COVID has left an unmistakable mark throughout our personal lives and businesses. To ignore how COVID has impacted business would be shortsighted. Now that 2021 is over, it’s time to look back over what we’ve learned about digital migration during the pandemic.
The Importance of Business Details Accuracy Can’t be Ignored
The pandemic exposed the struggle of brands to keep their information updated online. While major brands were quick to post announcements and make changes, many smaller companies struggled to keep information accurate, updated and consistent across all platforms. Key information that needs to stay updated regularly includes:
- Hours of operation
- Company policies
Information needs to be regularly updated across all channels or trust can be lost.
Having a customer show up to a store during new senior hours or after the new close time may drive that customer away in the future. The same is true if your SaaS customer service is experiencing longer wait times or your turnaround time changes. Companies experienced supply chain disruption and shortages because of the pandemic, leading to inventory issues that impacted consumer purchases.
The key to all of this is clear communication. While it is important to work on shoring up supply chains or bringing in new hires to improve turnaround times, the immediate issue is how problems are presented to your target audience. With as many changes as the pandemic caused, some businesses updated online in one place (like their website), leaving other listings inaccurate.
To be a trustworthy brand, you need to stay on top of communicating changes on your website, social media, Google, and other platforms listing your information.
Social Responsibility is a Crucial Part of Branding
Brands are responsible for more than just selling a great product or service. Consumers are more concerned than ever before that brands are taking social issues into account. This is going to include things like:
- Environmental responsibility
- Diverse voices on your teams
- Fairtrade and fair wages
- Sustainable products and services
- Workplace safety and integrity
Your online presence shouldn’t be business-centric. Your top concerns should include the concerns of your target audience, so discuss them in your content. Keeping your social commitment in the forefront of your messaging helps you stand out among the competition. Social responsibility goes beyond what you want to achieve (growth and sales) and focuses on the good of the community.
After two difficult years of pandemic, people want to support businesses that are after the greater good.
Agility vs. Resilience and Why the Ability to Pivot is Golden
Resilience is standing strong in the face of change, while agility is adapting to change. Brands must recognize that the pandemic has forever changed how people do business. This has created a market that requires agility and change, not holding steadfast in an attempt to wait out the storm.
Not only do brands have to change how they approach communication, policies, and team expectations, but they also have to look at what they offer. Many brands were severely impacted by the pandemic and had to pivot or go under. This may have been caused by disrupted supply chains, changing markets, or shutdown policies.
Companies that were able to see the writing on the wall and change course quickly have thrived in the COVID environment. Moving forward, brands have to be prepared to shift how they do business if something disrupts business as usual; agility should be the goal, not resilience.
The Value of Local Connections for Small Business
In a similar way, social responsibility is crucial for branding, local connection is also a vital part of a strong business. During the pandemic, the cry to “support local” was a huge boost for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMB). Even for strictly online brands, connect with a community (even a virtual community).
We’ve seen just how important it is to be connected to other brands and customer groups. Suppliers and retailers with no connection did not have loyalty on their side. When things get tough, businesses need people in their corner who want to see them survive.
Participate in “buy local” events and build community partnerships to help solidify your position in your community.
How the Team Impacts Digital Migration (And Vice-Versa)
Your team should personify the brand experience online. On the flip side, craft all content to support your team. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s just how tightly interlaced your people and your content are in the eyes of the consumer.
Use content to support your team by answering FAQs or offering tutorials they can give to customers with questions. Use your team’s knowledge and expertise to create valuable content for your audience. And, make sure your team is on the same page regarding brand voice, characteristics and goals.
Information Overload is a Thing and People Will Tune You Out
The age of information is giving way to the age of convenience. People don’t just want endless content, they want a personalized experience. COVID restrictions and quarantines pushed many people to spend more time online than they typically did before the pandemic.
In the first part of 2020, Statista noted that in-home data use went up 18% and most users spent more than 1 hour of additional time on social media each day.
So much time means exposure to far more content. The brain can only handle so much information before it is filtering out and forgetting things it sees. Inbound marketing acts on the understanding that people tend to tune out interruptive marketing. The pandemic, paired with the explosion of content publishing done online and on social media, has only served to drive home that truth.
People want value and if you aren’t readily offering it, they will bounce from your site within seconds.
The best way to do this is to fully answer real questions from an existing segment of your audience and keep it to the point. If you want help creating the kind of content that gets attention, we can help.
Schedule your call with Vinci Digital today and start your year off right.