Brand stand

What do consumers, employees and elephants have in common?

May 13, 2020

Piers Zangana, director at Susa Comms public relations specialist explains why what you do now will impact the chances of your long term success…

So far in 2020, the world has caught fire, we nearly had World War Three and we have a global health pandemic that wouldn’t look out of place in a Stephen King novel. If I you’re not upset enough already, on top of that, we are all living very lonely lives. We live in strange times.

Many people are desperately trying to cling on to the last remnants of business they still have, while at the same time trying to keep the busy minds of stay-at-home children occupied in the little prisons we usually call home.

In the UK alone, more than six million people have been furloughed to date, thousands are on sick leave, and millions more are working from home.

Crazy, crazy times.

In all of this madness, it will be very easy for airline brands and suppliers to disappear into the stay-at-home ether. Many already have in the consciousness of their customers.

Many brands have already disengaged their teams. Productivity is going to be a key driver in the recovery so this is a heavy cost.

As with all major societal or sector disruption, much is being gleaned from the behaviour of brands now and will continue to be in the coming months. The ‘values’ many corporate brochures and websites will have espoused over the years are really coming into their own.

The whole of the aviation sector will be exposed to this conscious and unconscious judgment from their stakeholders.

We have already seen what some businesses are made of.

Those companies who laid off staff on day one before the government support schemes were announced will be remembered; those companies who immediately stopped paying suppliers will be remembered; and crucially the companies whose directors have led from the front will be cherished.

Despite the need to firefight, the brand recovery started yesterday. The battle for loyalty started immediately.

The world will obviously be a very different place once this is over, it already is, and consumers will all harbour very different feelings towards brands they’ve interacted with during this period.

Brands who have continued to engage with their teams and customers will be many steps ahead once we start coming out the other side.

As any therapist will tell you, the key to any long and successful relationship is communication. Apply this to everything and anything.

Brands who have continued to engage regularly with their teams and customers will be many steps ahead once the recovery starts – whatever that looks like and whenever that happens. The payback will be worth every second and penny spent.

The conversation needs to be considered, appropriate and genuine. No faux concern, no ambulance chasing and little ‘take’.

Now is still the time for brands to give as much as possible. Good content and insight will be valued now more than ever. People need it and customers are prime for conversation and engagement.

Communications need to be timely. They need to be open and honest. They need to offer avenues for feedback and queries. They need to be relevant. They need to be clear.

Because people, like elephants, don’t forget.