Tools and strategies to sustain your business and your brand
Love it or loathe it, working from home is the new normal, and no matter where the current pandemic takes us, it’s likely to remain part of our lives at least to some extent. The same goes for online shopping, which has seen a huge spike throughout this crisis; the bricks-and-mortar shops will open again, but old habits die hard. So how, in this new world of increasing physical and geographical distances, can you keep your team connected – to each other as well as your customers? Here are some tools and strategies to support your business communication throughout this crisis.
The digital office space
No one is a stranger to Zoom anymore, and an increasing number of organisations have found additional platforms for keeping their teams connected and the business communication going strong. From Slack and Teams to Trello and Asana, there are endless ways to keep your projects progressing and your colleagues in the loop, most of them featuring clever functionalities and sleek design.
Which platform suits your business best depends on exactly what you need it for, but it’s a good idea to create a dedicated space within it for social chats and banter. When the daily updates at the coffee machine go, staff need other ways to stay connected. Video calls naturally bring the benefit of seeing each other face to face while working through the crucial day-to-day business communication, but they lack that immediacy of a spontaneous comment, and most of these multi-purpose platforms feature ways to make up for that.
Digital sales and customer support
Your employees are not the only ones who need to feel connected – your clients and customers do too. At a time when most people are struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation, chat bots and delayed email responses simply aren’t enough to replace the face-to-face advice and in-person meetings that used to make up the backbone of your business communication.
You either keep doing what you’ve always been doing, except with staff sending emails and making calls from their bedrooms with sometimes substandard reception and connectivity, or you decide to use this as an opportunity to go the extra mile with your business communication.
What are you going to do with the time you used to spend travelling to client pitches or organising the shop front? Your expertise has gone nowhere, so why not make it shine with expert videos and free customer consultations? In the b2b world, anecdotal evidence suggests, it is worth putting some of this work in the hands of senior executives, as it will be reflected in the sales figures.
Branding with a human touch
It’s hard to make predictions in such exceptionally uncertain times, but the human touch that is so often beneficial in business communication in general, and marketing strategy in particular, is sure to work just as well, if not better, in times of crisis – and especially a crisis like this one. People are craving help and comfort. If your business helps people navigate these difficult times, they’ll want to hear about it.
If you provide distraction and a much-needed laugh, they’ll want to know. Frankly, even if your product or service is the kind of dull necessity that will never cheer anyone up, you can use human instinct to your advantage in your business communication – because never before have we had such a soft spot for people who care, who are kind and helpful. If your brand tone of voice gets an added touch of empathy right now, it’s likely to do everyone good.
Your brand in their hands
With e-commerce booming, if your business does any kind of online sales and delivers products, leaflets or other materials to the doors of your customers, you would be wise to remember the importance of human touch in business communication, beyond the tone of voice in emails and content marketing.
Not only did almost half of all respondents in a survey say that packaging helped to inform their purchase of a product they had never bought before the pandemic, but a majority also said that they almost always read packaging labels.
Understandably, health and safety turned out to be one major priority, as did sustainability. But the unpackaging experience is important in and of itself, as it’s a moment of interaction when you have your customer’s undivided attention.
Whether you’re in e-commerce or you interact with clients with direct mail and other printed materials, getting branded boxes, containers and folders is highly recommended. At a time when real interaction with both people and brands is very limited, these business communication touchpoints really matter. And when you can’t welcome your customers and clients into your office or boutique, why wouldn’t you go the extra mile with the packaging?