How to make the right decisions in a time of crisis

Whether it’s supply and demand, the furloughing of staff, or another major business road-block, there’s not one sector that hasn’t been adversely affected by this virus. Unfortunately, business problems of varying degrees may only present themselves all the more as we head into an uncertain economic climate – but no fear! Being the problem-solvers that we are, we want to help make sure you have an arsenal of tools ready for you to use when the crunch time comes and decisions need to be made. 

We’re programmed to think differently during a crisis

It’s in our very DNA to be alert when a threat is present – a reflex we would much rather possess than be without! We’re wired to pay attention to what might potentially harm or endanger us, but our innate reactions to these immediate threats may not be at their optimum when we’re so aware of coronavirus’ multifarious and wide-reaching impact. 

Whether we want it or not, receiving swathes of pandemic info is now a part of our daily routine. From visiting news channels, to browsing social media, to going on Netflix and seeing their not-so-humourous idea of suggesting film titles like Contagion and Outbreak (thank goodness for the wholesomeness of Disney+), we’ve been bombarded with COVID updates everywhere we turn for months. As we’ve learnt about COVID’s awful socio-economic impact, and perhaps also personally felt its terrible sting, we’ve become acquainted with the reality that not everything lies within our own control, and this perceived lack of agency often leads to the same thing – rash decision making. 

Thankfully, this is not something we need to resign ourselves to. Instead, we can learn to adopt better perspectives that help us to think more clearly and make smart decisions that will bear fruit in a season of hardship, instead of dwindle and create more problems further down the line for ourselves and our businesses. 

Whilst things are changing daily, look beyond the present moment and think in the long term 

It may seem utterly counter intuitive, but hear us out. In a very good and very real sense, we can all only take things one day at a time. One foot in front of the other is still moving forward, albeit at a different pace than you perhaps envisioned when making your annual goals at the outset of 2020. But when you’re thinking about how your business needs to adapt to the current economic climate, it’s important to keep a zoomed out perspective that will allow you to not only ask “how do we survive this hard season?” but also “what can we turn our attention to that will help us navigate through this season and beyond?”

Perspective in cost-cutting

Cutting costs will be at the forefront of many business’ minds right now, and it’s understandable why when you have dependents such as staff and clients to take care of as well as making sure the business as a whole stays afloat. But when it comes to cost-cutting, having the right perspective is all the more vital to ensure that no attempt to spend less is made at the detriment of losing assets that far exceed current economic value. 

The old adage of “you have to spend money to make money, my friend” comes across quite crude in this economic climate, but its essence still remains intact. By having a zoomed out, long term perspective, you may be able to recognise some previously untapped areas of your marketing plan that will pay dividends through this season and beyond if analysed and invested in now. 

Invest in Share of Voice instead

Share of Voice (SoV) is a measure of the market your brand owns alongside your competitors, and could be your secret weapon for business growth in the coming months and years.

Generally speaking, a business that has a Share of Voice greater than its Share of Market (SoM) is more likely to gain a higher market share over a long period of time. Why? Because over time, as your marketing activities continue, your brand recognition and equity will only grow, providing you a greater market share. 

For example, when German discount retailer, Lidl, opened its first UK store in 1994, it entered one of the most competitive retail markets in the world. It was up against Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons, and for two decades Lidl struggled to grow its market share any higher than 3%. Not only did its low-price offering lead consumers to assume it was low in quality too, Lidl was a small brand so the chances of increasing its share of voice and driving advertising profitability were also hindered.

So what did they do? They invested in Share of Voice by launching its ‘Lidl Surprises’ campaign in 2014 – a marketing decision that ultimately led to the discounter becoming a key player in the UK grocery sector, helping Lidl increase their share of voice from 5% to 19%, and deliver £2.7bn in incremental sales whilst also tackling negative brand perceptions.

Suddenly, cutting your marketing budget may not seem like the best idea…

Where’s your digital footprint at?

According to Ofcom’s latest study into the nation’s online lives, UK adults are now spending more than a quarter of their waking day online – the highest on record! This means the internet is an even busier place than normal, and standing out from the crowd has been made all the more difficult due to increasing levels of online traffic but attention spans remaining low. Because of this, now more than ever is the time to really consider your business’ digital footprint and invest in ways to increase your discoverability through optimisation and create engaging content that consciously reflects your overarching business goals and values. That’s the type of content that grabs people’s attention. 

The effort vs impact matrix

But where to start?

In one of our previous Friday Huddle emails, we talked about the effectiveness of measuring your decisions against an effort vs impact matrix. By assessing the activities on your to-do list based on the level of effort required to complete them and the potential impact or benefits they will have, you are able to quickly identify what activities you should focus on as well as the ones you should maybe ignore.

For example, if the need to cut costs arises then you want to make sure that whatever decision you make doesn’t compromise your brand’s overall impact and reach. In our brand strategy workshops, we help businesses consider things like this and other complex business challenges in order to bring about long term, as well as short term, clarity about their goals for 2021 and beyond.

We’re here to listen and help

This past year has been a difficult season for us all and it’s been hard to see so many businesses, big and small, struggling because of it. 

Here at Outlaw, we want to help where we can. By providing the right solutions to your complex business problems, we can help you get back on your feet and thrive once again. 

Say hello by getting in touch with a member of our team today, so we can spend some time chatting through your marketing challenges, and establish if we are the right partner to deliver the results you need.