Amid the pandemic and digital disruption, businesses need to create a “value proposition” by considering the three P’sprofit, people and planetas core values and embrace the “above-the-ocean strategy” (AOS) for resilience, says a brand specialist. “Covid-19 is a critical turning point that could be either a threat or an opportunity for the business sector,” said Piyachart Isarabhakdee, chief executive of BRANDi, a brand-centric management consulting firm, and the author of Business as Unusual and Branding 4.0.
“The pandemic creates an unusual time for businesses, which require new mindsets for their organisations and communication efficiency to boost business competency.”
Before the Covid-19 period, digital disruption was seen as the first wave impacting business profitability. Over the past 3-4 years, digital disruption has affected not only downstream businesses close to people, such as banking and telecom, but also upstream businesses such as manufacturing.
Environmental issues are considered part of a second wave that could hinder business operations.
“As businesses encounter crisis and disruption, this requires a new paradigm of business strategy focusing on value proposition,” Piyachart said.
While Covid-19 affects the market landscape and digital disruption leads to changes in people’s behaviour, the competitive landscape is also being redefined. Accordingly, businesses should not only fix their attention to any one “ocean” strategy, be it red (highly competitive market), blue (uncontested market), white (morality) or green (environment), he said.
“We should design the right mixture of the ocean, not focus only on one product or business model,” Piyachart said. “Businesses need to define their own value propositions, look beyond specific products, create differentiation and enhance monetisation.”
He cited PTT as an example, saying the conglomerate diversified its business beyond oil and gas and into the retail sector, including Cafe Amazon, a trusted brand among consumers.
It is also important for businesses to forge their value proposition and effectively deliver it, otherwise “brands will fail”, Piyachart said.
Before Covid-19, businesses focused on creating brand awareness and reputation, as well as profit-making and risk mitigation.
As businesses weather unusual conditions during the pandemic, brands are becoming an engine for growth, and their value proposition goes beyond profit by taking environmental enhancement and well-being into account, he said.
The right mixture of the three “P”s needs to be considered when creating a value proposition, Piyachart said.
In the retail sector, many operators have agreed to stop providing plastic bags on environmental grounds. Brands that are careless about waste mitigation or that create pollution risk a backlash from environmentally conscious people, he said. This perception affects the way businesses operate.
To overcome the pandemic and wavering market, businesses need to embrace the AOS and take into account ecosystem success, which concerns the three “P”s.
Businesses, Piyachart said, need to invest in a brand value proposition as a priority, even with tight budgets, as this approach could deliver a short-term uptick, not to mention the long-term consequences.
During Covid-19, brands can scale up to provide new products or services and ensure business resilience in the mid-term, he said.
In the post Covid-19 period, a value proposition will unlock potential business models and innovations, resulting in a broad acceptance of brands.
During the pandemic, business leaders must accelerate the growth mindset, enhance business agility and boost employee engagement. In the post-pandemic period, employees need to be supported to become a change agent with entrepreneurial spirit, said Piyachart.
During the crisis, competent companies need versatile strategies to foster growth. Hard-hit firms should adopt resilience, though some companies will be unable to avoid closure, he said.
“Measuring business success with profit or key performance indicators may not be an option in this unusual time,” Piyachart said.
Focusing on value proposition, agile process, growth mindset, customer behaviour and spending patterns could be a game-changer for business, he said.
According to Piyachart, when businesses with a strong brand value make a mistakeparticularly something shown in social mediaif they admit it and say sorry, consumers are likely to forgive and protect them.
“In order to successfully drive businesses, brands need to question themselves and how they can grow together with employees while creating a positive impact on society,” he said. Also, they need to start with the right mindset, embed in operation and translate to impactful communication.
With eight years of experience in business consulting, BRANDi always attaches importance to brand value proposition, which covers the three P’s with the global knowledge framework, Piyachart said.
“We have experience in more than 18 industries, from medium-sized to large organisations, from state to private enterprises,” he said. “We work with our clients as a partner to solve their most challenging problems and provide potential business opportunities that can help them achieve economic growth while creating positive impact sustainably.”