News about the effects of coronavirus, or COVID-19, on the global population’s health continues to dominate headlines. Second to that is the toll it is taking on the economy, including the luxury industry. In China, where 80,000 cases have been reported, manufacturing, logistics and sales for both local and foreign brands are suffering. All of this likely adds up to flat growth this year for many brands, if there is any growth at all.
This is, of course, an intense time for all brands across all industries. Read on for three ways you can guide your brand through the storm and prepare for when the dust does eventually settle.
As offices close down around the world, reducing people’s interactions with each other, it can get in the way of valuable face-to-face meetings. In this digital age, however, there are so many options for staying connected when you’re apart. From FaceTime to Skype to Zoom, video conferencing can keep your teams and clients talking. Live streaming is becoming more popular, too, something businesses in China are using at a rapidly increasing rate. Consider swapping your physical marketing plans for digital ones. You can livestream fashion shows, product launches and webinars, continuing to keep consumers and even buyers involved in your brand when they are unable to physically interact with it. There are so many ways to continue keeping your customers and suppliers in the loop on all the positive impacts you’re having on both people and planet, without having a physical presence.
If your business is now forecasting a loss this year, you are not alone. Brands across the entire luxury industry, and outside of it, are all facing difficult times that could continue through the next six months. To minimise panic amongst your workforce, it’s important to keep each and every person informed about exactly what is happening. If you’re encouraging people to work from home, use the aforementioned digital channels to provide regular updates. Make it clear that their wellbeing is of the utmost importance. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your workforce, either. Many brands are, unfortunately, having to make the difficult decision to let go of people on their teams. If an employee understands the numbers, they’ll better understand why that decision has to be made.
This difficult time will not last forever. Although it will likely get worse before it gets better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. According to Bain & Company, brands can learn from similar events in the past, like the SARS epidemic. The pattern is shock, recovery and stabilisation, and experts are predicting we will move through coronavirus according to it. If you have a dynamic business model and are willing to adapt, your brand likely will not suffer long-term negative effects. As with any challenge, it’s about being resilient, staying positive and using all your available resources to emerge stronger on the other side.
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