By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

We have a client for which budget cuts have severely restricted their ability to serve their consumers as usual. In response, they are fighting to find funding from other sources, to build up their budget to what it was, so that they can continue doing what they’ve been doing in years past. We sat and listened, perceiving a bit of scrambling and panic on the client’s part, and finally said, “Maybe you could evolve instead.”

Our client’s dilemma is all too common in today’s economy. Kaua`i has been through economic hardship every decade on average, each time a major hurricane hits. When this happens, we hunker down, assess the damage, rebuild, and then the momentum gets our island going again. Resilience is American and local but it does require evolution, the ability to morph a bit according to the situation. And we will have a lot of new situations in the coming months, not the least of which is a new president and a new mayor.

The question is how to evolve logically. Start with relating to your publics. Find out what you’re consumers want, what they like and don’t like about your products and services, and what will make it easier for them to patron you. You can gather this information for free, or virtually free, by talking to your customers informally and recording their answers, conducting focus groups and providing refreshments and discounts for your services, or sending out an email survey. Once you cull the responses, develop some actionable items, and most importantly, begin implementing the tactics. Finally, tell consumers what your new plans are. In other words, let them know how you and your company will evolve to serve them.

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