. Additional benefits in green communication include saving on printing and postage costs, being able to track your results, and doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.
In determining your vehicles of communication, segment your primary market from your secondary. With a narrowed reach, you are spending less on the customer base that does not maximize profitability nor possesses consistent buying behavior. In managing your marketing spend and efforts toward your premiere customer, you become laser focused on building loyalty, reduce spend for those who aren’t in for the long-haul (non brand loyalists), and ultimately increase your ROI.
Businesses in this market who are taking action to connect and stay relevant with their market are going to be poised for success. Don’t sit back on the sidelines, or wait and see what your competitors are doing. Engage your customer, understand them, and position your business to respond to their needs, concerns, and habits. Your customers and business will thank you.