This year we’ve all had to stand back and take a fresh look at the way we do things, in one way or another. Our personal, family and business values are being challenged like never before, and many of us are going through a period of reflection and re-evaluation.
If you are of a mindset to apply a new perspective to your business, and particularly to the way you position and present your brand, here are three key questions that might be useful to explore with your team.
Are my brand values still valid?
Brand values aren’t just warm and fuzzy beliefs: they are the foundation on which your customer promise stands, the touchstone for your company culture, and the basis for your employee behaviours.
How long ago were your values written? Are they still relevant? Do they still resonate with your customers and employees? Do they distinguish you as a brand, or could they belong to any company? What positive impact could changing or adapting your values have on your brand promise and proposition?
Is it time to change the way we communicate?
Whether you’ve received emails from national retailers or seen posts from a local trader, you can’t help but see the change in the way companies are communicating. Whether B2C or B2C, the most important thing has been to connect with customers at a personal level and address the issues that matter most to them.
While many businesses are powerless to make changes, those that can are showing determination, flexibility and a willingness to listen to what people really want from them. In return, customers are appreciating the responsiveness and responsibility that organisations are taking for doing their best to help – this is a time when loyalty is likely to be tested, and in many cases, built in new and unexpected ways.
People like it when you cut the cr*p, tell it how it is and ask them what they think. Which could mean reviewing your brand and marketing messages (what you say) or updating your brand tone of voice (how you say it).
Are we communicating with our teams effectively?
Many businesses will have discovered just how amazing their team members can be in unusual circumstances. There is a huge power in everyone pulling together in the same direction, and if that’s happening more than ever now, ask yourself why. The chances are it’s because you have great people who are giving all the extra effort that they can. But are you doing – or could you be doing – anything different to influence and support that?
Just like customers, employees appreciate direct, honest and immediate communication. If you’ve been making an extra effort to keep everyone informed, and you’re seeing a difference because of it, that’s something to sustain over the long term. Maybe you’ve started using a new app, finally got to grips with Microsoft Teams or simply sharing more information more frequently – whatever you’re doing, if it’s working and increasing the sense of camaraderie and collaboration, then keep doing it.
Similarly, recognition plays a huge part in employee engagement, and receiving spontaneous praise or thanks from peers, managers and customers can be far more powerful than formalised recognition schemes. How can you make sure that the feeling of being appreciated isn’t dispelled over time?
Everything we go through informs our future actions
There’s a lot we can learn from each other in the way we react to adversity, but there’s also a great deal we can learn about ourselves, as individuals and as organisations. We just need to practise taking a step back, looking at what we’re doing from an objective viewpoint, and then finding ways to keep doing the things that we’ve learned to do better under pressure.
And that includes asking for help whenever you need it.