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Value of TRUST in the post-Covid World

Author: Juris Pētersons
09/05/2020

Today and tomorrow Covid-19 reigns supreme – in media, in political and business agendas, in Berlin, Riga, Vilnius, in Tallinn. We are constantly reminded of the many restrictions, many boundaries, new rules of social distancing, quarantine and isolation. But Covid-19 will not reign the day after tomorrow. Companies, regardless of markets they operate and have vested interests in, will have to understand that and prepare for that day. Today is the right time to plan for the day after tomorrow – so review your client portfolio, review your team’s performance, review the way you act in public, what decisions you tend make – and then think, evaluate, prepare and act. Today may be the only chance you get.

Companies around the world who want to survive and later thrive will have to become more truthful, become more human. They will have to fight for talented employees, they will learn to better appreciate the clients and the products they already have.

In these months of global crisis we are constantly reminded that all business is social business. It is first and foremost people who interact. A TV ad can trigger an action, but it cannot nurture a relationship. People, and what they do and say – can. If this critical time will do one thing for companies, hopefully, it will remind them that people and trust between people matters. No business will survive without a dedicated team (people). Neither will it survive without being accessible and trustworthy to consumers and clients (also people). Business won’t survive without an open, honest conversation between the two.

Companies who know better will learn to erase fancy jargon from their vocabulary, get to the point, make their communication count, while appreciating their client’s time. These companies will do things instead of talking about doing things. Companies will respect their clients not in words, but in deeds. Sanford Stein, a retail industry contributor wrote April 17, 2020 on Forbes.com:

No matter how many stores reopen [after Covid-19 lock-downs], or where they exist, the retailers and brands will need to communicate the very real, tangible, and transparent initiatives that have been undertaken, regarding the well-being of their customers and valued employees. Trust has now replaced convenience, value, price, or about anything else as the retail metric that matters most.

Trust will have a renewed meaning after the crisis. Currently employees are being laid off, companies ar closing up shop, many forever. And consumers have more time on their hands than ever before to evaluate, think through and make more weighed purchasing decisions. Who can they trust? Consumers will come out on the other side of this crisis more cautious, with a modified set of values, against which to weigh your product and service offers. And they will remember how valuable real relationships really are. The ability to talk openly, deliver on promises and act responsibly – these will be the foundations of trust. So when consumers choose an art book store, they will go to the best and most responsible one they know (think Bücherbogen under the railway tracks, Savigny Platz, Berlin). When they want post-crisis coffee in Prenzlauer Berg, they just might opt for Bonanza Coffee, who’s partnering to make coffee-based soap and “gently flattening the curve” today.

Here’s what I encourage my clients and friends to consider, every time we talk about “what’s next”:

Tell the truth that matters to your clients, about your products and about what you do today and tomorrow. Do more than they expect, and do it better – if you are supporting your community, rethink if your current approach is the best; consider how you will protect your customers and employees better.

Make sure they can hear you. You should have enough ways (online and offline) to talk to your customers and tell your stories yourself. Social networks, dedicated product and initiative sites, public media, your store and office – it’s your call. Not everything must be left to chance. Make sure when your business is online, it really is there - up to date, ready to listen, talk, ready to show and tell.

And let’s be clear - we all should be better prepared for the next crisis to have a fighting chance after.

Juris Pētersons

Strategy and Crisis Communication
, JazzCom

 

The piece first published in: German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce BalticBusinessQuarterly publication, Special Edition 2020

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