Looking Forward

Unbelievably, it’s already been a full year since a pandemic changed the rules of business. At Russell Herder, we’ve seen our clients adapt, overcoming myriad challenges and uncertainties. We’re inspired by the work they are doing, for their clients and within their own communities.

As the world prepares for a new “normal”, here are some of the guiding strategies and tactics we’ve been watching:

Connection is key.

When the world goes into lockdown, what persists? Relationships. With family, friends, coworkers, and brands. Brands that were already a part of our life prior to the pandemic likely remained in some fashion; relationships might be hard to form, but they are also hard to break. How can this help you improve connection to your audiences?

According to an AdAge survey, The Evolution of Social Advertising through 2020, the number one platform in all countries was Facebook. Yes, other social platforms all have their place in a marketing strategy as well, but the emphasis placed on Facebook indicates audiences want and need something substantial when it comes to connecting.

Overall, the survey completed by AdAge found people are seeking more connections through social media—including with brands—as they look to stay safe during the pandemic. Especially in times where this becomes your only point of contact, it is critical to stay in touch.

Embrace the uncertainty

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world, many companies faced the choice of shutting down or embracing the new reality, adapting their marketing and business strategies in order to survive. Service industry firms sent their employees home, conducting business via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Restaurants moved to online ordering, offering to-go and pick-up meals.

For many businesses, the changes they implemented this year will become permanent as things return to normal, since consumer habits have also changed. This makes an effective digital commerce strategy and an engaging online footprint essential for any firm striving to stay competitive and relevant.

Establish Trust

Distinguishing yourself in a crowded marketplace is never easy. Simply offering convenience or appearing at the top of a Google search is not enough. Businesses that can evidence their value are a step ahead. Be purposeful in demonstrating how your company is positively impacting the lives of your employees and customers.

Establish a stake in the communities your business serves; customers and clients want to engage with brands they trust and whose values they admire.

Think a Step Ahead

Even though there’s no shortage of avenues and outlets to tell your story, implementing a marketing strategy that’s aligned with current trends and consumer preferences requires focus and discipline.

Yet it’s short-sighted to explore only how current trends are shaping your industry; the companies that are primed for success in 2021 and beyond are planning for the unexpected. A good marketing plan must be scalable, containing tactics that will produce success now, with enough flexibility to quickly capitalize on what’s next.

Act Quickly and Be Decisive

While plans are important, an excess of caution can be costly; the past year has clearly shown that perfect cannot be the enemy of good. Successful businesses understand that many choices can be re-visited down the road. It’s important to act while you can, with the best information available at that moment.

It will be hard to forget long lines at the grocery store, canceled trips, hand sanitizer and distance learning, but the most important lessons are found in the ways in which we became more engaged, more resilient and more human.

It’s clear that survival is a group activity; for that reason, we offer sincere thanks to our clients, friends and families. Together, we can embrace the future, and one day soon, each other.

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