Is this the right time for relaunch?

The answer is yes!

Building brands in uncertain times is a no brainer

It is often documented that the best time to build a brand is in times of uncertainty and fear. Take for example WhatsApp and Uber, both started in 2009 after the financial crisis and seems they did pretty well.

So what? Well all successful businesses must be:–

  • different to the rest
  • have good people
  • be relevant to their market
  • customers trust them.

Do all these factors apply to your business? Yes, should be the answer.

If so, then plan the relaunch now – if you do not others will

 It is highly likely there will be a relaxation of some travel guidelines during May and June, but people will seek and even desire venues where social distancing can be achieved more easily. Indoor venues could pose a risk so outdoor activities will be sort after. Furthermore, and we have seen the news about areas of natural beauty, open air and even rural locations will be greatly desirable.
Every outdoor venue will be your competition. First come first served – so those that start the process now will be foremost in the customers mind when the time comes to get out and about.

So, appealing locations that can demonstrate the following will win out:

Hygiene rules and social distancing
Outdoors and rural
Family orientated but providing exercise
Friendly and trustworthy
Easily accessible from larger towns
Not highly populated (like indoor attractions)

Is this you? – great. But who knows about all this unless you tell them?

It is highly likely that international travel is some way off and it will be perceived that it is safer to stay in the UK anyway. So, making great use of social media, online marketing, websites and so on, which are laser targeted to right audience will let new customers hear about you.

Think about where your current customers are based, and then stretch your catchment area even further afield. Travelling for a day will be attractive anyway, so maybe even highlight local attractions to encourage visitors that the journey is worthwhile.

Caution will remain in the population so tell people about your social distancing and hygiene measures. Even shoot a small video to show the route around your centre so new customers can see they will be safe and what they must do on arrival.

As soon as you know when you might be open, take bookings and max-out the booking spaces, but still giving full consideration prevailing guidelines of course. That will bring in valuable cash. Remember to highlight any cancellation terms.

Finally, what about those four factors above?

Be different – why are you different and what makes you stand out. Create new services that can appeal in these times so even existing customers are quickly tempted to return early.

People – employees will be stressed after this lock down, but we all know that happy smiley staff means a happy smiley customer. Invest your time in your people and your enthusiasm will ensure great customer experiences.

Relevance to the market – hitting the right notes as above will make you relevant. Additionally, by providing value, wellbeing and convenience will see customers return for more. One off business may be useful, but always strive for customer retention. Be relevant to your target audience.

Trust – reduce the fear factor about going out again and your customers will return, and new customers will visit you. Strong branding and marketing campaigns promoting  a proven track record will enhance trust. Trust creates loyalty so deliver on your promotion and be aware that some people may have hit hard times.

As ever the theory sounds sensible and simple but behind it is hard work, permanent attention to detail, team building, being proficient at marketing, be willing to talk to all your customers (not just the preferred friends) whilst retaining the flair, creativity and positive attitude of a business leader.

I will continue to publish these blogs and articles outlining key strategies for building a really successful livery and riding centre. Over the last seven years, my wife Jo and I have built up what we think is a very successful enterprise that we are proud of  We made our own mistakes and learnt a lot on the way.

But when we started there was no help anywhere, from anyone in the riding centre market. A few marketing people but no real insider business knowledge specifically for riding establishments. Well now there is. Stay tuned or visit our website