7 Brands to Take Business Inspiration From During COVID-19
Businesses are being impacted like never before. COVID-19 has forced businesses to think out-of-the-box and continue functioning in ways, like we’ve never seen before.
As we collectively navigate through this global pandemic, it’s time to reimagine and reinvent business strategies that allow us to come out stronger, and profitable. The commitment to serve our customers and delight them even through these difficult times is enough driving force to keep at it.
While some businesses already had a basic foundation that needed tweaking to continue operation, others have had to make monumental shifts to their business strategies to stride over. It’s inspiring, as well as exciting, to see businesses come up with new and creative ways to maintain business continuity.
So what are some of the businesses doing to continue serving their customers?
As a customer, I have received communication regarding COVID-19 from many brands that I often interact with. While I feel each of these brands has done a commendable job at reassuring me that they will continue to serve me, some left a greater impact. Why? Regular and relevant communication, ease of doing business and multi-channel communication are some of the reasons that stuck with me. I have curated a list of 7 businesses that inspired and reassured me during these first-of-its-kind times that we are living through!
Inspiring and Reimagined COVID-19 Business Strategies
1. Swiggy — No contact delivery
Busy schedules, good food, the convenience of eating delectable food from the comfort of your own home, offers, promotions, exploring new food joints — these are just some of the reasons that almost everyone today uses food applications like Swiggy. Although only a few restaurants per area are functioning, Swiggy was one of the firsts to update their website and mobile application with a ‘No Contact Delivery’ option. It details how delivery partners could leave the food package at a central location outside residential buildings, or outside someone’s door to minimize contact, and thus the risk of spreading COVID-19. Here’s what the update on their application looks like:
2. ICICI — Reinventing promotional messaging
Not only did I receive multiple emails and text messages from ICICI informing me that their online banking services can combat the need for me to physically visit one of their branch locations, but they also did a great job at churning out some crafty promotional messages. The organization has been using this current situation to their advantage, without being insensitive or using it as a time to push obnoxious offers. Here’s one of the emails I got; the crisp and to-the-point copy text was a pleasant welcome:
3. GoAir — Updated website Homepage with COVID-19 safety block
With the travel industry coming to a complete halt, it was almost immediately necessary for all travel businesses to get into action and reach out to customers with information regarding the same. Since email communication may sometimes get ignored in a busy inbox, the need to update website information became top priority. Here’s how GoAir, updated their website Homepage with clear and concise content blocks dedicated to COVID-19:
4. Pizza Express — Safety and precaution update email
A successful business always runs with a customer-first approach. Not every business is capable of running and doing business during these times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t communicate with your customers. A simple email communication informing customers about a business shutdown, and a heartfelt message that shows you care is all you need to reinstate the trust and credibility of your brand. Here’s an email I received from one such brand that I can’t wait to get back to:
5. Scribd — Thought leadership
It’s time like these that leaders need to lead from the front and make important decisions. Hearing from leaders — of the country, an industry, or a brand — establishes trust and evokes a feeling of reliability. If you are a business owner, or managing communication for your brand, let your customers hear from those who are the face of the brand. The CEO of Scribd stepped up and directly communicated with customers, through the brand’s website. It’s a message that’s reassuring, acknowledges the current situation and includes a great offer for the customers. Take a look at it:
6. Nykaa — Continued email communication
Impactful communication is an ongoing process. Sure, send emails and text messages to inform your customers about the situation, and how your brand is striding over — what next? Keep the communication going, keeping it relevant and useful. This brand has pleasantly surprised me with consistent communication that talks about all the important things, while sticking to an on-brand style of communication. Check it out:
7. Airtel — Text message
Like most traditional industries, telecommunication stuck to traditional channels of communication too. While I did receive email communication from my service provider, I also received timely updates through text messages. An active email ID or not, everyone today has a mobile phone and thus text messages have a wider reach. This is a simple, to-the-point text message that I received:
Inspiring, relevant, useful, and a much needed initiative by these brands has definitely left a positive impact on me – their customer. It’s your turn now, to start, or reinvent your brand strategies to let your customers know that you’re there for them and willing to go the extra mile to continue serving them.
PS: It’s not all serious! If you, like me, are surprised to learn the facts about how often we touch our face — and we all know that’s one thing we have to stop doing now — amongst all the funny memes and jokes I stumbled upon, I think I hit jackpot with this website – www.donottouchyourface.com
Check it out; have some fun!
Don’t Be That brand!
While we’ve been talking about what we can do, must do, and should think about doing, there are some things we must steer clear from. This is a time to be sensitive and sensible towards our employees and customers, while also ensuring that we continue doing business in the best way possible. Keeping that in mind, here are certain things you should not be doing:
- Do not create or share fake news
- Do not advocate news from unreliable sources
- Do not value business goals over employee or customer needs
- Do not create panic
- Do not use this as a marketing opportunity for business growth
If you haven’t chalked out a plan yet, start by thinking about the new business plans you need to overcome this situation. Keep your customers and employees as your first priority, and then start by mapping out all the things you need to do to continue growing.
Communication, both internal and external, is the most important aspect to consider and work on.
The next steps may include:
- Get a domain name and a hosting package, and run your business online.
- Updating brand website or application
- Multi-channel communication
- Steps for business sustainability
- Safety and precaution measures
- Offers and promotions that benefit both brand and customers
Take inspiration from competitors and other businesses doing their best, and inspire others with innovative working practices.