Around 54% of small businesses have reported unsustainability due to the pandemic, but what has not been brought to light is the effect the crisis has caused on well-established brands, as well. Disney’s yearly revenue has gone down by 31%, hotels worldwide have been losing 42% of jobs, fashion brand Gucci has had a 23% decrease, with other luxury brands even seeing revenue drops as low as 90% in year over year sales. Amidst the declines, the question arises: How do you respond to a crisis in business? This article will go in-depth about different strategies established brands have taken along with insightful information to help you reevaluate your own business during pandemic hardships.
The Effect on Brands
While industries across the board had been affected by the virus, some companies actually managed to increase sales during the crisis. Luxury brands Versace, Jimmy Choo, and Michael Kors announced an 11.9% increase in a Q1 analysis, and Hermes flagship store in Guangzhou accumulated 2.7 million in sales in one day; which is the polar opposite effect on brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Bulgari, and Fenty who had reported a 15% decrease in Q1 sales.
Additionally, consumer behaviour in response to COVID has fluctuated immensely since the initial start of the outbreak to recent lifts of restrictions. Behaviour once starting out as mass panic buying is now slowly easing back into normal shopping habits prior to the pandemic. As the virus begins to diminish, the U.S. has predicted an overall 11% growth in retail shopping with hopes to increase even more. “A few months into COVID-19, consumer shopping online has increased significantly across many categories, stated McKinsey & Company. “Even discretionary categories such as skincare and makeup, apparel, and jewellery and accessories show expected customer growth of more than 15%.”
To escape being dragged down by the pandemic’s effect, you may be wondering, how do you manage brand crisis? The companies that flourished amid the virus outbreak can be great brand crisis examples to learn from, in seeing what strategies they have implemented and how to escape the negative effects of COVID.
Strategies in Response to Shopping Behaviour
When figuring out brand crisis management to combat the effects of COVID-19, remember to try out different methods and create a personalised plan to maximise the chances of success. Below is a list of tips to implement within your own strategy:
Adapt Your Products: Most companies never sell masks until the start of the pandemic, even if your own business has never sold COVID-safety products, now is a great time to add it to your inventory. Since buying behaviour deterred away from the retail market initially, the industry beginning to sell masks to their customers helped produce a form of revenue or could be an added bonus along with a consumers shopping cart. High-end brand 3.1 Phillip Lim added masks with Fuze Pathogen Control to their website for consumers to shop along with its signature clothing products.
Show Support: It’s important during the crisis to show support not only to your consumers but also to non-profit organisations. You should be considering your business as a platform that can be used and is capable of helping others; the benefits of aiding others will also show customers the beliefs behind a brand and will most likely increase consumer loyalty. Fashion brand Tory Burch started offering masks to consumers without any benefits for themselves. The cost of the mask was to be broken into the production of making the mask and $5 each being donated towards the Medical Corps and Tory Burch Foundation. Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and Channel have also produced and shipped out hundreds of thousands of protective clothing to health care workers at no cost to show their appreciation to the medical industry.
Network: Your brand should not be relying on only one manufacturing company to produce your company’s products. Travel bans put in place and businesses needing to downsize, your brand should be creating a network to sustain itself during the pandemic. It is smart to keep up with business relationships as a way to also negotiate prices for manufacturing and shipping inventory.
Communicate: There is an approximate 1.8 billion people around the world that shop online. Screen time use is now growing with more consumers than ever browsing through social media and the internet, it’s crucial for your brand to stay connected to your audience. This is a great time for your business to utilise popular platforms to reach people and essentially create a loyal customer base when the pandemic is completely gone. Makeup brand Glossier has taken the approach of updating and connecting with customers through their website’s blog that is being promoted on their Instagram. In a recent post, Glossier informed consumers of their COVID-precautious and about their retail store decisions.
Advertise: As mentioned above, people are spending more time on their screens than ever before. Increasing your visibility will therefore be a great factor in your sustainability as the pandemic eases. Your business should be taking the initiative to research different platforms to promote and advertise based upon where your audience populates for successful results as per bringing in traffic to your website.
Maintain Your Site: This is a great time for your company to take advantage of and utilise free time by working on your brand’s website. Whether your company decides to update content, intertwine more keywords into text, or work on backlinking, these are all great ways to help with ranking and online visibility. Along with these methods, you should not lose hope if your business is not seeing immediate results. These tips create a base and sustainability for the longevity of your online sales.
Even in times of uncertainty, sustaining your business and working on new strategies will help out your brand long term. Your company may not be seeing results immediately but in the long run, creating connections, boosting visibility, and maintaining your site will lead to better results, so remember to not lose hope amidst COVID instant effects.