Here are 7 Steps To Take Now
For most U.S. companies, it continues to be a long, bumpy and unpredictable road back from COVID-19. Few recent studies underscore that fact as pointedly as the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. When the global communications company wanted to get a read on brand trust in the age of COVID-19, they heard from more than 12,000 people in twelve countries and the findings are stark and sobering. Two that jumped out at me were:
- 27% of American customers punished brands for their actions in response to the pandemic. Please note: when they said “punished,” these customers didn’t just walk away from a brand. They actively worked to take other customers with them. They “convinced other people to stop using a brand that I felt was not acting appropriately in response to the pandemic.”
- 69% of American customers said that “brands and companies that I see placing their profits before people during this crisis will lose my trust forever.”
Think about that. I do. Every brand leader must. So when I saw this recent article by Doug Reifschneider for retailcustomerexperience.com, I appreciated his survival plan for brands or what he calls “Resiliency Programs.”
Reifschneider builds his 7 R’s around a 3-step military model for surviving a crisis. It’s a quick read and an extremely useful framework for approaching and adapting your own brand’s survival plan.
You can check it out here. For a deeper understanding of the recent survey, you can read the details of the Edelman Trust Barometer study here.
If you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can help your brand bounce back from COVID-19 – and be better prepared to deliver a seamless customer experience in the future – please reach out. We would love to talk.
The 7 Rs of resiliency programs
By Doug Reifschneider, CMO, Chief Outsiders
The COVID-19 crisis is changing the economy in extraordinary and unexpected ways. But private equity firms can help their portfolio companies take some crucial steps in weathering the storm, and recovering when the clouds lift.
The world’s best epidemiologists only have models to predict the full depth and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic, but companies are already feeling the economic fallout. They’re scrambling to find the best way to respond, and in many cases, survive, all the while being rightly concerned for the health of their families and communities. It’s not easy, and this is no time to pretend otherwise.
Some enterprises might be dusting off contingency plans for downturns or large-scale threats, but this moment requires more than that. It demands a resiliency program, one that’s clear-eyed and proactive. If the outlook is too bleak or too rosy, the result can be the same dangerous inertia. But there are a series of initiatives that can counter that.
The 7 Rs of Resiliency Programs is a checklist that can help frame and direct the efforts to respond to COVID-19. It’s based on a mental framework from the US Marines that is centered on three steps in coping with a crisis: improvise, adapt and overcome. Plenty of people are improvising at this point, but it’s time to look at more constructive ways to adapt and plan for a recovery.
Review costs. Most people are already doing this, as they’d have to be asleep at the wheel if they weren’t. Still, beyond cancelling recurring services that are simply irrelevant, like window washing, it can involve hard calls about labor and supplies. A lot of restaurants, retail brick and mortar and even brand HQs are furloughing employees and the current stimulus will help alleviate that pain, but those cuts need to be executed without crippling the resiliency program.
Reassign tasks. Sometimes the best thing a company can do is focus on what it can give back. In the short term, that can be repurposing the business for strictly philanthropic purposes. For example, one restaurant used its parking lot for a Red Cross Blood Drive. It doesn’t address the bottom line, but it establishes the business as a partner in the community.
Rethink offerings. For restaurants that never considered takeout or delivery options, this is the time to launch those. For retailers, this can involve more online ordering and curbside pick-up. But creativity is key here. Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao was centered around its all-you-can-eat in-house dining experience. So they became a butcher shop, offering their unique cuts of meat so folks could cook them at home. It’s a savvy way to redeploy inventory and keep sales from cratering completely.
Another example is the company Wow Bao, that created a special licensing deal to allow other restaurants to produce and sell its dumplings by selling the ingredients and a few pieces of equipment to do so.
Reconsider sacred cows. As businesses rethink their offerings, they can run smack into certain “sacred cows” that seem to be integral to their identity. That high-end eatery may balk at delivery options, since that fish dish might be ruined in the thirty or forty-five minutes it takes to deliver it. This is no time for those kinds of pretensions. Find a way to make meal packs, which are popular now, or focus on offerings that can be delivered successfully. Several restaurants have created pop-up drive throughs, with no more than a tent and a landlord’s blessing. And the likes of Home Depot have shifted to curbside pick-ups even though it prided itself on counseling customers in the store.
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