How to find your way back? Again!
Let me be candid with you Influencers. Sometimes, we screw up! Actually, more often than we’d like, and more often than we realize. Not always of our own doing, mind you. Often circumstances beyond our control gently nudge us in the wrong direction, away from the straight and oh-so-narrow path to success. So, what starts off as a few degrees off course at the start winds up being an ocean away from our destination.
The recent, umm, let’s call it the “unfortunate event” caused many of us to lose our bearings, at least for a brief period of time. Long held believes suddenly lost their truth and customer behaviour held no rhyme or reason. And for a time, the event cast a pall of gloom over our lives. When things opened up again, we all breathed a sigh of relief and tried to get back to life as we knew it, with one big difference. Our lives will never be the same again.
We noticed amongst several of our clients the urge to start afresh. To take on a newer, bolder, more enthusiastic tone to celebrate the back-to-normal. And in doing so, a lot of institutional knowledge when out the window. It was a brave new age, where few of the old rules applied. Because of the post-pandemic surge of pent-up demand, the impact of this drift went un-noticed for a time. But as the economy now starts going in a different direction, the cracks became increasingly visible. Yikes!
If this has happened to your brand, what do you do? Where do you turn to right the ship? Here are a few ideas that some of our clients and partners have shared with us.
1 – Go back in time
Oh, if only we could. Except time travel is, you know… not a thing. But your archives are close to it. Go back to your most successful campaigns from 4-5 years ago. Lay them down, side-by-side with your most recent but less successful work. What are the differences? What stands out? Take a hard look at:
- Subject lines
- Imagery choices and style
- Tone of voice
- Headline treatments
- Benefit statements
- Typeface choices
- Pricing and T&Cs
- Button style and CTA
You’re certain to come away with tons of questions. When did we stop doing this or that? Or OMG how come we started doing THAT! Don’t beat yourself up. Learn from the experience. Then do an A/B split test using the old creative almost as-is against the current and see what happens. Or pick the “best-of” from the past and test a new creative based on that.
2 – Fair is fair
Humm, pricing. A delicate subject if any. I know, we all hope to make up for lost revenue and elevated costs. But nobody said it had to be overnight. It was as if the laws of economics and price elasticity were temporarily repealed in that post-pandemic feeding frenzy of pent-up desire. Folks would buy whatever the cost.
Welcome back to reality. Many of us have just hit the wall of falling demand and rising disinterest. Notably the damage to our customer goodwill may be substantial if perceived as price “gouging”. As someone who lived through the 70s and early 80s, I remember days when inflation was automatically build into pricing with a planned increase every 6 months. Mortgage rates were at 18%, hair was big and suits were bad. Let’s hope those days never come back.
It may be time to take a closer look at our pricing models and algorithms that have been trained on the recent pandemic/post-pandemic behavior. Should we take a hard look at fair price testing once again to find an optimal path? One that remembers the concept of Lifetime Value over short-term profit. Just a thought.
3 – Don’t lose the good stuff
During those three brief years, we learned a lot. About consumers, about our brands and about ourselves. We found ways to function and sometimes even to thrive without offices or stores. Our ingenuity was put to the test, and sometimes through the ringer. What did we learn? And how can we continue to apply now that we’ve been cudgelled back to normalcy.
In our case, we learned that a physical presence is not necessary. Office… gone! And with it, watercooler gossip and copier paper jams. But we learned to better communicate remotely, to build a cohesive culture at a distance and to strengthen the bonds with our clients. And we’re also rediscovering some of the wonderful things that we left behind during that prolonged hiatus. And how valuable they in fact might be.