The Big Blog
“1 year since the first lockdown”
So how is your work/life balance going 12 months on? Today is exactly 1 year since the first lockdown. We enjoyed the weather and the walks outside and then quickly adapted to video conferencing and the now well-known phrase "you're on mute".
Our working day has blended with our home life with less colour and more vanilla and the boundaries blur!
So on the latest UK Brand Show we talked about tips to help you cope with the routine of working from home:
- Fake a commute ... hopefully you have a working area you can walk away from every night but either way, commuting to work is an important part of separation of the day. So take a walk, and take some time out for you every morning an evening to simulate that space you get when commuting
- Make your tech work for you ... do you have a comfortable work station; do you allow some time between video calls ? Use tech to stay in touch with friends not just work
- Schedule a lunch break ... have the water cooler conversation with someone, take some fresh air and leave your desk
- Wind down every day ... this again maybe part of commuting simulation or conversation with a friend or take up Yoga
- Take your annual leave... So easy not to do for those of us who love to travel like I do. Its so important however, to change your routine do a project, learn something different during these times of no travel even to parts of the UK let alone the world.
Either way take care of your health both body and mind.
“A Year of Life Online”
Last week on The UK Brand Show Mark Challinor and myself talked about "A year of life on line" looking at the affects on us all from working on line from home.
One of the main things that people keep mentioning to me is that they keep forgetting things.... and this appears to be a common theme. Our lives have so little points of difference day to day working from home and on video calls most of the day there are few anchor points to separate days - even weekends!
We miss the trivial chit chat with colleagues when we are making a cup of tea or walking around the office and face very little screen break. Attention spans are shorter as we become used to being distracted by social media whilst on a conference call and our brains are adapting to the monotony of each days blandness.
Are you sleeping? A lot of us are finding our sleeping cycles are confused as the "blue screen" affect disrupts our routines and ability to switch off when our head hits the pillow.
Spring is on its way and hopefully with the roll out of the vaccine we will be able to get out more and connect with fresh air and greens spaces to separate hours and days from life on a screen.
“You're on mute”...
... for many of us working from home and using video conferencing, this is the most used phrase of 2020 and continues into 2021 but what will life be like post COVID? It's forcing society to innovate and change the way we work and live.
Technology adoption has jumped forward 5 years and our awareness of the risks of every touchable surface means that more contactless interfaces and interactions will come into play. It's predicted there will be more voice and machine vision interfaces that recognise faces and gestures to limit physical contact.
With more people working from home, we have been forced to find digital solutions to keep meetings, lessons, workouts and more going, and so learning that video calls can be effective. We are missing contact though and craving an end to being "lockdown".
Online shopping has gone into overdrive and even those who have online services have had to enhance their logistics and delivery systems to accommodate surges in demand.
Organisers and participants of in person events have been forced to switch to digital and are realising the pros and cons of both with a hybrid format probably emerging. Pent up demand though could see a huge bounce back of events and social contact but will the mask be with us forever?!
There's been a rise in E-sport which is likely to grow as people have had to find more activities to do at home and also to interact with friends.
So will life return to normal this year ...... or is there a new normal emerging where online plays a much bigger part than it did pre-COVID.
If you want help developing your services, logistics or online presence, give us a call - develop that Big Plan!
MARKETING IN A PANDEMIC
Well we are certainly in uncharted waters with the last pandemic being in 1918-20 and the term furlough being part of our every day language!
But lets not forget some of the core principles of marketing as they can be applied to even this situation ….
Understand the Challenges Your Customers Are Facing
To create the right strategy you need to understand the challenges your customers are facing and give them a solution. This may mean the problem you are solving may change quickly over a short space of time. You need to understand your market and stay up to day on news in your industry but also with the challenges that face your customers. Surveying your customers may help to quantify how many of them are struggling in specific areas.
Once you know the problems facing your customers, you can work backwards to create your strategy to reach them and engage them.
During a pandemic the problems may change so you have to be able communicate that you understand. In the current climate its probably safe to say that many small business customers are hurting financially. You need to be able to solve those problems for them.
Learn How to Communicate with New Customers
During this pandemic we’ve seen many businesses switch their manufacturing to meet new needs for example Shepherd Neame, the oldest brewer in the UK is now producing hand sanitiser.
If you’re business has changed its direction or is planning to you will need to learn how to reach new customers maybe from B2B to B2C and how to communicate and engage with them. In fact, you may need to pivot all or part of your business strategy in order to stay afloat during the pandemic.
Communicate Clearly About Any Changes
Many businesses are having to change how they deliver products or services to customers with the initial lockdown and now social distancing and reduced travelling and socialising. Whether you’re offering new products, providing alternative delivery options, or changing your hours or availability, you need to make that message clear across all of your digital channels. This makes it easier for customers to do business with you and adjusts their expectations so they’re less likely to be upset if you cannot deliver the experience they’ve had in the past.
Create Content That’s Valuable for Your Customers
The uncertainty and anxiety that the pandemic has create has led to consumers being more considered with their purchases, and this is unlikely to stop once the crisis has passed.
This may make it tougher for some businesses to convert sales. But it also provides more opportunities for businesses that are telling stories and building relationships in a really deliberate way. To do this, you need to create content surrounding your offerings that tells a story and really convinces customers why your business is the one to choose with their precious cash.
Answer Specific Questions
Consider the triggering events in peoples changed lives, spending more time at home with potentially different needs. If you want to convert more immediate sales with your content, focus on keywords surrounding questions people may be asking currently. This can get more focused traffic to your site and help you create a very short customer journey or can be the basis for advertising copy that resonates with new customers with new needs.
Optimise for Multiple Channels
The pandemic has meant more people are at home and exploring all platforms and channels. They are spending more time online and you need to be able to create a consistent message on each one.
You need to create a brand strategy and voice that translates similarly across multiple touch points, including your website, radio advertising, social media, TV and print.
Create a Seamless Customer Experience
Has your company changed to direct to consumer market ? Many have has to react quickly to the pandemic and the situation it has left us all in with a new way of life. No matter how you bring people to your website or other digital channels, you need to create a simple experience so they’re more likely to convert.
This means you need to create a website and online customer experience that is easy for the average consumer to use. This often looks different than the typical experience for B2B interactions. But if you have a solid idea of who you’re marketing to right now, you should focus on creating an experience that gets them through the buying process without errors or confusion. This usually involves simple navigation and clear calls to action for popular products or services.
Capture Data From Visitors to make them loyal customers
No matter how amazing your website is, there will be some visitors who simply can’t or won’t purchase from you right away. For those customers, give them a way to stay in touch or share their information, like signing up for your free email list. You might even offer a freebie to get them to share their information.
Collect Data to Determine What’s Working
It’s difficult for small businesses to know exactly what is going to work in such an uncertain environment. But you can come up with a hypothesis and then test that hypothesis to see what works best for your business. By collecting data and using analytics about website visits, sales, or whatever metrics are most important to your business, you can then scale with the ideas that work and drop the ones that don’t. This allows you to try out new things on a small prototype level. Once you receive validation on an idea, you can dive in quickly with more resources.
15 STEPS TO GETTING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DONE
Dietmar Schantin shared his first-hand experiences with assisting reader revenue transformations from news media companies throughout the world Schantin, founder and CEO at Institute for Media Strategies, shared 15 practical and actionable steps to help news media companies ditch print-rooted culture and grow digital business.
Prince Charles and Ozzy Osborn
He started with number one – Understand what the customers really well. Schantin used the demographic profiles of two English gentlemen with much in common: Both born in England in 1948. Both divorced and with a new partner. Both have two adult children, impressive professional careers, are wealthy, enjoy holidays in the Alps, and are well known globally. These two men are Prince Charles and Ozzy Osborn.
“Demographically, these are the same person,” he said to chuckling workshop attendees. “If we don’t consider parameters or characters beyond demographics, we would address these guys in exactly the same way.”
This resonated with me as for many years I’ve felt the demographic targeting for advertisers has been outdated, not least because there are so many platforms to consider now and many more communities of interest. Age does not define you, and it is more what interests you and your lifestyle that is the connector for those who wish to engage with you.
At a recent business networking event, the knowledgeable speaker was wax lyrical on how we should approach digital marketing and talked at length about “millenials” and “snowflakes” and not in a positive way. I could feel the hackles going up on two “Millenials” on my table.
So, to go back to Schantin – understanding the customer is so important and really consider what interests them is key to engagement which is now a must for convincing them to buy your product or service ….. just remember Charles and Ozzy !!
To hear more go to theukbrandshow.co.uk and click on the 9th March 2020 episode.