These are difficult times in the economic landscape. Almost every industry, sector, and organisation has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. What most businesses fail to realise is that a key component to continuity – and the ongoing recovery – lies largely within your marketing team.
There are many reasons why this comms department is the proverbial ‘secret sauce’ in this case, and five of the leading factors can be further explained here…
The marketing team can make people feel important and valued through its ability to understand what problems the organisation’s target audience faces. Their experience of building strong relationships with prospects and existing customers – over lengthy periods of time – goes a long way towards solidifying brand loyalty. And this results in deepening those all-important conversations with long-term advocates who maintain engagement even during tricky times.
Additionally, from an internal communications perspective, the marketing team is also able to fully comprehend the worries and concerns of employees – and use that understanding to change perceptions and communicate openly and honestly.
Building upon empathy — and adding honesty and trust into the mix — serves to make a brand voice feel credible. During hard times, brands come under heavy scrutiny to ensure that they are ‘reading the room’ when it comes to messaging. Remaining authentic and being intrinsically human will drive the level of communications that help to instil confidence and continue to be relevant even during a crisis.
Modern-day marketers should already be skilled in how they accurately portray their business’s core values because this is their ‘bread and butter’. And the team will typically be able to respond with the zeitgeist in mind by preparing and distributing sympathetic communications that land well with both employees and the organisation’s end users.
Once the audience is understood and authenticity underpinned, having a robust but agile communications strategy in place is vital for organisations that are not only focused on building brand loyalty with customers, but also with encouraging employee engagement.
Moving beyond the current crisis — and looking ahead to any future possible economic disasters — remote and hybrid working will continue to grow. Therefore, instilling a flexible and autonomous culture with a deconstructed hierarchy boils down to a marketing team that can communicate this effectively. Strong employee engagement during times of hardship should also ultimately benefit the business’s bottom line.
Do not underestimate the forward planning abilities of people in marketing. Exposed to many different organisations and stakeholders, this team should not only be fully up to date with what’s happening within their industry landscape, but it is also a comms professional’s job to identify future trends.
A culture of being ‘always on’ means that savvy marketers are well-placed in identifying new directions and can subsequently plan accordingly. And this type of strategic thinking can often result in a business that is in a better position to be able to weather the storm.
Business continuity and recovery are about evaluating the current state of play of the organisation and steadying the ship – when required – with on-brand messaging. Coming up with ideas to support both the wider team and the enterprise’s end-users in creative ways is a key function of a well-oiled marketing team.
Without fresh and innovative thinking from colleagues who can embrace an agile mindset and adapt to an ever-evolving climate, a brand could get lost amongst the vast array of online noise that’s clamouring to make themselves heard during times of adversity.
Including the marketing team is a core component of any disaster recovery plan and should be central to a business’s continuity strategy. And successfully managing internal and external brand voice is a crucial factor when it comes to a firm’s best chance of survival.
The full range of a marketing team’s skills – including its strategic vision, future planning capabilities, and finely honed communications — are all underpinned by the ability to express empathy, be authentic and truly understand how to positively impact the company’s bottom line with customer relationships at the heart of everything.
This article first appeared here.