Most businesses completed their plans for the new year by the end of the old one. Given how disruptive 2020 turned out to be, business leaders are in dire need of a respite. They’re hoping that a new administration and widespread accessibility to COVID vaccines will calm things down a little bit. It will be good to get back to business as usual, if we can. But, even if the outlook does get better, the knock-on effects of last year will be with us for a while yet. And the new year is bound to surface its own set of challenging circumstances, just like in any “normal” year. So, whatever unique objectives your business is setting out to achieve in 2021, be sure to add these two planks to your platform.
Renewed hyper-focus on customer needs
Yes, of course, the customer comes first. We all know that. And we’ve learned to double down on that philosophy during the pandemic. But now is not the time to lose resolve. The pandemic will be as virulent as ever during the first months of 2021. Now is the time to become hyper-focused on your customers and their needs. Make sure your most empathetic and emotionally intelligent people are engaging directly with your customers and prospects. Learn about what they need from you – who they need you to be for them. Find out what unmet needs they have. Find ways to help even if you have to go outside your own organization to get it done. Position as your customers’ best friend and most trusted advisor. This has to be your mindset. Everything else is dependent on it.
Stay out of trouble
If ever there was a time to keep your head down and stick to your knitting, this is it. It’s fine to keep innovating and launching new products if that’s in your business plan. But this is not the best time to opine on social media or take political positions. If your brand is already purpose-driven, fine. Do what you feel is right. Behave the way you feel your business should behave. But think twice before doing it loudly and publicly. The country is so divided now that the odds of generating some sort of backlash – from one quarter or another – are pretty good. As a business leader and citizen with strong opinions, you may relish a fight. But think about the innocent bystanders you’d have to lay off if someone organized a boycott of your offerings. Be true to yourself and your brand but don’t go looking for unnecessary trouble.
That’s it. Each individual business will have specific commercial goals it aims to accomplish in 2021. Some of them will have social objectives as well, such as diversifying workforces or becoming more ecologically sustainable. But whatever your unique situation, you’re much more likely to hit your targets if you add these two points to your plan.
BEST BRANDING READS – WEEK OF JANUARY 4, 2021
America’s Most Responsible Companies, 2021
These 400 enterprises care as much about being good citizens as they do about being good earners.
Branding in 2020: Clarifying the Obvious
Brandingmag’s best articles from 2020, here for you again.
Facebook is the worst brand of the year
In 2020, no brand demonstrated a bigger gap between what it promised and what it delivered.
Consumers Expect Sustainability – A Strategic Imperative for Brands
Today’s savvy consumers will drop your brand if you haven’t been doing your part for sustainability.
Aligning Employer And Corporate Brand Strategy
The employer brand is just the corporate brand seen from the employee’s or job-seeker’s point of view.
The Trends That Will Dominate The Social Space in 2021
Be sure to read the part about what consumers will expect of brands this year.
The Genesis Of Desired Brands
Henry Ford’s famous quote was funny but beside the point.