Of late we have seen certain terminology taking on new meaning and other terminology quite simply err… terminated. Take ‘Going viral’, for example, as a description of the golden ticket in marketing. We’ve seen the pain and chaos a real virus can cause, so we won’t be using ‘viral’ as a marketing term again in a hurry… and that’s not the only thing that will never be quite the same again.
In the midst of these challenging times, what lessons can we learn when we look inward and reflect on our businesses and our approach to marketing?
‘Herd mentality’: Everyone ‘gets it’.
When everyone ‘gets it’ we somehow develop a resistance to it. Modern-day brand marketing should no longer take the approach of bombarding people with messages in the hope someone will buy it. LinkedIn has been flooded with buy now ‘deals’ that really don’t take into consideration or in fact want to engage too deeply with potential sales. People still want to do business but have more appreciation now of added value and changing the outdated ‘scattergun’ sales pattern. Understand the people you want to engage by taking time to see how you can specifically help not just demographics but actually invest in behaviours.
When we take time to investigate the best course of action with specific groups of people we find a treatment that creates a lasting impression with them and the audience they want to serve.
‘Social Distancing’: Global now means local.
Standing two metres apart has transformed the way we connect with people. I’ve seen social distancing (locally) creating distance, and if you’ve visited a local supermarket you’ll know the experience is surreal. What it has done though is to bring people all over the world together through technology. Introbiz, with their innovative, entrepreneurial spirit has done just that by bringing Sharon Lechter (Rich Dad, Poor Dad), Mark Wright and Jesse Cunningham (The Apprentice) onto Zoom and into touch to do Q and A’s and share their insights about dealing with the ever-changing business landscape. A screen can be a window that closes the distance globally even if we have to be distanced locally.
‘Vaccine’: Togetherness is a cure.
A quick solution to solving the problem in the form of a vaccine doesn’t exist yet, but the real vaccine is actually the NHS. Taken for granted and underfunded, these selfless people put their own lives on the line to serve others. Being in the service industry means that we should also be willing to serve. Success can come through working together and being generous, it’s not only about looking for a magic pill that changes everything. We might have to change ourselves too. Think of Leon, the restaurant chain providing takeaway and delivery meals to NHS workers with a 50% discount; Unilever donating £89m to fight the pandemic and Timpsons keeping on its 5,500 employees on full pay while its shops remain closed (you could argue that they are ‘key workers’). They have all risen to the challenge, and there are many others demonstrating that being selfless can lift the spirits of a world looking for hope.
‘Exercise once a day’: Gratitude as well as glutes.
Some people in my household didn’t exercise regularly until the lockdown scheduled it in. Now we’re also learning to exercise more gratitude on a daily basis and we’re all healthier for it.
We are thankful for everyone that we are connected with and we know that Cre8ion would not be flourishing and excited about the future if it wasn’t for the relationships that we have. We understand every day is different and one day can be more positive than the next but getting connected in groups has really helped. Why not contact your whole client list and ask how they are… see how you can help… add value. Just be kind.
‘Lockdown’: A good look up and down.
What lockdown has done is to get us to reflect on where we are. It has allowed us the time to reconnect with what motivates us as a brand marketing agency. It’s a good time for every business to be re-evaluating their purpose. Is the kind of business we are leading the one we wanted to lead?
It’s a fact that many companies trade without a mission, vision or values and with no real purpose apart from making money. In this process of reinvention and entering a new age the companies that have a fighting chance are those who are rediscovering what they are about. Making adjustments and talking things through with those you trust will help you rediscover what you may have lost.
As the lockdown has shown, putting cash before cause or cash before your staff is not well received. It’s a fact that businesses who win are not only focussed on cash but also on people and purpose.
We have spent a lot of time during the lockdown re-evaluating and seeing where we can add value to the business and, obviously, how we can help.
We’ve been building in some fun aspects. We discovered that our most technical team member wasn’t the greatest when it came to the drawing game on ‘HouseParty’– which led to tears of laughter and some welcome light relief.
Temperature check: How are your people – your brand advocates – staff?
Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice that has been shared has come from Nick Richards of Geeks.co.uk. He asked his staff the question ‘What is your form?’ and the team gave him a score out of ten. We asked our staff the same and the responses were much more telling than the usual ‘ok’ or ‘fine’. It allowed us to talk about what people’s concerns were and often they went beyond business, so now, every day, we check in to see how everyone is first before we get down to business.
We have all had an identity change, but being authentic creates the best opportunity
Life is a gift and it’s where we see real brand values in action. The greatest marketing strategy in the world is to care. If you really want to be a brand that makes a difference then ask how you can care for the people you connect with. Whether its a shoutout or asking ‘how can I help?’ we all have an opportunity to be less transactional and more transformational.
The Coronavirus (meaning crown virus) has shaken our world. Let’s bounce back – this could be a crowning moment in history where we learn to celebrate the real and the meaningful.