5 Actions in the “Age of Re-”
The Latin root of the prefix “Re” means “again.”
Even though this year seems more uncertain and brand-new than we can professionally remember, I’m thinking it might actually be the time for “again.”
Brands in 2020 seem to be going back to their core customers with the strongest loyalty. To lean into that loyalty means messages and brand positions have to be more basic and true to what your core group of customers believe about you.
I’ve thought of this as the Age of Re. It’s the Age of Again for brands who want to remember who they are, what their real purpose is, and regain their footing in an uncertain landscape.
So, here are 5 Re’s your brand can embrace in this strange landscape. All of us are reimagining our health, economic, and social cause futures. I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed, and I challenge you to talk with your team about these, and other, Re’s.
- Revisit – How many ideas have you filed away? They might have been too goofy, too strange, or lower priority than other ideas that drove shorter-term revenue. For some brands, being on the brink may also mean removing fear.
- Remind – Stating your position in the market, your values, and what makes you different than competitors is vital. Customers are – like all of us – scattered in their thinking. We have been at home balancing school, work, and new social norms…all while being bombarded with a relentless news cycle that won’t quit. It’s easy for customers to forget what you stand for.
- Reinvent – It might be time to add new products, expand into other markets, or transform a core competency into something different. If you are in retail or clothes-making, adjusting to producing masks makes a lot of sense. In fact, a recent bag company made some modifications to create masks as a new product line.
Slight Detour: Check out the pivots from these companies now offering masks:
- bluecanoe.com - selling out the first wave of organic, cotton-stretch, amazingly comfortable masks
- bagmasters.com - pivoted their bag-making business into making masks
- customink.com - which does custom t-shirts, and is now making customized masks
In addition, businesses used to a physical presence are thinking of how they move forward with remote workers. Companies like Zapier and NinjaCat are all remote. Businesses like Modern Postcard – which has a physical printing and mailing facility – are now hybrid models with some workers on-site, and others remotely working. This change created an opportunity to reinvent your business model and working organization.
- Retouch – Beyond what to say, it’s also a time to communicate differently to your customers and leads. With email, mailings, educational webinars, and PDFs, the reason to send messages back to all of your customers is clear. You can remind them of your mission and values by retouching all of them. Setting but limiting your marketing communication schedule for the next 6 months makes sense – it’s going to be an uncertain back-half of the year, especially heading into the tumultuous November Election cycle.
- Recover – Focusing the business on clawing back to a steady revenue place is key. The Playbook for 2020 was thrown out the window in March, and now the expectations and goals are completely different. I’ve heard from several brands that breaking down the goal in stages can help. It might seem too daunting to recover all of the business, so focusing on one or two aspects where getting back to baseline is do-able
Bonus Re: Rejuvenate. There are many brands who are engaging the current conversation of racial injustice and some kind of police reform. Shout-out to Everlane, who has a link to resources related to Black Lives Matter that help educate, create awareness, and deepen understanding. Every marketer should know that 76% of Generation Z – who will be the largest consumer group in 2026 – purchases or considers purchasing from a brand to show support for the social issues the brand cares about. Everlane has done this, injecting a more youthful, lively and aware message on their website.
It’s a time to go back again to ideas, values, and customers that made your brand unique in the first place.
As marketers, we all professionally ascribe to the concept that more information and understanding yields better decisions. Why wouldn’t that happen in other areas of our life and community?
As always, I welcome your comments.
Chris Foster has been teaching Brand Strategy and Positioning at UCSD Extension since 2009. He has lead professional workshops and presented at numerous San Diego Marketing Association events as well as national events for the Direct Marketing Association; been guest lecturer at SDSU Marketing Courses; and participated in numerous professional panels.
For the past 20 years he has worked in all aspects of marketing and creative direction for start-up, growing, and established business environments. He has a passion for helping any-sized business transform their brand so they can more authentically connect with their audience.