A Good Time to Rebrand
I recently conducted a seminar on brand marketing strategy for members of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong. The coronavirus pandemic had a major impact on all business sectors across the world. It has brought global tourism to a standstill. More than 300 travel industry experts signed up for my seminar. The organizer described it as a record high. The chairperson, Mrs. Chen, half-joked at the availability of those who attended. She also expressed how she was heartened by the never-say-die spirit demonstrated by the people of Hong Kong in embracing the future.
Pursue Survival and Reimagine your Playbook
Frankly speaking, there’s a limited scope of products and services that Hong Kong’s tourism industry can promote during this crisis. The industry should offer everything it can to survive – be it staycations or dining with pets. Small and medium-sized travel agencies must pivot and cut expenditures to sustain operations. At the same time, they must look ahead.
Prepare to Embrace the New Normal
Some bosses or marketers are waiting for the crisis to pass and for things to return to normal. The pandemic will eventually pass, but we should not hope that everything will return to how they were. Consumption patterns, consumer habits, and how businesses are run have changed. They will no longer be the same. Even the ‘normal’ and ‘new normal’ of the future have changed. So, don’t stop and wait. Take action now to secure your brand positioning once the market recovers.
Branding and Value Position
When times are good, some businesses need not be overly concerned with strategizing. Setting competitive prices through marketing is not that relevant to win consumers over. As an intermediary agent, I have to repeatedly remind my business clients that technological advancement coupled with the pandemic situation drives changes in online consumer behavior. Low price positioning will become less relevant over time.
Rebranding goes beyond the company name and logo. It involves reassessing the value, uniqueness, and identity of your company. What differentiates your business, and what do you want prospects to associate your brand with? They set the brand apart from competitors in consumers’ minds. This goes even if your product is not the cheapest in the market.
Insights from Swimming Coaches Who Have Pivoted During the Crisis
I know two swimming coaches who both recently resumed operations without holding physical classes. Swimming pools remain closed and parents still prefer to keep their children at home. Instead of being idle, both coaches have been very active online and offline. One conducts a physical fitness class online. It’s called “Dry Swimming,” and he engaged his students and many others. It has proven very popular with parents and children alike. Not only does it keep children active and healthy, it can also be liberating for those parents who are working from home. The other coach actively reached out to education centers and potential partners. He’s exploring collaboration opportunities like joint publicity. What the two coaches have done is a prime example of using the subtle, soft-sell approach over hard selling their swimming classes. Doing so raises brand awareness among their prospects. Having a brand occupy the customer’s top of mind translates directly to business opportunities when the time is right!
Seize the Moment
This is my advice to small and medium-sized enterprises and even to established brands:
“Reposition your brand; there’s no better time to do it than now.”