How to pivot a hospitality brand in the time of COVID-19.
Our hearts have been heavy watching our peers and clients in hospitality navigate this confusing and challenging time. The uncertainty around whether or not they could, or should, stay open for the public and their staff has been horrendous. We can only empathise with the anxiety they must be feeling.
To offer some help, we’ve put together some thoughts and ideas around how to pivot. These are intended for the hospitality industry, but really apply to most businesses.
Firstly, go back to your brand foundations and reconsider you purpose.
- Why did you start?
- What did you want to achieve?
- Who did you want to help?
Revisiting this is helpful at any stage in business, but particularly in a crisis.
Second, turn your attention to your audience.
- Profile your customers. What are their demographics? Lifestyle? Values?
- What are their current frustrations, or what might they be lacking at the moment?
Next, let’s think about your offer. This is particularly difficult at the moment, given the restrictions on business, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
- Consider what worked about your previous offer. Were you known for your incredible bread? Maybe your fresh local produce?
- Try to connect the dots between audience needs and potential new offers that benefit both parties. For example, if you know your customers loved your bread (and you need some certainty around income), could you start a bread subscription service? If you still have access to fresh local produce, perhaps you could support those producers and the community by starting a weekly produce box for nearby houses?
Lastly, it’s time to get practical. As a hospitality business owner, you’ll likely have the logistics side of things sorted. Taking the idea to market is where things get trickier. Here’s some ideas from our end for that part.
- Keep it simple. The message should be straightforward and clear. This is a time to keep language direct and human.
- Digital marketing is a given, but don’t forget that most people are stuck at home and are bombarded on social media all day. Something like a letterbox drop will go a long way right now, and it’s cost effective.
- Use professionals where you can. While very few businesses have budget right now, the last thing you want to be doing is causing yourself more anxiety trying to build your own e-commerce site. There are plenty of skilled professionals in a similar boat, with excess time on their hands and a willingness to help.
We know you’re hurting financially and while these efforts can’t be expected to make up for the loss of income, it’s important to do something. Not only to generate at least some income, but to stay connected with your audience and reaffirm your brand values.
If you or someone you know is in need of help during this difficult time, reach out. We are offering pro-bono work or reduced rates to those severely impacted by the current situation, and know plenty of others who are doing the same.