Singapore’s Gross domestic product (GDP) is now expected to grow by just 0.6 per cent in 2020, down from the rosier 1.5 per cent projected at the previous survey in December 2019. Globally, an oil price war is fueling a market rout even as investors are panicking over the economic impact of the COVID-19.
If you are wondering how brands can use strategic communications to future-proof their business against a slowing economy, you are not alone. Here’s what PRecious’ communication experts have to say on this subject.
Guiding Principles Are Key During Times of Uncertainty
Every business is affected by the global economic downturn in one way or the other. The real challenge is that we are living in times of extreme uncertainty. Each day seems to bring a new problem. Therefore it is crucial in times like this for businesses, represented by its leaders, to keep authority and relevance. That often starts with admitting that you do not have all the answers, that you cannot guarantee how it will all turn out.
Strategic communications during uncertain times, therefore, must focus on what you can control and be transparent on your guiding principles rather than short-lived action plans that will be outdated and irrelevant faster than ever before.
Contributed by Lars Voedisch, Founder and Managing Director, PRecious Communications
Change Business and Communications Approach to Survive
Reflecting on this year’s first quarter, there is no denying that the Coronavirus is the black swan of 2020, well, at least so far. Markets are at record volatility, leaving several industries and businesses across Southeast Asia highly exposed. Moreover, several countries have closed their borders or imposed curfews to contain spreading the virus, making it harder to do business in a region which prides itself in cross border opportunities.
At such a time, brands need to change to survive. You can’t welcome overseas tourists to your hotel property – consider promoting staycations or driving traffic to your F&B outlets. Your sales teams can’t go to tradeshows to close – consider webinars, LinkedIn marketing or visibility in trade publications. Communications and marketing people have a heightened opportunity to serve as strategic agents of change by ensuring a consistent brand voice across the businesses’ people, operations and customers. They are the ones crafting messaging around change, and delivering these through new formats and channels – which tend to be highly customised for each Southeast Asian market.
Contributed by Prayaank Gupta, Head of Growth & Innovation at PRecious Communications
Today’s Business Actions Will Earn Customer Loyalty in the Future
Irrespective of whether we are in a slowing economy or a bullish one, brands need to continue to maintain a line of communication with its target audience to drive to build brand loyalty. In times of uncertainty, it is even more paramount for brands to create ongoing open dialogues with their target audience to build trust and credibility that yield short, medium and long-term gains.
Reassuring messages that show empathy and confidence often reinforces the value that a brand brings to its people. Such an approach not only drives brand allegiance but it also often sets the course in boosting perception. When the economy bounces back, your audiences will remember what you did in difficult times, and be loyal to the brand in the good times.
Contributed by Robin Chang, Regional Head, Client Advisory at PRecious Communications
Think Beyond the Immediate Impact and Listen to Your Stakeholders
During unprecedented times like these, operationally and financially, difficult decisions need to be made, and how this, along with a sense of direction and guidance, is communicated to the affected audience, will define the organisation’s leadership. Empathy and readiness to take action are the guiding principles for an organisation’s internal and external audience engagement.
Each type of stakeholder – whether government authorities, business partners or customers – will have changing needs and perceptions. Listening to them and adjusting with direct actions is only one of the steps. Thinking outside the immediate impact on the organisation’s business and going beyond by assessing and addressing the various implications for each audience will be critical in ensuring business stability, and for some, even business opportunities. This may pose as counterintuitive to the current ‘survival’ mode organisations are executing, but it may well be the strategic key to successfully navigating the uncharted waters.
Contributed by Ary Kim, Client Services Director, PRecious Communications
It Is More Important Than Ever Before to Instil Confidence
By their very nature, startups are built for the future. They look at up-and-coming technology and trends to bring forth new ways of living or doing business. They already take advantage of future-proof tools like cloud-based services or online marketplaces. But two essential components in any strategic communications campaign is relevance and factual accuracy. In these challenging times, that is more important than ever.
The key components are already in place. All startups need is to communicate their business strategy with a clear objective in mind. This includes hiring the right people, reassuring that their work goes on as usual, and to showcase to potential customers the value and relevance of their products and services in this new economic reality.
Contributed by Clarence Lim, Client Services Director, PRecious Communications
Focus on the Core Value Proposition and Consider the Broader Ecosystem
The world is in the midst of a monumental social experiment – remote working, staggered work hours, travel bans are commonplace across markets. Apart from focusing on business performance, technology brands must focus on pro-active strategic communications around the impact of their value proposition, products and solutions (stripped of marketing-speak), than ever before. Content should lead strategy; strategy should lead to relevance and relevance should ultimately lead the approach.
It’s time to be sensitive and sensible and think about how to make a difference to not just the business but the broader ecosystem. For example, IBM has launched the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium and also ensured that IBM Skills Academy is free for everyone. Other technology companies including the Big Four tech companies — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are also doing their part. It’s time for smaller technology companies to follow suit.
Contributed by Rajiv Menon, Client Services Director – PRecious Communications
Inspired by this post? If you are a startup or a corporate and are looking to build trusted relationships with your key audiences Get in touch with us to expand your brand awareness. Let’s push the creative boundaries, together.