By Kate Ware, BuzzPop Brands
I don’t think we will ever forget March 2020.
That collective panic when millions of jobs were lost, events were cancelled, our supermarket shelves began to look bare (#ToiletPaperGate), and when we were told by Government officials to stay home.
‘Global pandemic’ is not a term we throw around often, and a reality we certainly didn’t see coming for the 2020 year, or our lifetime, for that matter.
Now, a few months on, with restrictions easing and the initial panic subsiding, we’re seeing a level of optimism returning to the business world.
But, can it really get back to ‘business as usual’? Well, not yet, (stay with us!).
Businesses must choose to adapt (or face possible extinction)
Over the last couple of months, most businesses have had to adapt, fast! Business and life must go on, and unless we think differently and evolve, the economy will be in a world of pain.
Change expert (and BuzzPop Brands client) Dr Jen Frahm suggests we can choose to reintegrate, reinvent, renew and revolt over the next three to six months.
She highlights opportunities for following a ‘hybrid model’ to business (the new and old), starting from scratch to nurture new growth in the organisation, and reinvention.
CASE STUDY: STAGEKINGS
A great example of this is Melbourne stage equipment company, Stagekings, which has come up with a revolutionary idea to keep its business ticking along, after all of its contracts and business were lost overnight.
In a few short weeks, the company has produced desks and office accessories for workers that suddenly need to work from home using materials they already had available (Birch Ply). Through the power of social media marketing and advertising, they have managed to get their new products seen by a whole new consumer market, and as a result have gone viral with almost 4000 likes, 1000 comments and 1400 shares of their first post about the pivot.
On 22 April, Stagekings managing director Jeremy Fleming said within a month of launching their new desk products, they had received and processed more than 3000 orders and made more than 4000 items. 56 of its out-of-work event crew were now back working across six workshops in four states of Australia, and they had raised almost $22,000 for Australian music fund Support Act. Not only, have Stagekinds managed to create a product that will help people and keep their staff employed, they are acting as good corporate citizens and using their business for the greater good. Impressive stuff!
Other noteworthy businesses embracing change include brewers such as Yullis Brews, and Brisbane Distillery (amoung many others) which are now manufacturing hand sanitizer, Melbourne fashion designer By Kinsman, which has made face-masks and Geelong-based BuzzPop Brands client, Provenance Wines, has also repurposed their kitchen to create a collection of ready-made restaurant quality meals. All of these significant pivots were able to be marketed through strong social media and digital marketing executions.
Digital connection during a crisis
Embracing change also applies to the way we communicate and operate.
A good friend of mine said the other day, ‘When there is a void in physical activity, the only opportunity is digital’. Let that sit with you for a moment. It’s powerful, isn’t it?
At the moment, we have a captive audience online with social media usage skyrocketing. Recent data from Facebook shows messaging on the platform had increased more than 50% in March alone in countries hit by the virus.
A survey of 25,000 conducted by data and insights consultancy company, Kantar, also found that social media engagement had increased by 61% since the outbreak of the virus. And according to influencer marketing platform, Klear, Instagram Story usage was up 15%.
While we physically distance ourselves (until this virus goes away or a vaccine is created) we need to lean into our digital assets.
As business owners, or business leaders, we’re in the driving seat to have a positive impact on our online community – whether that’s our direct customers and clients, wider audience, or remote teams and stakeholders.
Social media, in particular, is an incredibly powerful tool to engage, human-to-human, to show empathy, and keep your brand awareness humming along nicely so you’re not left behind.
Behind every avatar on social media – business or personal – is a human.
BuzzPop Brands Tips:
Using social media for good!
So, how do you use social media as a key component of your adaptation? This all depends on your business, but it starts with a well-considered strategy.
As a general rule, brands that thrive in times of crisis, are ones that lead with empathy and use their channels to connect with their community on a deeper emotional level.
There are many opportunities to evolve your digital marketing strategy including (but not limited to):
- The power of storytelling to showcase your brand story, why you do what you do, and how you can help
- Live videos and interviews to entertain and promote discussion
- Value-add content that informs, educates, and inspires
- Empathetic content authentic to your brand and brand voice
- The introduction of a new product or service that is going to help people in need during this time
- Relaxed policies to make it easier for people to purchase – extended return times, free delivery; small gestures that go a long way
- Up-to-date communication to keep customers in the loop
- Inspiring quotes and motivations in line with your brand messaging