In case you’re currently living aboard a spacecraft whirling through the atmosphere at 17,000mph and don’t know what’s going on: things on Earth are a little different than they were 2 months ago. COVID-19 has swept through civilization, disrupting billions of lives in its wake. As innocent bystanders in this catastrophe, we’ve been forced to adjust almost every facet of our lives with little sign of things getting “back to normal” anytime soon. With so much change and adversity, it’s becoming clear that to get through this, we must adapt; and to adapt, we must get creative.
Adapting to a Changing Environment
We’re burdened with more questions than ever before: How do we keep going? How do we speak to our audiences right now? What’s going to happen tomorrow?
As a marketing agency, our job right now is helping our clients to navigate these great changes. The question we keep hearing is a big one: what do we do now? The simple answer is: not the same thing you were doing 2 months ago, but also, the thing you should do every day: listen to your audience. Sudden disruptions like this are at the very least, overwhelming, and it’s important to consider that this may very well change your business model — at least for a time.
Change With The World
It’s inspiring to see the shift already happening; creative, thoughtful leaders are leaning into the disruption; platforms, like Create & Cultivate and Girlboss who built their companies on the premise of getting like-minded people in the same physical room, have shifted to holding their conferences entirely online because that’s where their audience is now. Major clothing ateliers who previously created stylish frocks and accessories have turned to the manufacturing of protective masks because, again, that’s what their audience needs and values in these times. What these companies are clinging to are their core values and authenticity. While your business operations may have to shift, look to your audience and your core mission to discover what to do next.
When considering the content you’re putting out, follow the same guidelines. Social media gives you direct access to your customer base. You can see what your audience is talking about in real-time and adjust your messaging to fit their needs. If you’re active in seeking it out, your audience will tell you what they need; and in times of change, you have to be prepared to adapt. Don’t just copy what other companies are doing. Your audience and theirs may differ entirely. You and your community have been together for some time now – Pay attention. You know them best. And if you find that isn’t true – that you don’t know your audience – then take this as your rallying cry. Now is the time to start asking questions and start listening.
Companies That Have Adapted to Change
If the thought of shifting your business scares you, consider these household names that have successfully pivoted. Twitter famously made the bold switch from a podcasting network to a micro-blogging platform after seeking ideas from their internal team. YouTube started as an online dating space before becoming a video streaming giant and the second-largest search engine in the world. Renowned workplace messaging service, Slack, began as a video game. And if you’re still not inspired: before Play-Doh brought creativity to playtime, it was used as a wallpaper cleaner until the use of wallpaper became less popular and they made the move into the toy space in the 1950s. Talk about a pivot.
While there is no clear roadmap for navigating the vast changes that we’re experiencing, if you’ve run a successful business up until this point, you do know who you are talking to. Now is a time to listen, make adjustments, and don’t be afraid to get creative.
– Written by Caitlin Rostampour