Author, Ramalingam Subramanian
Many of the world’s biggest technology companies such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Kickstarter, and Dropbox have one thing in common. Forged through times of crisis, these brands were established during periods of turbulence. WhatsApp—now one of the world’s biggest personal messaging platforms, and acquired by Facebook in 2014—was founded in early 2009 amidst the last global financial crisis, when the world was going through freefall, during what was considered to be the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
Despite the odds that its co-founder Jan Koum faced, one of them ironically being rejected in a job interview by Facebook, WhatsApp grew astronomically over the years, with 1.5 billion people in 180 countries using it currently. At a time of social and economic unrest, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe causing major disruptions in the way we live and how businesses operate, brands are increasingly focusing on brand continuity. How should businesses take a page from the books of brands like WhatsApp, Instagram, Kickstarter, and Dropbox, and how can they take the ongoing conversations to help educate and build trust around their brands?
Back to basics. During times of uncertainty, perhaps one of the most important aspects that a brand should focus on, is to go back to the basics, and improve on its core offering. At a time when consumers are worried about staying afloat, consumers aren’t looking to be “sold” products. But what the situation provides is a chance for businesses to build meaningful relationships with customers at every touchpoint. This is especially true for tech companies, where majority, if not every consumer touchpoint happens over the Internet. As nearly half of the world is in some form of a lockdown, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to get in front of their audiences.
For a business such as CoinDCX, where cryptocurrency trading occurs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it is of utmost importance for us to enhance the customer experience during times like these. When the nationwide lockdown in India started in March, we doubled down on preparation efforts in anticipation of increased trading activity. This included ramping up our security team to ensure that traders could use our platform with peace of mind, and also having our customer support team adequately prepared to answer any queries that customers might have during times of increased trading.
Focusing on consumer needs and building community awareness. Where governments around the world encourage citizens to take the chance to upgrade their professional skills and enhance their learning with the amount of time at home, companies and brands should take a serious stance on providing educational opportunities that can benefit their communities. As gateways to industry knowledge, companies can contribute a wealth of information during this time. This can help to build trust and enhance the reputation of brands.
In India, the Covid-19-induced lockdown was preceded by the lifting of a 2-year long banking restriction on the cryptocurrency industry by the Supreme Court. This led to a spike in curiosity around cryptocurrencies in India, where the country previously only had 5 million users, out of the 1.35 billion population. With a new thirst for knowledge around how to use cryptocurrencies, we received many requests on social media inquiring about our platform. We then launched a nationwide educational campaign, partnering with other industry players to provide a one-stop-shop for users to learn about cryptocurrencies as an asset class.
The best investment is your team. As we navigate through unprecedented times globally—where a large majority of workforces are forced to work remotely and from home—there is a heightened need for companies to ensure that employees feel empowered enough to contribute, with an emphasis on every individual’s well-being. After all, employees are each company’s most valuable asset, and major contributors to the success of your company. Without this key pillar supporting the objectives of each organisation, it will not be possible to provide the best experiences for customers, and effective brand building during times of turbulence.
To this end, companies should invest heavily in team culture. This entails a top-down approach to instilling confidence in each individual, where team leaders are instrumental in encouraging ownership and commitment to transparency in all aspects of team communication. While a majority of workforces globally are adjusting to different styles of work during this time, it is important to ensure that team morale continues to be at a high. At the end of the day, there is no greater brand ambassador than an employee who is proud of her work and her company.
Strengthening your resolve. While personal health concerns ring loudest amidst times like these, business leaders should take the time to evaluate brand health. There is never a bad time to strengthen a brand, and for leaders to thoroughly think about how they can come out of this crisis more resilient, and stronger than before. From returning to the basics, through improving customer touchpoints, spreading education and information, to building a team that is empowered to lead the brand to new heights, businesses can ensure that brand can follow in the footsteps of many greats such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Kickstarter, and Dropbox.
Ramalingam Subramanian is the CMO of CoinDCX, India’s Largest and Safest Cryptocurrency Exchange.