This week saw Australia Trusted Brands release its national and international winners chosen by Australian consumers. Winners include the likes of Vegemite, Qantas, Penfolds Wine, ING Banks, Weetbix and Toyota.
As a nation of big consumers, the COVID-19 pandemic has confronted us with changes that have not been experienced bar the treasured few who remember the world wars.
The commercial and behavioural impacts of the coronavirus have been complete and immediate as people’s incomes are lost or jeopardizedand supply chains disrupted.
It is only natural that this heightened state is causing many anxieties, fear and stress. These emotions areinfluencing our consumer decisions, whether we are conscious of it or not. Trust is also an emotion that subconsciously drives our decision making. It is an intangible quality that we associate with reliability and integrity; reassuring us when we choose a product or service, that we are making the right choice.
While we value price and quality, a brand needs to stay faithful to its promises. Brands that not only attract us as consumers but maintain our confidence and win trust, do so by holding true to their core value system. For a small business, this brand difference is vital to surviving the impact COVID-19.
Trusted small business brands will maintain employee and customer loyalty. When they experience hard times, people rally to support them just as they unite to help others. One of the first impacted industries during this time was the hospitality industry. When events began tocancel and numbers withered to only meetings of two, many brands faltered and lost their way.
Kym Carsons, founder and director of Entice Me Catering and Café, saw her trusted brand transformed during the commercial downtime. With her huge heart, impeccable service and quality of food, she saw opportunities to adapt, to spread her wings out of her comfort zone and innovate. Already used to catering for events of up to 5000 attendees, Kym began providing meals to workers in their home offices and takeaway meals to her loyal client base.
With more than 17 years of industry experience, Kym had built a brand built on the community. Always one to support those in need; when Kym’s time came, her friends, clients and suppliers rallied together to help her and the Entice Me business. Taking the COVID-19 lockdown laws in her stride, Kym used the quiet time to rebrand Entice me with a digital makeover to become mobile-ready. Then, Kym took time over the Easter long weekend to give her café and catering home base a makeover.
How could she do this when the industry was at an all-time low? The community that surrounded her rallied with donations of furniture to create her the new French provincial theme. Friends and long-standing customers donated their time and labour to give Entice Me Café a facelift. This is a testament to the rapport Kym, and her brand Entice Me had as capital throughout their community. People helped because they knew there was always a positive word, friendly staff and incredible food made with passion waiting at Entice Me’s door.
Kym would be the first to tell you – we’re all in this together, to be positive and that we are going to be ok. As we look forward to the lifting of lockdown, as a business and trusted brand Entice Me stands ready to serve her loyal corporate catering clients with renewed vigour, a fresh brand and cut-through digital presence.
Thankfully these beacons of community spirit are embedded in brands across the country and go beyond the hospitality industry. Another community-minded business owner who leads by example is Joe McCord of Digital 8.
Digital 8 is a premier web design service based in Brisbane. With a full tech and creative team, Joe leads by example and has strong ground roots with employees, clients and the community.
When I asked Joe about the impact of small decisions made each day and what impact they have in the long term, he was unequivocal. “Choosing how you communicate with your team, being consistent, comprehensive and transparent,” says Joe.
As successful business owners, both Joe and Kym believe that what’s best for the business is directly aligned with what’s best for their community. Furthermore, Joe believes leading by example and nurturing positive role models in his Digital 8 team will foster positive and purposeful community leaders.
Coming from vastly different industries, Joe and Kym believe that one thing has become clear during COVID-19; that the pandemic provides business owners with the opportunity to reinvent your business, create efficiencies and adapt rapidly. As community stalwarts, you can see that these are two savvy business leaders have proved the importance of brand trust and loyalty, virtues built through courage and authentic leadership.
Joe’s Key Takeaways
Build your brand on a value system that is authentic
Create a strategic positive impact even during adversity
Don’t focus on what’s good for you, focus what’s good for all.
Communicate effectively and consistently with your team
Authenticity breeds trust.
Be comfortable with change and adapt on the fly.
Remember negativity is like a weed, remove it and avoid at all costs.