Earlier this week I reached out to a dozen locals to see how they’re doing with the orders to lay low because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the get-go we slipped into a comfortable banter, sometimes mentioning personal concerns or situations, drifting over to politics or touching on local events.
I conducted the interviews over the phone, which is not my favorite format. I much prefer living room sofas or front porches.
I realized later that it was from building relationships over the years that the conversations came so easily. We may not be best friends, but we know and trust each other.
DURING THESE times of uncertainty such relationships are more important than ever for us in the business world.
Despite the temptation, it’s not the time to pull in. It’s what you do today that will matter when this crisis is done and over. By showing confidence in your product and changing to meet new demands, you show your customers that you provide a dynamite service.
Area restaurants and retailers, G&W Foods, and area lumber yards are great examples of this can-do attitude by making the extra effort to cater to customers through home deliveries or curbside service.
Their message is a positive “Our doors are open!” — even though they may not be literally.
The danger of laying low during these tenuous times is that going “quiet” is a death knell. It takes only a short while for a brand to fall off the radar of consumers.
Case in point:
Before the Great Depression, the dry cereal brand Post ruled the day. When hard times hit, Post cut back significantly its advertising budget while rival Kellogg’s upped its Snap, Crackle, Pop! marketing for Rice Krispies. People still needed to eat. Kellogg’s profits grew by 30% and it’s held the top position ever since.
GM’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “Keep America Rolling,” launched a decade of winning sales. GM’s message was we’re in this together and it’s by supporting each other that we’ll emerge stronger.
Today’s pandemic and its expected toll on the economy is also a lesson that we must prepare for the unexpected.
As far back as spring of 2019 we began the task of looking for someone new to host our website and overhaul its design. It took us a couple of tries, but by the fall we found the perfect match and now have a website team with the expertise to help us grow as a news and digital marketing business.
Having that in our toolbelt prepared us for today, confident that we can reach our customers on multiple platforms ensuring they are in the know no matter the circumstances.
PERHAPS the best example of the value of pushing ahead is by Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. When asked, “What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.”
We each have the choice to be in a friendship, a relationship or a business for the long haul. And if that’s your attitude, every day is a building block.