I debated writing this piece. The past year has seemingly been one crisis after another. The economic, social, and personal impacts of the past year have been deeply felt by so many not just in our country, but across the world. There’s nothing fun to talk about in this. As a Marketing Director, I want to write about incredible ways for you to engage with your audience or the power of video on social media platforms, not the lessons from 2020 that we’ve learned.
But this is a year where we’ve partnered with our clients to ride the wave of this year together. This is the time when we are preparing for them to go into a new year, a time of great uncertainty, maybe even more so now. There are many lessons we’ve learned this year, both in our own business and in partnership with our clients. So, while this isn’t the topic I really want to talk about, it’s the one we need to.
Let’s talk about the lessons from 2020.
Expect the Unexpected
2020 was the year of the unexpected. Last January, most of us heard some reports of a virus that had sprung up within the last month in China. We were still moving around, living the lives that we had become accustomed to. There were no masks in public. The concept of social distancing was alien to all of us, and hand sanitizer wasn’t available every five feet.
None of us could have seen this coming.
Fast-forward and we’re wearing masks in public, carrying our own hand sanitizer, and working from home. Meetings are now online affairs and we continue to watch the world, hoping for some sign this will soon be over. Businesses are usually prepared, but the old paradigm has us preparing for the things we have experienced previously, for the crises we’re familiar with. Now we’ve learned that things we don’t expect can impact us the hardest. If you haven’t been preparing your business for a crisis before this, then hopefully 2020 taught you it’s time.
Never underestimate the unexpected. Prepare for it.
Honesty and Transparency are Critical to Branding
There are a lot of elements to a successful brand. Over the years there have been debates as to what the truly critical elements are when building a brand. Every one of us in this industry has our own opinions and formulas for these as well. This year showed us something definitive though. Honesty and transparency are the cornerstones of effective branding.
During the pandemic, these two qualities weren’t only value adds. They were necessities. The safety of your clients and customers, as well as maintaining local and state guidance, required you to be open and honest. But it goes beyond that. Businesses that were open with their customers were able to remind them that we were in this thing together. Customers in many cases rallied around businesses they wanted to support and made the extra effort to help.
It’s not only important to tell customers what you’re doing for safety, but it’s also vital that they know how to support you when times are hard.
Failure Isn’t an End, It’s Just a Beginning
A lot of people talk about failing upward. Learning lessons from our failures is a vital part of any person in any walk of life. It’s especially important for business owners. But this concept is often academic for many of us. We often assume we have recession-proof business models, and that nothing will hurt our business. We’re different. We’ll survive anything.
But this year has watched a lot of successful businesses shut their doors for good. Now more than ever is the time to realize that failure is something we learn lessons from, a necessary part of growth. It also happens in degrees. Even when failure seems absolute, there is always something that could make it worse. Taking the lessons learned from this year, and applying them moving forward, will separate the people who make great successes in the new year and those who repeat the trials of this one.
This Too Shall Pass
Some days it seems like this is the new world. Like 2020 is the bookend for the dreams we’ve had in the years leading up to it. But the truth is actually much more hopeful. Yes, this too shall pass.
It’s such a simple phrase, isn’t it? Seems almost too easy. It’s absolutely true nonetheless. The world is moving forward. Some things will change. You can’t go through these types of events without shifts in the way we live and work. But life has a way of moving forward. Your business will too. There’s no definite time when that will happen, but it will pass.
What does this mean for you, as a business owner? Simple. Just keep hope. Work day by day to do your best and understand that this will pass, leaving you with lessons for the future. This might be the most important among the lessons from 2020 to remember.
Stingray Branding, Your Marketing Partner
2020 has been a year of learning for most of us. As a business owner, a lot of things are on your plate. But you don’t have to do everything alone. Our team of experts is passionate about working with people just like you, helping demystify the complexities of marketing, and putting a talented team to work for you. If you have questions about your marketing, or it’s time to take it to the next level, contact us today!