American history is peppered with heroes; men and women who did not allow their circumstances to dictate present or future success. They looked for opportunity even in times when none seemed available. They figured out how to take the cards dealt to them and still produce a winning hand.
The retail industry finds itself in a precarious position right now. The economy has taken a beating. We have been dealt a lousy hand and we know it. Yet there is hope that the economy will spring back in a big way this summer. Will you be ready?
One way to start getting ready now is to focus on your own brand. Yes, we are extremely thankful that you choose to buy sunglasses in bulk from Olympic Eyewear. We appreciate that you go the extra mile to market our brands to your customers. But now is the time to focus on your brand. Now is the time to focus on what makes you, your team, and your company unique.
Great Brands Connect
Independent retailers often struggle in the branding department because they confuse it with corporate identity. They focus so much on the look and feel of their public identities that they fail to realize just what branding is.
To quote Salt Lake City's Webtek Interactive, "branding is the art of creating a positive emotional response in the minds and hearts of customers." It goes way beyond corporate logos and color schemes. When done right, great branding connects with customers in a way that marketing never can.
Your brand is essentially what your customers think about your business; how they feel about doing business with you. You actually have a brand even if you have never intentionally tried to develop it. And yes, your brand could be either negative or positive.
Accentuate the Positive
Getting your company ready for a reopened economy is all about accentuating the positive. It is about taking actionable steps now to strengthen your brand so that people will want to come back and buy designer-like sunglasses from you the moment they can. How do you do that?
Engage positively with your customers on social media. Send them positive and encouraging emails once or twice a week. Encourage them to start thinking about getting out and enjoying summer weather in another month or so. And through it all, remind them that you will be there to take care of them when they need your products.
If there is anything your company can engage in to support the local community in the meantime, go for it. Community involvement can be a very strong component in creating or strengthening a brand. When people see you getting involved in the community, they come to understand that you do not view them as a mere source of revenue. You view them as the people you share life with.
Strengthening your brand over the next few weeks and months will still require some marketing. And of course, you will need to be ready with a new marketing campaign once the economy gets going again. Make it a meaningful marketing campaign that goes beyond 'huge savings' and 'deep discounts'. Make it a campaign that somehow touches the humanity of your customers.
Designer sunglasses may not seem all that important right now. They are important to you because they are your livelihood. They are equally important to us as well. If we can channel that into strengthening our brands during this downtime, we will all be ready to emerge stronger than ever when the time comes.