Brand Engineering: 5Rs to Pivot in a Crisis – Bayo Adekanmbi
A call has gone out to entrepreneurs, marketers, brand owners, custodians, and agencies to live the fundamental meaning of the brand in a bid to pivot in a crisis situation such as the world currently has on its hands.
This call was made by the Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, Bayo Adekanmbi while speaking in the capacity of a keynote speaker in a remote Brand Management Colloquium with the theme “Pivoting your brand in crisis”.
Speaking during the remote discussion session which marks the 5th anniversary of Big &Bold Communications discloses, “Time we are living in is the time to look inward, take in the crisis and map out survival strategies as businesses are moving into survival mode with a significant reduction in marketing spend”, adding that there is a need for the brand to live the fundamental meaning of what it stands for.
The marketing guru and data science expert, who is also the convener of Data Science Nigeria (DSN) noted the following which he tagged as “5Rs to Pivot during a crisis” as his recipe for survival for brands especially in the foreseeable post-COVID-19 era.
Though everything is closed down, brands must show a high sense of responsibility. “You can’t be quiet or silent, you must come forward and align with customers’ lifetime values”. He cited the case of Coca-Cola donating it’s social media feed to provide updates and information about the COVID-19 pandemic. eBay in its “Up & Running” campaign offered to migrate brick and mortar businesses to find their path online to further help to strengthen the contactless operation and preventing further loss, while Starbuck introduced the “pay it forward”, an act of kindness – you order a drink and pay for one for the stranger behind. It helps to create excitement amid the tension created by the pandemic. “The brand must be seen to be responsible” to pivot.
A brand needs to come forward and put money on the table, – talking of putting one’s money where his mouth is – no matter how small, to help in the fight against the pandemic. This is doing things that are in line with the brand’s vision. “Step forward and reinforce your reputation by giving”. We saw this play out very well in the activities of Nigeria’s Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA – COVID). The keynote speaker noted that Diageo rode on its fame with bottles, provided 8 million bottles of sanitizers to frontline (health) workers to fight COVID-19. Other brands like this, deploy cues, memorabilia, mnemonics to reconnect with consumers. “We are one team” by Budweiser was another example of building a reputation cited by Adekanmbi. The campaign reinforces Budweiser’s concern in its “we are in this together” message.
Look at your 4Ps and discover how you can make your brand and or organisation relevant. Uber demonstrated this when it implemented a new safety protocol in the face of COVID-19. It emphasizes the use of nose cover by its team. First Bank Nigeria introduced e-learning to support students while they stay at home for the pandemic to abate; MTN supports the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) providing the much needed essential personal protection equipment (PPEs) and making its network available for information and public enlightenment. Also of relevance is the ability of companies to miniaturize SKUs to be relevant to consumers even when their spending power is ebbing in the midst of the crisis. “Brands must take advantage of the very lowing hanging fruits within their spheres to remain relevant to consumers”, he counselled.
This implies that the brand or organisation should not lose track of its customers. “For emotional long-tern value sake, it’s more profitable to stay with your customers in a crisis situation”. Brands must be willing to shoulder a loss at times like this to make customers feel good and appreciated. “Loss in the short run to be a part of the future success”, he said.
This is where all must be concerned. We must carefully and thoughtfully put in place a recovery plan for our brands and businesses. Thinking and giving thoughtfully during the crisis leads to recovery. What is your recovery plan? He challenged the industry.
Summing up, Adekanmbi declared that leaders are people that will do some strategic re-engineering, connect the dots together in a very usual way to make meaning or make meaning out of complex circumstances. While declaring that brand building is about people and not about the product, he also underscored the fact that marketing is not about making money but building meaning. Hence, he advised brand owners and custodians, “let your voice be heard in crisis, do not go into the shadows”
Smart businesses must have a proactive action on how to move forward. Leaders are those who are thinking not those lamenting during a crisis, they must create a recovery plan to pivot just as its required of individuals.