With the first long weekend of 2021 behind us, we start thinking about and to plan Summer getaways whether they be full staycations, long weekend getaways or time at the cottage. Whatever your plans are we hope that you will be treating yourself to some time away from the office. If you were planning on getting away to find some sun, sand and dreamy blue waves or checking out one of the many amazing festivals that occur during the Summer, well the current pandemic has put those plans on hold but that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore and vacation within your own region and support local businesses and discover all that your area of the world has to offer. While you are enjoying yourself on staycation, I have some tips to help you maintain your brand while you’re away.
Just as you’d never leave for a vacation without your wallet, suitcase, your favorite swimsuit and SPF 110—ok, maybe that’s just me? You shouldn’t go without prepping your business to maintain your brand while you’re away.
Since ‘brand’ can get a little ambiguous, depending on who you’re talking to, we’re talking about your brand from a customer experience standpoint. It’s the part of your brand you focus on when you’re looking to build and maintain trust with your customers!
Since this makes up a large part of how you gain brand visibility, we’re sharing our tips to get your branding beach ready for you to take some much-needed time away to recharge.
DON’T SHARE THAT YOU’RE ON YOUR STAYCATION WHILE YOU’RE AWAY
While ‘transparency’ may be a part of your brand, the first thing I always recommend is not sharing that you’ll be away on social media.
Many business owners have their homes listed somewhere in connection with their online platforms. Between GPS data, check-ins, or smaller businesses registering under their home address—there is a lot of vulnerability around telling the world you’re going to be heading on vacation, whether it is staycation or otherwise.
This is why we suggest not making a post on your business platforms to say that you will be going on vacation for a select amount of time.
Instead, take the time while you’re away to capture the content you think would resonate with your audience, and then share it when you get back! Then you get a vacation while you’re gone and a content creation vacation when you get home!
PLAN CONTENT AHEAD AND SCHEDULE POSTS WHILE ON VACATION
Everywhere you look, brands are trying to develop authenticity within their customer interactions. Maybe it’s something as small as a company culture of using first names, or as large as the CEO reaching out to dissatisfied customers personally.
The most common trend we’re seeing is people scheduling less of their content and spending more time engaging one-on-one with their audience.
That being said, you’re not alone if you’re using a scheduling app to create consistency with pre-scheduled posts as a part of your marketing distribution.
Take the time before you leave to write your blog posts, social media updates, etc. so that you can have them scheduled to go out and create a consistent presence while you’re away.
If you’re a solo-entrepreneur and don’t have that extra time, just let people know ahead of time that you’re taking some time away from your most time-consuming tasks (i.e. writing blog posts) and focus on scheduling a few of the less time intensive marketing tasks.
Some consistency is better than none. And done is better than perfect. Keeping up with your posts as much as possible will go a long way to maintaining that client trust.
CONTACT YOUR ACTIVE CLIENT LIST TWO WEEKS OUT
There’s nothing worse than getting an email right before vacation from a client who didn’t know you were going to be away on vacation the next morning. You end up caught between telling them you can’t work on their project because you’re leaving on vacation or you rush to get their work to them.
Neither is a great option and both leave you feeling quite anxious for your business.
Once you have your vacation details set, add a reminder to email your active client list at least two weeks out from when you’re going to be leaving. This eliminates worry over last minute projects and the possibility of an active client receiving your out of office notice when you’ve already headed out into the sunset.
Setting expectations make for a great customer experience, which in turn helps with your client retention.
SET UP YOUR OUT OF OFFICE
Your Out of Office email is the branding opportunity you never knew you had.
When you think of branding opportunities, you usually think of the logo or getting signage on the side of a building. Or even what you post about on social media.
We don’t usually think about small things like writing an out-of-office reminder as an opportunity for brand growth.
Taking time away from work to relax and reflect on your business and your life as a whole is a part of building your brand, in the same way as preparing your customers for you to be out of touch is. They are experiences that elevate your brand from the competition.
If you write a generic email, your customer won’t find it to be a memorable experience. If you haven’t prepared them for your departure at all, it might even be a negative experience for them.
Neither of these is what you really want for your brand. If you want to amplify your message, create something custom that speaks to your audience and reflects who you—and the business you represent—are in a personal way.
Need some ideas for your out of office, let me know I would be happy to share some ideas with you and you can also find many examples on the internet.
AVOID DASHING TO THE DEADLINE
We’ve all tried to fit in a last-minute project. Before vacation, before the holidays, before the end of the year—and I can’t think of a time that a last-minute project has been completed without at least 1 or 2 hiccups.
Aim to start wrapping up and handing over projects and large tasks at the same time as you’ve sent out your vacation notification.
This leaves you time to avoid rushing your customer’s choices or having to hire out work that you don’t have time to handle before you leave for vacation.
Once you’ve set up and executed a customer experience around your vacation, there’s nothing left for you to do but set that out of office email and start enjoying your time away from the office and maybe in 2022 we can be heading down South again!
by Brittany Pickrem
Brittany Pickrem is a brand designer for 6 and 7-figure leaders and changemakers across the globe. Brittany provides leaders with a world-class brand strategy and style from their website to their wardrobe.