Written by Anthony Del Gigante
Difficult times often call for difficult decisions. This is undeniably true for businesses attempting to find ways to continue operations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by Sinclair, a public relations agency, “Actions taken by brands during difficult times will be remembered for years to come.” Even when the pandemic has subsided, our world and the way we do business will likely never be quite the same.
What should you do as a business leader to confront and adapt to these unprecedented times? At MDG Advertising, we’ve been partnering with our clients as they adapt their business practices and formulate responses to the COVID-19 crisis. We believe that the following strategies provide insight and critical lessons that can help any business develop effective approaches to navigating our new normal.
Strategic Planning Combinedwith On-Target Execution Equals Success
Surviving and thriving during a crisis depends on how quickly and strategically you embrace the new reality. This is especially true for businesses that primarily rely on in-person business and appointments. As the coronavirus pandemic started to sweep across the country,several of our healthcare clients were forced to find ways to serve their patients while complying with public health requirements for limiting certain activities. One way they adapted was by incorporating telemedicine into their practices. This was a huge paradigm shift for both practitioners and patients. Before the pandemic, data compiled by eMarketer found that only 14% of patients were familiar with telemedicine, and only 28% of doctors offered telemedicine services.
In addition to adjusting messaging to inform patients of changes in office hours and services, systems had to be put in place to launch the new business initiative. For example, websites had to be reconfigured to allow for virtual office visits. We also developed control panels to make it possible for healthcare clients to manage, update, and create customized messaging across hundreds of practice locations.
Look for Fresh Approaches
Once you adapt your business model, you need to find ways to get the word out in fresh and creative ways that will resonate with your audience. This might include a multi-channel social media campaign or connecting with your clients in new ways. When one of our urgent care clients shifted to telemedicine, we helped them launch a new service line, as well as a massive social media campaign to inform patients of telemedicine service and how to get medical care during these uncertain times. We added a chatbot to another client’s their website to enable patients to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
Find Ways to Meet Business Needs and the Well-Being of Others
Finding effective ways to meet your customers’ changing needs can be good for business and others’ well-being. For example, adapting your business model to allow for contactless services will not only allow you to keep the lights on and your staff employed, but it also will enable you to meet the needs of customers while promoting social distancing and other public health measures.
One of our dental clients implemented teledentistry so successfully that they were able to provide virtual consultations to more than 1,400 emergency dental patients within the first three weeks of adding the service. This was a true win-win-win situation:the client met its own business needs, provided valuable emergency care to its patents, and considered the well-being of others by reducing the burden on emergency rooms and limiting the spread of disease.
Changing times require quick and decisive action, so be sure to:
- Look for ways to align your business’s services and offerings with the changing needs of your customers—and society.
- Develop a strategic plan for quickly and effectively implementing your new business model.
- Utilizeall the advertising and communication tools at your disposal to create awareness of your changes and how they can benefit your audience.
- Use the opportunity to serve the greater good and share your efforts with your audience.
The way you adapt now will pay dividends in the future. As an example, our healthcare clients thatimplemented these strategies in response to the challenges of COVID-19 are now in a position to capitalize on a trend that’s expected to see up to half of healthcare services provided virtually by 2030.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a branding/traditional ad agency made digital, with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.