finance

ADVERTORIAL: Reputation as a strategic lever for businesses in a post-Covid world



Plotting a business’ course through an uncertain time is not easy. And yet, business leaders are starting to favour action over caution.

Running a business at the moment is about momentum. Progress is actually a differentiator.

This isn’t just about how you operate internally – it is about the perception of your operations, too. The great thing about momentum is that other people see it. A plan breeds confidence, even if it’s not perfect.

This is why your reputation has become a strategic lever. Positioning your business as on the move, making progress and trading through uncertainty are all positive signals your stakeholders may not otherwise receive. If we can’t have confidence in the wider political or economic situation, we can at least have confidence in specific businesses, certain defined sectors and even individuals.

The post-Covid world presents opportunities for nimble businesses. We have new ways of working; new, deep-rooted habits have formed; there is some pent-up consumer demand; certain segments of society have unspent savings; and generally we live more locally, supporting our communities with new-found vigour.

These are all trends that can support a corporate communications narrative.

And insights from our network of offices in the Far East, which is broadly ahead of us in terms of Covid, suggest many of those habits are going to stick. In fact, many communications campaigns are focusing on shopping local, staying local, thinking local. Health, the environment and a common purpose are all regular themes.

We have identified three communications approaches worth trying within this context.

The first is to embrace the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that has seen us get this far. Pivoting and fast-acting change that responds to customers’ needs will continue to resonate well. Look at how VisitScotland has had to shift from attracting overseas tourists to reminding Scots of what’s on their doorstep; or how Burger King made a virtue of having a limited menu by asking customers what to bring back.

The second is to recognise the shift from sales to support and find your niche in that space. Covid forced many businesses to find reasons to stay connected with their communities – now is not the time to relinquish those connections. Think about how EasyJet created home learning lessons about aviation and the physics of flying while their customers couldn’t fly; or how Scotmid stepped up to support countless community groups; or even how Brewdog has tackled climate change.

The third is to be flexible. We know there could be localised lockdowns, changes in Covid trends, new variants, even unforeseen threats that could once again reshape our trading environment. This is now the norm – so prepare a Plan B so you can keep that all-important momentum going. Think about how event organisers are looking at hybrid models or running ‘alternative endings’ to their campaigns so they can pivot in a different direction if the restrictions change.

Albert Einstein once said that life is like riding a bicycle – to keep your balance, you must keep moving. With all the uncertainty that lies ahead, I can’t think of a better analogy for how to tackle the coming months. How you communicate that approach might play a vital role in whether or not it works.

To find out more about Grayling, visit the website.



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