Perspective for Brands in a Down Market

When markets shift, and things get tight, as business owners we don't need to panic.

Instead, we need to take the necessary precautions to plan out a few to a dozen months that are lean so that we come out the other side even better.

In short, we can focus on three areas...

  1. Return to fundamentals. Bubble’s bursting is a great reality check, and business is all about reality.
  2. Talk with customers as much as possible. Give them new options, open up new lines of communication.
  3. Look for operational efficiency anywhere we can. Develop clarity on your business with more laser focus than ever before.

Priorities shift, and the plans you made can be recouped later. For now, focus on the above, putting your mask on first until...

Shift to serving others.

The best brands utilize adversity to clarify and rally around their mission and purpose.

This is not a time to back down and be quiet. Instead it’s time to return to your core purpose. And do so with an abundant mentality that shows you’re there for your customers and you’re there for your employees.

Savvy Brands know how to thread the needle.

Between honoring people’s pain and boldly pushing forward, with empathy.

I highlight this statement, because not only is it always, true, but it's true more than ever.

Do not be opportunistic.

People will see through it.

Supportive brands makes themselves available.

Spending extra hours, extra time, and extra awareness being on call for your people’s needs. You are alert and ready to support the community.

People are looking for help.

When things collapse, people are looking for spaces that can support them. You can be that support system. Can you afford to pay people earlier than normal? Can you give your customer a deal?

Talk with your people. Do it over voice or video when possible.

Protect your network!

We need Vision and we need Truth.

Some brands are writing stuff about tips for Remote Work …. blah blah.

Skip that unless it genuinely is related to your company, and even then ask yourself if you really have anything meaningful to say on the subject.

Now is the time to redefine who you are, what you stand for.

Remembering why you got into this in the first place. The people, the delight, the product, and the mission.

When things fall apart, return to purpose.

Chamath Palihapitiya gets it.

Here is his how he ends his annual shareholders letter.

"Living a life of purpose and forgiveness
As we enter the final years of the Gilded Age and usher in the Progressive Era, a more civilized culture will hopefully abound. Today, it’s not just the stock market but also the fragmentation, polarization and judgement that are at all time highs.

Is this really the hallmark of a society that is progressive? No. It's the remnants of unhappiness, resentment and anger that personify the Gilded Age. That said, it's so much easier to be happy and see the bigger picture when you focus on what matters. So how does one focus on what matters? I’ve found it possible by asking questions like “what matters to me?” and “what is important to me?” These may sound like the most basic questions but they are also the most critical. And especially now, these are the questions that need lucid, non-judgemental answers from each of us.

For me, I have learned that my family, my health and what I know (knowledge) are the most important things that matter to me. Work, money and friendships are important but come strictly after the first three. What doesn’t matter? Everything else, particularly, what others think about me and my decisions."

https://www.socialcapital.com/annual-letters/2019

Rusty Guinn and Ben Hunt get it, thank you Epsilon Theory.

"There will be families who rely on schools during the day to permit them to work, who also work in service jobs in public places which expose them unduly to the risk of infection, who also have poor health insurance options. These are families who would struggle financially to grapple with any one of these problems….

What can full-hearted Americans do?

  1. Take care of service vendors: If we own or run a business where we can do so ethically, we can find a way to keep paying the people and businesses we have worked with and may not be able to soon because of social distancing. Do we cater a weekly lunch from a local restaurant for the team? ….
  2. Let friends and neighbors know NOW how you’re ready to serve: We have elderly neighbors who in some regions will soon be discouraged from – or may just be personally frightened about – going out, even just to the store.
  3. Give to local organizations who support these needs: Coronavirus the Disease doesn’t care who we are. Coronavirus the Economic Event, on the other hand, does. Its burdens will fall unevenly on the millions of families with children who rely on retail and hospitality sources of income. Some will very likely have basic material needs – food and shelter. Find the organizations who provide these things. Support them generously….. "

https://www.epsilontheory.com/the-non-linearity-of-need/

It takes guts and empathy and work to understand what role your brand can play in all of this to serve your customers.

But I promise you if focus on truly being there to support, and if it leads your team to reassess why you’re here and what you’re here to do, you can be a stronger beacon for those right when they need it…

Right when people are looking for someone to be there to lean on.

Right when people looking for packs to join and be a part of.

Right when people hoping that they can trust in their relationships not to let them down…

Great things are built in down markets, because great companies double down on their mission now, reaping the rewards as things rebound.

As always, I’m here, so reach out if I can help.