Business strategist offers 5 key questions to ask yourself right now

April 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is touching all of us personally and professionally. It’s important to think about how you can weather this unprecedented storm and come through stronger than ever.

Think that’s not possible? NPC Innovation Support Member Peter Drummond disagrees. Peter is principal and co-founder at PSD+G Strategy Group, and led the development of NPC’s first strategic plan.

We sat down with Peter to talk about what you can do, right now, to shore up your brand.

“Smart companies will find ways to build resilience,” says Peter. “We’re all struggling to redefine what we do and how we do it, and fighting to stay in business. But it’s also likely the best opportunity you’re ever going to get to put some age-old advice into practice and work ON your business, not just IN your business.”

Peter goes on to explain, “Evidence and experience from the 2008 economic downturn show that maintaining your engagement with customers during times of crisis pays off in the long run, even if it feels like a stretch. Now is the time to invest in your brand and put the time in to financially, emotionally, and strategically refocus.”

Peter presented a 90-minute workshop to help the NPC community survive and thrive during this time. The interactive session will focus on five key brand-related questions to consider in the coming weeks and months:

  1. What business are you really in?

“If you make soap, for example, are you in the soap business or the beauty business? As a brand, Dove is building self-esteem and confidence, not selling soap. Harley Davidson is fulfilling dreams, not selling motorcycles. Now is the time to assess questions around the benefits you offer your customer—not the features. If you’re developing new technology to replace plastic packaging, the feature might be less harmful waste, but the benefit? Saving the planet!”

2. What is your higher purpose or vision?

“Why do you exist on this planet? Figuring that out is going to focus your organization, rally the troops, and bring benefit to the community. It’s a natural extension of figuring out what your brand really is and what benefit you bring. Research shows that purpose-driven brands consistently outperform those without a purpose-driven vision. I have a strong belief in purpose-driven brands that drive social impact, and that most businesses have the capacity to operate at this high level.”

3. What’s your brand?

“What do you stand for? This is one idea, even one word, that personifies YOUR brand and differentiates you from your competitors. Safety, performance, confidence? It’s the idea or promise you want your target customer to experience when they hear your name, see your logo, or spot your product. It remains consistent over time, but how you take it to market might change. Don’t forget that you have a brand, whether you choose it or not. Now is the time to take control of the impression you’re making.”

4. How well do you know your target customer?

“What do they think? What do they believe? What do they value? This is not just demographics like age, gender, and occupation. It’s psychographics including beliefs, values, attitudes, and lifestyles. You might be incredibly passionate about your science and technology, but if you’ve never talked to a customer, it doesn’t matter. What is their unmet need in the marketplace? That’s the question you need to solve.”

5. Does your value proposition reflect what your customers value, and is your business model aligned to that?

“Right now, entrepreneurs have a little downtime to explore important questions. What they’re working on is probably great, but to maximize their opportunity they need to ask why customers should care. What’s your value proposition? When you ask customers what they need and want, you’re creating value from the outside in. And customer value drives profits. Spend time with your customers, understand what they want, and build your business model to deliver that every day—that’s the formula.”


About Peter Drummond

Peter is principal and co-founder at PSD+G Strategy Group, and has more than 30 years of experience helping big brands, start-ups, and not-for-profits achieve business success. He has a passion helping early-stage entrepreneurs and offers tailored, collaborative, and affordable solutions. Peter has led business and brand strategic work at Natural Products Canada, 48North Cannabis, Ocean Nutrition Canada, Open Blue Sea Farms (Panama), Canada Post, Bio-K+, Corus Entertainment, Aeroplan, Shoppers Drug Mart, Live Nation, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Groupe Desjardins, and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.