From work, school, business, and entertainment, social distancing shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many around the world to rethink the way we go about our daily lives.
It’s important that business owners and marketers think long-term in order to keep building on their brand identity, productivity, and drive growth during these unstable times. In this blog post, our digital agency we’ll cover:
- Brand Build Developments During COVID-19
- Ways to Ensure New Business Leads Don’t Come to a Halt
- How to Become More Operationally Efficient While Practicing Social Distancing
- The Benefits & Liberties of Working Remotely
- & Strategies to Nurture Your Individualism
Let’s get started.
1. Brand Build Developments During COVID-19
Businesses across the globe are forced to develop creative solutions and alter their brand build strategies during the coronavirus pandemic shut down. The brands doing it right during the coronavirus crisis are the brands who are listening and acting quickly. It’s difficult to know what each passing day will bring, but with quick strategic thinking, creativity and a heavy dose of empathy, brands are leaving their positive, memorable marks on the world. Let’s take a look at how companies in a variety of industries are using empathy to alter their business model and brand build during a time of social distancing.
Contactless Food Delivery
With bars, restaurants and other dine-in services shut down, local restaurants are in need of support more than ever. It is for this reason that food delivery companies such as DoorDash and Grubhub are beginning to offer no-contact deliveries, and have removed delivery fees allowing restaurants and drivers to continue to make a profit while containing the spread of the virus.
Restaurants have even started lending a helping hand to supportive customers. La Pala in Glen Cove began gifting away a roll of toilet paper with every delivery order because everyone could seriously use a roll. Other restaurants like Gemelli, in Glen Head, NY, have started to give free food to healthcare workers and first responders for curbside pickup, thanking each one of them for their service and bravery at this time. Uber was also inspired by these acts of kindness and has vowed to deliver over 300,000 meals for health officials and first responders who are on the frontline of this pandemic.
With fitness facilities ordered to shut down, many brands have come up with creative solutions to keep people at home in shape, especially as we find ourselves snacking at the refrigerator a little more frequently than we’d like to admit. From personal training to group meditations, fitness enthusiasts are offering a variety of free content via Facebook, Youtube, and prospective mobile applications to keep users active from the comfort of their home. These free live-streamed and recorded digital classes are not only a public service to the global community but it also speaks volumes of their brand’s empathy, which will be memorable to many once business begins to return to normal.
Video Streaming Brands Introduce Watch Parties
In March, Netflix began to offer subscribers a new way to watch movies and shows with friends. Watch parties allow users to have virtual movie nights with friends while safely practicing social distancing. This chrome extension synchronizes video playback in a private (or public) group and adds a chat function during your favorite Netflix shows and movies.
Students and Teachers Go Online for Education
With schools, universities and private education providers closed for an uncertain period of time, instructors must begin teaching students online or providing all school assignments online. Teachers are taking the route of pre-recording classes and offering one on one live chats to help students keep up with their academics during the pandemic.
Retail Makes Accommodations
Nonessential businesses have closed down, leaving retailers in a scramble to adapt. During the pandemic, popular grocery stores in the US and Canada have implemented new procedures, allowing customers who are 60 and older to gain early access to shop at stores one hour before opening time for the general public. Popular chains such as Best Buy, GameStop, DSW have stopped regular store operations and have switched over to a curbside pick up model allowing customers to pick up their online purchase without leaving their vehicles. In addition, hair salons are offering free delivery of their hair color and care products, to try to sustain sales and provide customers with a DIY hair solution during a time that no one is certain how long it will last.
The Entertainment Industry Turns to Live Streaming
The coronavirus has put a halt to all mass gatherings, resulting in the cancelation or postponement of live entertainment-related events such as Ultra, Coachella, Miami Music Week, Broadway shows and more. Particularly, many brands and individuals in the music industry have tried to continue to uplift spirits by offering free, live-streamed entertainment such as the Met’s Opera on-demand and Insomniac’s Beyond Wonderland Virtual Rave-A-Thon.
It will be very interesting to further observe how businesses across the globe continue to adapt to the ever-changing climate with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. It is without question that businesses should consider creative alternatives when conditions are not “business as usual.”
2. Ways to Ensure New Business Leads Don’t Come to a Halt During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Now more than ever, business owners and marketers must reconsider how to acquire new business leads during this challenging time. With businesses and consumers being extremely cautious with their investments, brands should reevaluate how they communicate with prospects, market, and use digital tools to keep new business momentum progressing. Review our digital agency's collection of suggestions below:
Have Meaningful Face to Face Calls With Prospects & Clients
A face to face meeting with another person creates a deeper sense of connection that is often needed to develop new relationships and build trust. Brands might currently be asking, “how can we do that during a time of social distancing?” That answer is simple: digital communication tools. Luckily, there are an abundance of face to face communication tools your organization can utilize to make you feel as if you are present with another person. During this time, people need human connection more than ever and by making yourself available to have more meaningful communications, your brand could continue to establish trust with prospects and sustain closing rates.
Work on Your Website - You Need It Now More than Ever
Your brand’s website is now your storefront. It is the only way people will ever come across your business with social distancing practices in order. With physical storefront visitations and in-office interactions out of the question, now is a good time to make sure that your website is 100% reflective of what your brand is and what it has to offer. Businesses and consumers are more strategic with their investments than ever, so a credible, well-designed website is absolutely imperative for sustaining new business. Don’t get left behind. If your current website is urgently lacking in user experience or it’s in need of a new web design, get in touch with us today.
Focus on SEO - It’s Critical for Survival
SEO might be the last thing your organization is currently thinking about, but it would be a huge mistake to let it fall by the wayside. Social distancing practices have made online search the only solution available to business owners and consumers seeking solutions during this time. We urgently recommend working on your site’s SEO so that your business can continue to be found online - during and post-pandemic. Not investing in your brand’s SEO could cause overall damage to your reputability, so it is highly suggested that organizations focus on web presence during this crucial time. Don’t know where to start? We can help.
Reevaluate All Brand Messaging
To avoid any negative brand association during this time, such as Spirit Airlines (yikes,) marketers must review any scheduled promotions. Particularly, businesses should review all marketing communications, the messaging, and tone of voice associated with each campaign. At this time, organizations need to be understanding and empathetic of the changing needs of consumers as well as their emotional state of mind when marketing their branded content to them. If people are fearful, now is also not the time to add to a state of fear or panic by marketing in that sense. Marketers must give a second (and third) thought to their marketing communications, for people will always remember how your brand handled its marketing during this time. If you need some guidance, our brand identity experts can craft an effective content strategy that strengthens brand equity and speaks directly to your target audience during this time.
Use CRM & Lead Generation Tools to Nurture Traffic that Might Not Convert
Using automated tools such as a CRM system allows your business to continue to nurture website traffic, engaged visitors, and warm leads that might have visited your website via a remarketing, email or social campaign. Sophisticated CRMs along with other lead generation tools can offer valuable insights to help you segment leads, strategize an automated and customized journey, and communicate with them more efficiently. Need a hand? Our digital agency can help your brand develop a comprehensive inbound strategy that maximizes prospect conversions.
Do Not Pause Digital Marketing Campaigns
Now is the time to be available to people who need your brand the most. Pausing digital marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, can throw your brand completely off the grid, making it more costly and challenging for your campaign to perform as strongly after the pandemic passes. Our digital marketing experts suggest reducing your brand’s campaign budget if needed, but not to pause it entirely. We recommend continuing to run branded campaigns at a minimum so that users can still find you at the top of search results page. Don’t completely turn off the lights during a time where warm or direct leads are scarce; our digital team can develop a digital marketing strategy for your brand that minimizes the cost per leads, while maintaining a steady stream of new business opportunities from the web.
Offer Valuable Knowledge Digitally
Many businesses have already taken the approach to offering free knowledge to businesses and consumers via webinars and other online events. Do you have insights to the latest laws and regulations? One must consider what would be valuable for your audience to hear in your prospective industry. Your brand can offer these insights and ideas to those who are stuck at home and in the dark, or preoccupied with many other things that are top of mind during these times. Individuals will remember your brand’s positive efforts when you choose to offer helpful knowledge. Use this time to nurture deeper connections that will last beyond the pandemic.
Don’t Wait to be Proactive
Although hesitant brands might want to remain quiet during this unstable time, it is important to strategically align your organization with a plan for sustainability and perseverance. If your brand has not made any changes to its business model or strategy, you, your employees or coworkers, and your customers could be left behind after the dust settles. Take this time to be proactive with brand positioning during this crucial time, for it can make all the difference between a brand that comes out on top or on the bottom of this pandemic.
3. How to Become More Operationally Efficient While Practicing Social Distancing
Are you concerned that your organization is not operating efficiently during the pandemic? Our digital agency put together a few suggestions to help make organizations more productive while enforcing work from home (WOH) policies.
Utilize Digital Communication Tools
Long email chains are a thing of the past. If your organization hasn’t jumped aboard the Instant communication train, now is the right time to do so.
- Instant Messaging
Slack is a great way to communicate instantly, share screens, and have more productive departmental group discussions. Don’t just take our word for it, the company reported that it has added over 7,000 new customers between February 1 and March 18, in the space of just 47 days.
- Phone & Video Conferencing
Fortunately, there is a multitude of video and phone conferencing tools that allow you to recreate that face to face engagement even during a time of physical distancing. Have calls with multiple participants, share screens, record calls, hold webinars and keep track of all the details using tools like UberConference, Zoom, Google Hangout, Go to Meeting. As you could have predicted, many of these companies are currently booming with more individuals needing these telecommunication tools. Zoom in particular, has soared tremendously due to social distancing with mobile application downloads increased by 1,270% between February 22 and March 22. That's a total of nearly 17.2 million downloads on iOS and Android combined. Since it went public nearly a year ago, it has almost doubled its valuation, currently sustaining a worth of $29bn.
Invest in Online Project Management
Is your team struggling with accountability and project progression? Your organization can highly benefit from the use of an online project management system. Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Teamwork, Monday, and many more digital tools provide a visual and organized way to manage your projects, streamline production within your department, and gather a birds-eye view of all production within your organization.
Use Remote Work Tools
Perhaps your organization is not yet “on the cloud” and you quickly need a quick solution to access work desktops from home. Tools such as Log Me in, Team Viewer, and Splashtop offer users the ability to get remote access to their work desktop from anywhere.
Take Advantage of Online File Sharing Systems
If your brand has not yet moved to an online file-sharing system, we recommend switching over to Dropbox or Google Drive. With these digital tools, you can access your files from anywhere in the world. Concerned about privacy issues? Your organization should consider FTP file-sharing or an internal server that can use that same upload sharing system without compromising security.
With the coronavirus keeping many out of the office, now is the best time to start implementing a paperless initiative if your organization has not started one already. By using digital tools and solutions, you’ll save energy, resources, and money, compared to printing. Also, you’ll save lots of trees, helping to sustain our environment along the way. Now that’s a win-win!
4. The Benefits & Liberties of Working Remotely
For many businesses, remote work is a new reality and one that takes some getting used to. As a digital agency, we can say confidently that there can be many benefits to having employees work from home - both when needed, and when it's beneficial for them.
With employees distributed, team members have the flexibility to work remotely in the locations of their choice, allowing for more time to balance work and life. The saved time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute, adds hours back into the days so that team members can focus more time on their mental and physical health, and other responsibilities.
Improved Company Benefits
Having flexible work from home days is also a huge benefit that many modern workers look for today and it can be a great perk to include under a suite of other benefits that your company offers. Further, remote work also imposes the option to hire talent outside of the office location, giving companies an opportunity to further expand the talent and resources that comprise its team.
5. Strategies to Nurture Your Individualism
Now is an important time to take care of yourself physically and mentally. There are a number of ways to nurture your individualism. Let’s go over some self-love tips below:
Immerse Yourself in Creativity
Getting creative is a great way to keep your perspective fresh. You can use some of this added time to pick up a new hobby, learn something new, or reconnect with past passions you once enjoyed for self-expression such as writing, drawing, or playing an instrument. It’s important to tap into your curiosity in order to keep your spirits lifted during these times. Looking for ideas? Here are some ways to stay inspired.
Focus on Improving your Health
It’s the perfect time to get back to that 2020 NYE resolution you promised to commit to. (It’s okay, we’ve all been there.) Take advantage of this added time by taking care of your physical and mental health so that you can manage stress better, release endorphins, and sleep better at night. Run, walk, bike, skip… regularly moving your body is proven to benefit more than just the body, it also augments brain function! Not sure where to start? Read the “Fitness Goes Virtual” section above to get guidance on how to start working out at home!
Have Fun & Connect With Others
Social distancing doesn’t have to be boring. Host a digital movie night online or be together with friends by playing a video conferencing game, round up the family for a virtual family dinner, (pass the salt please!) or try to facetime a harmonious happy birthday song to your loved one! There are tons of creative ways to still celebrate togetherness virtually. Have you stumbled upon home internet challenges? Join them! Or better yet, create a challenge and nominate others! Everyone could use some lightheartedness and deserves to be a little silly during this time. Spreading the good vibes by positively connecting (digitally) with others can truly go a long way.