HOW COVID 19 HAS CHANGED THE CHANNEL INCENTIVE STRATEGIES
The Novel Coronavirus has impacted almost everything, right from people’s lives to businesses to economies. According to the IMF, the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3 per cent in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s. These are indeed unusual times. Despite all this, there are brands who have accepted the events and taken it all in their stride. These brands are doing amazingly well with their channel strategies too.
Let’s look at what changes are recommended to be done in your channel incentive strategies due to this pandemic, and how you can benefit from them.
Your channel partners, customers and employees are most likely distressed. Don’t let their morale go down. Create an ecosystem to uplift them. Try to meet their needs. Guide them about the safe and best practices that can be implemented to ease the operations. Let them know that the brand is with them in this together. Hold joint webinars, virtual events to motivate them.
Brands should consider suspending all non critical events and sticking with only the necessary ones, through digital medium, preferably.
According to research conducted by Qualtrics, nearly 70 per cent of people in India believe it is important for brands to take care of their employees and customers and they should not take advantage of the crisis to maximise profits.
Keeping short term targets is a good strategy during this crisis. Brands should work in conjunction with their teams and partners to understand their priorities, both core and short term functions. These should not be imposed on them instead should be suggested by them. These functions should be easily achievable. The completion of such functions will itself enable a sense of achievement among all the involved members.
Sticking to channel incentive strategies based on performance would not be such a good plan for now. Brands would need to be flexible, and sensitive towards their channel partners and employees. Also they should not limit the benefits to only performers, this is the time to be inclusive and empathic towards everybody.
Design tailored initiatives for small and medium sized partners. These initiatives could contain solutions such as digital assets, guidelines for safe engagements, tutorials to educate them some digital techniques and suchlike. Brands who are doing so are being praised for passing the initiatives to their channel partners and employees, and needless to say are winning minds and hearts.
Maintain regular communication with the partners and the employees. The study by Qualtrics suggests that Indians want brands to communicate with them. Around 50 per cent of the respondents said their trust in the brands they regularly engaged with has increased. The sound of the communication should not be tone-deaf but empathic.
Drive positive engagements and seek continuous feedback. The engagement practices have changed now. There are rewards which can be used at home, aka At-home Rewards. Rewards like Digital Entertainment vouchers, online learning vouchers, online shopping vouchers, and so on are getting quite hit now.
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