Are you ready to watch a movie and eat some popcorn someplace other than your couch?
Believe it or not, under the guidelines recently released by the White House, cinemas would be allowed to reopen in the first of three phases. As expected, it will be left largely up to governors to decide when their states are ready to allow theaters, along with restaurants, sports stadiums and churches, to open.
When they do, the experience won’t be the same, says USA Today. Social distancing will still play a role, meaning seats and rows could be blocked off. But for theater chains, just being able to sell tickets and Coke again could be a financial godsend.
Movie theaters have a natural reopening message ready to go — the latest movie. Every new movie is a new message and a new offer in that business.
Delayed openings of big films — like the 30-years-in-the-making Top Gun sequel Maverick — are going to be in such demand that theaters could possibly spend less on media than they had planned and still get great numbers.
Bars, restaurants and cafés — where socialization is a major part of the offering — could have the toughest time. Part of their message has to involve convincing customers they have super-sanitized everything. They’ll also have to enforce some sort of social distancing while trying to bring back the fun atmosphere of hanging out with friends.
Retailers will need to make no-touch deliveries and an emphasis on hygiene the new normal
So if you’re reopening your business after a coronavirus-enforced shutdown, what’s your message to customers? “We’re open” probably won’t do it. That message is likely to be drowned out by the dozens of competitors saying the same thing.
There are messages that might be more helpful to retailers and service and food businesses
Consider the “Celebration” theme
With no disrespect to those who were sick, you can suggest customers, their families and friends join your organization in a reopening celebration. Celebrate friendship, health and the joy of being together again (at a safe distance).
“Thank You” is a message that is always welcome
Consider thanking the first responders, service workers and select others who stayed on the job during the outbreak. You can thank them publicly in ads and social media, of course — but also with a special discount on some items. Thirty-three percent off for our new heroes and their families can generate goodwill and good PR. But it can also introduce a whole new batch of customers to your business and your products.
Rewards and special offers
Rewards and limited-time offers are great incentives even in good times, and might be especially appropriate when you reopen. Thank returning customers with special rewards like free desserts and appetizers. Offer specific items at cost for a limited time.
And there’s no reason to leave business-to-business customers out of the rewards, celebrations and special offers. Everybody likes recognition, everyone likes a gift. Now you have an opportunity to build new relationships or strengthen those you may have taken for granted.
This may be a perfect opportunity for a fresh start
Nothing about the coronavirus crisis was good in itself, but if you had been considering rebranding or repositioning your organization, products or services, this may be a perfect opportunity.
You can start fresh in your customer’s mind and come out of the gate with a more focused, relevant and targeted message. Tell customers you reassessed your messaging during the time off and you’re sharing the message with them first.
Whether movie theaters reopen or not, you’re getting another chance to make your business Top Gun in your industry.