I am writing this piece at the beginning of April. So much has changed since the start of March and who knows where we’ll be by the time you’re reading these words. I suspect we will still be in some form of lockdown but hopefully the feelings of panic will have subsided and we’ll be settling into a new ‘normal’ whatever that looks like for you, your family and your firm.

On one hand, settling into more of a routine will be beneficial but firms need to be wary not to drop off the radar. I understand that you will all be in different positions currently, for example, I know some firms have furloughed their marketing teams, but where you do have the ability to influence how your firm approaches its marketing during the coming weeks and months, my thoughts are these.

The announcement of Government and other support schemes will provide firms with a steady stream of content as they pick through the numerous supporting documents and communicate how these apply to their clients. This type of marketing is bread and butter for firms because these types of communications are similar to those surrounding the budget (but are clearly more pressing and compacted into a shorter time period).

But what happens when the details of the support packages start to tail off? How do you continue to communicate effectively and sensitively?

People are still buying. Not just services which relate to our current circumstances but business as usual purchases such as payroll and accountancy services. It’s vital for firms to keep front of mind with their clients and target audiences. A recent study by Kantar showed that only 8% of those 35,000 people surveyed felt that brands should stop advertising. There was a clear consensus that companies should adapt their messaging accordingly but by no means would there be damage to brands who were sensitive to the circumstances and stayed true to their brand values.

As well as larger-scale communications such as advertising and social media posts, now is the time to pick up the phone to clients. Not to sell but to see how they are doing. Client feedback is often a project which is pushed down the priority list, but it is so important in good times and in bad. To those firms who do not reach out to their clients on a personal level – the silence will be deafening. As we move into the normalising phase of this crisis and clients start to think about ‘what next’ for their business, they may start to reflect on the service they receive from their advisers and begin to research alternatives – don’t give them cause to do so.

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing you on PM Forum webinars and in-person at events when this passes, and it will.

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