Thomas Michael Hogg noticed something different during the past year-something he did not expect when the world was thrust into an on again, off again ride of unprecedented consequences caused by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Solidarity. His clients-which over the years have included brands like PepsiCo (Germany), adidas (Germany), Campbell’s Soup, Johnson Controls-seemed to be more communicative, and more apt to ask for help and support.
This closeness with the customer, as Hogg describes it, means they are more willing to join forces to withstand the crisis together. They are more open to talk directly about their financial situations. The volatility in every aspect of the market caused financial pressure the likes that nobody has ever seen.
“People are longing for connection-a need to analyze and understand the big picture and the current situation of their business,” says Hogg, founder and managing director of TMH Consulting and Investing Group. “They want to know what is going to happen to the global value chains and economies, and how this is going to affect their companies.”
In his book, “Profitable Growth Strategy,” Hogg laid out a seven-step profitable growth methodology that served as a proven blueprint implemented by some of the world’s aforementioned leading brands in multiple countries. And while Hogg’s blueprint is designed to help transform the business mindset, the world’s financial landscape went into splintering directions.
To help make sense of the new landscape, TMH proactively approached its customers on a one-to-one basis, using a customer survey to discern their key challenges they were facing. The research uncovered that of the 160 CEOs surveyed, 94% said that their companies “cross-industry” were negatively impacted due to the global crisis.
Initially, there was a lot of “Don’t lose hope for a better tomorrow,” and “You need to transform your business model with a focus on quality, innovation and healthy finances,” talk to help ease his clients through the discovery period. The challenges were about competitiveness, profitable growth and delivering relevant products/services.
But above all else, the communication that Hogg and his team extended made the difference. “Engagement, engagement, engagement,” Hoggs says. “Assertive communication with a sound handling and sensitivity of the difficult situation boosts engagement. Brands with a holistic employee, client and society value delivering will win new ‘brand lovers.’ So you have to find ways to connect with your tribe. There must be a ‘wow’ value.”
Hogg recalls the story of a conversation he had with the CEO of an ad agency TMH represents. Hogg told his client to defend his core business and key client sales. Serving your key customers means “key.” “Customer retention was very crucial in the first month of the pandemic. Our client was able to serve almost all of the key account customers reporting a similar sales volume and profit margin in 2019. Being relevant in this situation even drove attention to a much more bigger international competitor who was willing to acquire our client.”
The client was surprised to be able to achieve an exit (company sale) during the crisis.
This article appears in the March/April 2021 issue of Connect magazine published by NextPage, which can be found online here. If you would like a free print subscription to Connect, please click here.