REBALANCING THE AXIS BETWEEN UNCERTAINTY AND CONFIDENCE
Uncertainty: "the state of being unpredictable"
Confidence: "the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on something"
One of the things we have all had to adjust to due to the pandemic is uncertainty. Not just in the long term future but in the immediate tomorrow. And uncertainty undoubtedly brings lack of confidence along for the ride.
Covid has shown us that there is no such thing as the status quo during a pandemic since just when you think everything has changed permanently, something changes again. The only certainty we have come to know is that change will come. Time and time again.
Certainty of outcome - be it those small long lost experiences such as going to a pub for a drink, a restaurant for a meal, a theme park for a fun day out with the family, or a weekend away with friends - or the more significant ones such as domestic and international travel - these are the things we all took for granted in the past and, since they have been unobtainable, they have now taken on an extra dimension of anticipation and pleasure. That old adage of absence makes the heart grow fonder has never been so true as it is for the yearning to be able to behave in the old "normal" way, with both certainty and confidence.
Many of us used to operate via a cycle of live, sleep, repeat interspersed with social activities, holidays and travel to regularly reboot and rebalance. The living part of the equation contained day to day activities we never thought we would need to think about. Or be prohibited from doing. However, for the last 12 months our circle of existence has been diminished to, at times, the diameter of our own home space, prevented from venturing out for more than limited exercise or essential shopping. But that hasn't stopped us dreaming. And looking forward to when a degree of certainty allows us to make decisions that are permanent and not always couched alongside an alternative, often virtual option. Just in case uncertainty prevails.
More recently it seems that the underlying key to uncertainty and confidence is positivity. And it appears that positivity has been rising alongside the success of the vaccination programme in the UK and the onset of the longer, lighter days that Spring brings. This is not a coincidence and the extra injection of vitamin D brought about by longer daylight hours and increased outdoor activity only adds to the positivity everyone feels - physically and mentally.
This boost of certainty and confidence does not necessarily mean that things will be exactly the same as they once were, but what it shows clearly is that all we need to move forwards is a glint of certainty and a sprinkling of confidence. Two intangible elements impossible to touch and feel, but open to influence with the tone and content of communications as an individual, as a business, and as a brand.
The power of PR has never been more necessary, particularly for those travel, leisure, and lifestyle businesses so badly affected by Covid and lockdown. Where possible, it should be put to positive use to help rebalance the axis between (un)certainty and confidence - and show the way to the new normal future we all crave so badly.
Having a clear and ongoing dialogue has never been more vital
Regular ongoing reassurance and updates providing insight into how the changing regulations will impact travel, experience and access will enhance customer confidence
Opportunities for commentary around core government announcements to provide further clarity - next key date for the diary is 10th May when we hope to hear an update on the global travel traffic light system
Communication of core values, safety and flexibility continue to be important
We anticipate that this current lack of confidence will result in a lates market that will be later than ever before
It is nothing new to suggest that people gravitate towards trusted or well-known brands in times of tightened budgets - there are fears that travel businesses are struggling so reporting financial stability also becomes more important than in the past
If we can use well-informed responsible communications to encourage customers to book destinations and experiences that are unlikely to witness short term change, we can slowly build back long term confidence
As we continue to digest probably the biggest crisis that has ever hit this country, smart marketers and PRs will be thinking about how to build transparency, simplicity, and relevancy into their brands to build back consumer confidence. And re-establish the balance with a degree of certainty.
At White Tiger we have continued to update our Covid-19 report outlining key impacts and considerations for a 2021 communications strategy based on the current state of the nation. If you would like a copy please email email@example.com.
POSITIVE TIGER NEWS - ARCHERY GB
White Tiger PR is the retained PR partner for Archery GB for 2021 and beyond, communicating key messages regarding the sport during this Olympic and Paralympic year and developing a new participant and supporter base for this inclusive sporting activity. So far this year we have secured exposure for Archery GB across media as diverse as BBC TV and radio, TalkSport, the Sun and the Financial Times.
UNCERTAIN TIMES DEMAND CERTAIN COMMUNICATIONS
It's imperative during times of uncertainty for businesses to communicate and to communicate clearly and often both internally and externally.
Particularly when there might be bad news - trips, weddings, or flights may have been moved more than once, plans disrupted and lives impacted in a negative way - in these circumstances good communication can provide a lifeline for commercial relationships, creating a sense of reassurance and trust.
That in turn enables organisations to stay resilient and productive during these times of uncertainty. Through careful planning and preparation, early communication (notwithstanding multiple changes in regulations and guidelines) enables businesses to gain credibility. The businesses that keep their customers firmly in the loop in an open and honest way will be those most able to successfully navigate these tricky times, to grow brand trust and loyalty from customers, putting them in a prime position for future business as and when markets return.
It's imperative to reach out to both existing and previous customers - and continue to do so on a regular basis with help and useful information. This is the new normal and people, especially those in self-isolation, will be dreaming of resuming a degree of normality and travelling as soon as they can. They need escapism! For most potential customers TV, radio, and online media will form an even-more vital part of their daily routine. You need to maximise that opportunity
Be flexible in any and all ways possible so you are seen by customers to be adjusting your practices to fit the current environment - much in the same way as individuals have had to adjust their lives to fit the ever-changing COVID environment.
Managing disappointment is now a primary function of travel, lifestyle and leisure PR. We have had to become experts at factoring potential disappointment into communication strategies. Lots of our clients ask how they can best manage this and our advice is always to be open, honest, and transparent and, above all, be human and empathetic and, most importantly, consistent in your messages.
Show your customers through your actions as well as your words that you are determined to put people first. Consumers will undoubtedly remember those brands that went the extra mile - in new and intuitive ways - at a difficult time and when the recovery comes, as it surely will, that’s when you will really reap the benefits of customer loyalty.
MAXIMISE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT
People are consuming more digital technology across all platforms than ever before with the average adult accessing 5x more information than 50 years ago*.
This creates a huge opportunity for businesses to grow their brand trust with consumers in new and different ways. More than anything, strong strategic PR and marketing campaigns can be supercharged by effective online influencer and digital strategies.
Creating a digital strategy allows companies to deliver against specific objectives, measure strict KPI's, and analyse results thoroughly. Having an in-depth understanding of target audiences and respective responses allows businesses to adjust and create on-point messages, powerful calls to actions, and select appropriate platforms to best communicate your proposition to the different existing and emerging audiences.
White Tiger has always led the way in delivering integrated marketing campaigns for clients creating a holistic communications strategy that interweaves seamless communications online and off. We continue to do so at a time when it's never been more important.
Customer segmentation has always shown that different messaging is often needed for different socio-economic groups. It is now needed to account for the different ways people are responding to the current health crisis - overlaying these sentiments onto the standard socio-economic profile generates some interesting outcomes for many brands.
Motivations to purchase have changed purchasing priorities, permanently in many cases, in a short period of time and new considerations and impact scenarios are required when planning future strategy.
One clear dichotomy is based on personal financial situations. Those who have been financially impacted by the COVID crisis will be price-led and cautious about making any investment where there isn't 100% confidence in recovering funds. On the other hand, the less financially-impacted luxury market is keenly investigating savvy ways to get to their destinations. As a prime example, enquiries into private jet and villa packages in Anguilla went through the roof, especially when the island opened up to long-term visitors with a COVID visa passport.
So our message is, if you're not maximising your digital footprint in new and engaging ways, ensuring that it is working effectively to boost your PR messaging and reach new audiences, speak to White Tiger for an alternative view of how you can make your imprint permanent.
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White Tiger PR in the News
"Talking to customers, being open, informed, and innovative is key for businesses during the pandemic."
In 2020 as the pandemic hit the UK, White Tiger Managing Director, Cass Helstrip, was asked by Travel Weekly to give her thoughts on how best to communicate with customers in a crisis.
Read the full article HERE
START A CONVERSATION
As this current hiatus begins to pass there is the growing potential for a significant and extremely fast bounceback, even if the timeframe for this in 2021 remains unclear.
Flexibility will be vital as will the incentive of original new experiences that many have only dreamed of for many months.
Start ongoing conversations now with those most likely to be your future customers - this will pay dividends and prove rewarding, laying the foundations for future recovery as 2021 unfolds.
And be brave and true to your brand, finding new and innovative media and messages to communicate with your different audiences.
We have worked tirelessly during COVID times to ensure our clients have continued to understand the evolving communications issues and are in a position to maximise on any and all opportunities. Although we are always concentrating on what comes next for our clients, some of our coverage - online, broadcast, and in print - deserves attention.
If you're not sure where to start, or how to take your communications strategy forward in this emerging post Covid environment, get in touch with White Tiger today for an informal conversation.
If you'd like to receive a copy of our latest report outlining key COVID impacts and considerations for 2021/22 PR strategy or would like a no-strings conversation about your situation and how we can help, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cass Helstrip on 07968 255 464.