What a crazy time we’re living in. We’re swimming in a sea of uncertainty, and maybe a good dose of fear. Some of us are experiencing unexpected downtime (not me). Some of us are running schools and restaurants in addition to our regular businesses. Our business landscape is changing. No one is entirely sure what the world will look like in a few months. We don’t know what the world will look like tomorrow. We have an opportunity to use this time to take stock and make sure our businesses are well positioned to succeed and thrive when things get back to normal. In other words, to make sure they are resilient.
I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience lately. We know that coming through this coronavirus pandemic, some people will live, and some will die, and hopefully some will thrive. Some businesses will live, some will die, and some will truly thrive. We all hope that the people and businesses we care about are the ones who will make it. And, hopefully, most of us are taking the steps to make sure we’re more likely to survive – to make sure we’re as resilient as possible.
Resilient brands will all be different, but they will all have similarities. To survive – and thrive – over the long haul, brands will need to know exactly who they are, and then walk their talk in everything they do. During crazy times like this, consumers and customers don’t have time or patience for hypocrisy. They will support brands that do what they say they will do. Who are who they say they are.
Last fall I explored how “first we build our brand, then the brand builds us” in an article. That concept has taken on a new depth and urgency lately, as businesses – and people – are on such shaky footing. Now more than ever, businesses who don’t live up to who they say they are will fail. This is the time for being true to ourselves and our brand with boldness, compassion, and creativity.
When we define our brand, we are putting a stake in the ground, declaring, “this is who I am, this is what I stand for, this is the problem I solve, this is what I’ll be true to, no matter what.” We build on and demonstrate that brand every day, in everything we do – how we treat our customers, the products and services we bring to market, how we treat our employees. During times like this, the ways in which we live out our brands – or betray our brands – will be on stark display. I would argue that “times like this” is the core reason we have brands – to guide us when things are uncertain.
In the midst of all this turmoil, so many companies and organizations are stepping up and doing the right things for their employees, their customers, and their communities. I predict these are the companies and brands that will come through this crisis strong and well positioned for successful futures. They are supporting their employees, customers and communities, and these people will support them as soon as they are able to.
I find it uplifting to see so many businesses come up with creative ways to both survive and help people, while remaining true to their brand. I also believe it’s very good business. Some of these brands are DOING something new now, but they are always BEING true to themselves – true to their brands. I’m featuring some of them on my Kim Schlossberg Designs Facebook page, with the hashtag #pandemichero. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Good Local Markets has revised their operations and worked with officials to safely keep the market open during this stay-at-home time, providing the public with healthy, natural, locally-grown food while providing local farmers and food producers a way to sell their goods. https://www.goodlocalmarket.org/
- Chef Chad Houser founded Café Momentum to give opportunity to young people coming out of the criminal justice system – kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance at a career or a future. Café Momentum’s internship program trains these young people to work every job in a restaurant, along with all the wrap-around social services to get them on the right path. Now that the restaurant can’t open, they’ve pivoted and the interns are preparing and delivering food kits to food-insecure students (much more insecure, with all the schools closed) and families in the community. Learn more here: http://cafemomentum.org/momentum-eats/
- Hye Rum and so many other breweries and distilleries have pivoted to start making much needed hand sanitizer for hospitals and medical offices. More here: https://www.kvue.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/hye-rum-producing-hand-sanitizer-coronavirus/ Fashion companies, such as Abi Ferrin in Dallas, are making and donating face masks. https://www.abiferrin.com/collections/face-masks
- A young man in Africa is building hand washing stations out of metal oil drums and putting them around by all the bus stops. He might be getting funding to turn this into a business that serves an important community need and makes a fair profit for himself. https://yen.com.gh/150667-mzansi-awe-mans-creativity-defeat-coronavirus-taxi-ranks.html
I’ll continue to post more of these as I find them. Please feel free to share any stories you come across. I don’t know about you, but now more than ever, I need all the positive news I can find!
I’m also hosting a Resiliency Group once a week, so our members can share with each other ideas, advice, resources, and encouragement while we each grow and maintain our own businesses during these unprecedented times. Schedule a quick call with me if you’d like to learn more about the group, or if you’d like to discuss your own (personal or business) brand strategy.
Stay home – wash your hands – leave some toilet paper for your neighbors – and stay well. Come out of this stronger and more resilient than ever.