How Resilient Organizations Prosper During Change

By Cara Sloman, executive vice president, Nadel Phelan, Inc.

We live in a world marked by perennial change. For businesses, that means the old adage of “sink or swim” applies. Those who can embrace change are better equipped to quickly adapt and pursue new growth opportunities. The ability to innovate and demonstrate marketing resilience will help you maintain a competitive edge.

Change how you think about change

Resilient organizations are able to bounce back from setbacks, readjust, advance and even prosper. Past recessions have taught us vital lessons about adapting marketing efforts in times of economic uncertainty. I know firsthand what it’s like, having survived and thrived with Nadel Phelan, Inc. through two economic downturns. Throughout those periods, I’ve observed two schools of thought:

  • The panic and pull back mindset is the tendency to pull back on key business drivers such as marketing, out of fear. These short-term cuts can have a devastating impact on an organization’s near- and long-term growth.
  • The growth mindset, rather than making rash decisions, uses creative thinking about how to strengthen the brand’s marketing resilience during times of uncertainty. History shows us that those who continue to invest in marketing amid recessions are set to gain the most when the dust settles.

Though some budget cuts may be inevitable, pausing brand awareness initiatives will not create a market-leading position in the long term. Right now, customers need solutions. During economic downturns, buying cycles get longer, but what gets invested now in building trust and visibility will pay off down the road.

Four tips for capitalizing on change

Use these four steps to make clear choices about where, how and when to act on changing circumstances:

  1. Realign goals: Assess key objectives and success metrics when shifts in the market occur. A good place to start is with a SWOT analysis. Ask yourself: Do my current businesses goals align with these four areas? If not, it’s time to shift.
  2. Mine your data: Use the data from your digital communications tools to find strengths and weaknesses, measure engagement and tweak strategy as needed. Gathering data from tools such as Google Analytics offers additional visibility into when and where customers are interacting with your brand’s content and which channels are most effective in communicating your message.
  3. Check in with customers: Talk with your sales staff about what customers are saying as they go through the buyer’s journey. Find out what the customer’s current challenges are, what led them to your company and what benefits they’re excited to potentially gain. This can help your marketing team create a more relevant marketing and communication strategy and double down on the value propositions that have the greatest potential.
  4. Modify your approach: Finally, use all this information to create one comprehensive plan. Map out how you and your team can pivot both quickly and effectively. Perhaps you can redistribute your team’s resources to focus on key growth opportunities or areas that need extra support. Then, set milestones and stakes in the ground for key components that team members can map towards.

As with all market disruptions, there will be winners and losers when the dust settles. The winners will be those who faced change with resilience. A resilient marketing mindset discovers which initiatives support immediate priorities and help undergird long-term success. With this mindset, marketers can use change as an opportunity to innovate, not retrench, turning what others see as fearful setbacks into branding victories.

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