“The New Normal”: How SME’s return on the road to success

The lockdown due to the corona crisis is almost over. Politicians, industry and the general public are all looking ahead to the future. Experts are publishing studies and giving recommendations for the “Post Covid 19” phase. The tasks for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) focus on modernisation, digitisation or even process optimisation. In a nutshell: “The New Normal” means change. And successful change requires the active use of brand management, marketing and corporate communication (see special offer valid until July 23 below).

Opportunities arise for small and medium-sized enterprises over the long term

A remarkable survey which has received little attention in Germany on economic, organisational and cultural solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was conducted in February 2020 in the Heinsberg district, where the lockdown due to the coronavirus was already enforced two weeks previously. “Our aim was to specifically examine topics and requirements which occupy SMEs before and after the corona crisis and for which they require assistance”, says initiator Ute Meiborg, describing the practical project „#hsgutberaten“.

115 entrepreneurs and managers of local companies expressed their views, resulting in three specific areas of activity:

  • The companies must compare their experiences before and during the crisis with the challenges ahead and now revise their strategy.
  • As customer priorities are currently changing, it is necessary for companies to realign their sales channels and customer approach.
  • For all measures it is necessary to build the trust and confidence of employees through active communication and show appreciation.

“The managers see improved team spirit as the most positive effect of the crisis – even ahead of digitisation. Companies acquire a sustainable benefit when they can invest in the development of their teams, strengthen the team spirit and as a result unleash new potential”, summarises Ute Meiborg, expert on healthy performance.

This means that the corona crisis offers small and medium-sized enterprises opportunities for a positive business development over the long term:

  • If the proper marketing strategy is derived from the new corporate strategy.
  • If the customer touch points that are relevant for the future are defined and the customer approach is active and stimulating.
  • If the employees are enthusiastic about the upcoming changes and made contributors and disseminators.

Deriving the proper marketing strategy from a new corporate strategy

Key select questions should be clarified in the course of the revision of the corporate strategy in order to define a successful marketing strategy over the long term: Are your corporate objectives intact, e.g., with regard to market leadership and differentiation? What has changed in your target markets and with regard to your competitive situation?

The focus should also be on answering questions about the customer benefit of the range of services, as well as the unique selling point of your product brand: Have the needs of my customers changed or will they change? What added value do I offer with new, digital products and services, for example? How do I differentiate myself from the competition? How can I throw my unique selling point into the ring more effectively?

On this basis define your new marketing strategy in order to strengthen your operational business over the long term (selection):

  • A strong brand identity with convincing brand values is the basis of your operational success in the future. Enhance your brand, refine your performance promise and make yourself distinctive among competitors.
  • The needs of customers should be at the heart of your thoughts and actions.
  • Convince the customers that you not only have the right range of services for their needs, but the “best solution”.
  • Create your marketing mix so that you are increasingly active in getting the customers, e.g., through the generation of leads with inbound marketing measures.
  • Generate new value-added products and services for your customers in order to retain them.

Active customer management online and offline

The study revealed the second main task as the realignment of sales channels and customer contact due to changing customer requirements. Regards the latter, you should ask yourself whether and to what extent you know and understand the value-added chain and processes of your customers. Have you the “best solution” for respective value-added and process stages?

On this basis define the customer contact points relevant for the future and be active and stimulating in your customer approach (selection):

  • Increase the sales excellence in your sales structure and in your sales channels with regard to the modified travel, trade fair and meeting customs.
  • Check whether all touch points of your customer journey are consistent and intact or whether adaptations are required in order to facilitate purchase decisions for customers.
  • Actively make offers to customers at every contact point and encourage them to accept them.
  • Create unique customer experiences for your customers, especially online. Make better use of digital options in the future, e.g., in the form of online training courses or also online events.

Get employees involved and make them contributors and ambassadors

Change processes are intensive and require persistence. They often require a cultural change in the company, it is not only necessary to provide information and clarification, but also change the attitudes and behaviours of employees. You should therefore ask yourself how you can build the trust and confidence of employees using internal communication measures and show appreciation.

On this basis develop a corporate culture which gives employees orientation for upcoming changes, makes them enthusiastic about the changes and makes them contributors and ambassadors (selection):

  • Successful change processes gare achieved with strong management. Lead as a manager, be present and approachable.
  • Actively include your managers. Distribute the responsibility for a successful change to several individuals.
  • Communicate regularly and in person in order to overcome transfer barriers. It is not only necessary to provide information and clarification, but to convince and create acceptance, as well as include employees and ensure their commitment.
  • Allow for some errors. Many aspects are new and multifaceted, particularly in the digital world. We are all in a dynamic learning process.
  • Praise, reward and appreciate the performances of your staff on an ongoing basis.

Need for an optimistic mood and new attitude

Strategies and measures regarding brand, marketing and corporate communication are valuable pillars for small and medium-sized enterprises in order to excel over the long term in “The New Normal”. Owners, managing directors and managers must create an optimistic mood in the company. This requires courage for new solutions, enthusiasm, new ways of thinking and acting and new self-confidence. In conclusion, a new attitude by management and employees in order to actively shape the necessary cultural change in the company, which ensures successful business development over the long term.

My skills for your success (selection):

  • Over 1,500 projects for strengthening operational business activities and increasing customer centricity
  • Over 1,000 projects for enhancing corporate identity internally and externally
  • 25 years of experience in marketing, coporate communication, brand management and investor relations

Please click on the button and have a look on my special offer valid until August 15. I am happy to help you and look forward to hearing from you.