20 April 2020
An open letter to our retail friends and colleagues…
by Richard Beasley
It is a scary and unprecedented time.
Never in my 25 years of running BWP have I experienced such a time of uncertainty. It is scary for us, for you and for your customers, but by working together we can get through this and come out the other side even stronger.
As I sit here reflecting on the current climate, both for our business and that of our clients, I am also thinking about our community and our families. It is imperative to keep people safe and well, but also try and retain some form of normality at home and in business.
As retail, leisure and food businesses temporarily close it would be all too easy to down tools completely until it is all over. But by doing that we are not stopping - we are going backwards.
Here at BWP we will be using this time of uncertainty for good. To reflect on the company, its values, its purpose and its strategy. We are also recommending this to all our clients and are helping them through it – review, reflect and plan for the future on the other side of this pandemic. Focus on what we can do better and what we want to achieve.
I am urging everyone I speak to - use this time wisely to get ahead of the curve. Dedicate time to getting your business in a better place for better times. This will not only be good for your company’s wellbeing, but your own. It will help instil a positive mindset and productivity during a difficult time.
So, what should businesses be doing at this time? Continue to strengthen your online footprint and CRM. Your customers may not be able to visit right now but they are still there, and they still love you, so make sure you are looking out for them too and communicating with them.
Consumers will still be purchasing online so long as there is delivery and they will certainly be streaming, scrolling and sharing, so keep the momentum going and your messaging on repeat across all digital channels. But make sure your messaging sits right and carries an appropriate and considered tone.
Concentrate on elements of the business that get less focus during peak times. Assess and progress your leasing or category plans, plan your annual campaigns, re-align your strategy on reflection of the ever-changing climate. With many clients across the retail and brand sector we are spending time planning for winter and Christmas, negotiating rates and briefing our creatives.
Should shopping centres be spending on advertising right now? No. Should we scenario plan activity for once the worst has passed so we can hit the ground running and start driving footfall again? Absolutely.
We can’t stop and do nothing in this uncertain time, to survive we must plan to move the business forward.
At BWP we don’t have all the answers and we don’t have a crystal ball, but with 25 years’ experience of supporting and turning businesses around, we can and will work with you to navigate through this. We have recently been appointed by a European scheme to do just that, and a UK retail company is taking our advice on weathering the storm.
Just as we are looking after our staff, offering mental health training, flexi remote working, four-day weeks and job sharing to ride the storm and keep the business alive, we will also do the same for you. We will do whatever it takes to help you create a strong and stable business in the long term.
We’ve got you.
Chief Executive Officer