Week Two: Running a Business During an Economic Downturn

As we continue our series of Running a Business During an Economic Downturn, the question is always, “How to survive?” Survival brings out a fight or flight instinct. If you are ready for the fight, you need to start considering your weapons for battle. In the case of a small business, your services and products are your weapons that you will battle with. Adjusting your brand to fit the current market has to be a top priority. Businesses are no longer operating the way they used to. Consumers are buying more online than ever before. Employees aren’t leaving home to go to their offices. Our world has changed. Our market has changed. Has your business?

Week Two: Adjust Your Brand

Adjusting your brand is not a new concept. The pandemic did not create the need for this headline. In any economy you need to adjust your brand to meet the needs of your consumers. In the current economic climate, there’s just an awful lot to adjust to. We are seeing inflation at an all time high, gas prices are higher than ever before, consumers are making different buying decisions. Yes, consumers are still spending, but where and how they are spending has seen some changes since the beginning of the pandemic. Have you adjusted your brand to fit how your consumers are purchasing?

Case Study Example:

Let’s discuss the small locally owned home decor business as an example. This particular small privately owned business has a small Main Street storefront in a bustling Smalltownsville, USA. The business was 2 years old when the pandemic hit. Businesses were shut down. Families were homebound. Schools were closed. The pre-pandemic rejuvenated Main Street was a ghost town. The lure of this business was having access to beautiful home decor and specialty items locally. Instead of closing up, they went to social media and started weekly Live Sales Sessions. All of the sudden this locally owned business was using a flat rate shipping fee to ship their products all across the country and allowing locals to safely pick up their purchased items already bagged and tagged for pickup. They adjusted their brand to meet their own needs and to meet the needs of everyone at home missing going out to shop! Genius. Their business survived and is thriving. Doors have been open for a while now but they still host their weekly lives every single week to a much larger market!

Marketing Categories

So, what is your business doing to adjust your brand? In Week One of our Four Part Series, we discussed the importance of marketing and knowing where your marketing efforts need to be focused. Knowing your consumers and understanding where your products or services rank in order of their needs is vital to understanding branding and marketing correctly. So, where does your business fall into the following marketing categories:

  • Necessary Everyday Needs for Well-Being
  • Justifiable Expenses that Aren’t Necessarily Needed for Well-Being but Must Haves
  • Purchases that Can Be Delayed or Put Off
  • Completely Unnecessary Purchases

Knowing your marketing category and who your consumers are can help you adjust your branding to ensure you are reaching your full consumer base. Once you know your category and consumers, ask:

  • What differentiates your products or services from your competitors?
  • What do we do that draws attention to our current brand? / How do we get noticed now?
  • What do we do that helps our consumers?

Branding 101

Branding is more than just your logo. Branding is understanding what your product means to your consumers and how they value your product or service. Positioning your brand as a partner in their life can be done through correct marketing strategies and messaging. This positioning may extend or change your product offerings so that you can change your position from a Completely Unnecessary Purchase to a Justifiable Expense. Adjusting your branding to ensure your consumers see you as a product partner, a “product must have,” can single handedly save your business during an economic downturn.

That small home decor business went Live on social media to get personal with their shoppers, to create an experience where everyone was able to gather together, because we were all missing that feeling, and we all got to feel like partners in helping their business survive while we made our homes more comfortable for the long haul of being stuck in them. They repositioned their brand from Completely Unnecessary product purchases of “home fluff” to weekly “Must Get Togethers” to support a small business while purchasing Must Have items for our homes. They created a partnership and a large community that still gathers to show them love and support every single week. Sometimes, the good guys win. Sometimes, small businesses can teach us all a thing or two.

How Are You Adjusting Your Brand?

How are you adjusting your brand to meet the needs of your consumers right now? What are your consumers’ needs right now? How can you help them? Answering these questions while adjusting your brand with the answers will give you a leg up on your competition while gaining new customers as well.