How to Pivot When the Unexpected Happens

If we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic thus far, it’s that anything is possible. And even the companies whose back-up plans have contingency plans must regroup when the unexpected happens.

While you can’t change the current circumstances of the world around us, you can choose to embrace the present and lean into things that you can control. And in that process, you’ll likely unearth some opportunities for growth that simply weren’t on your radar before.

Here are five ways to pivot and power through when the unexpected happens.

1. Keep going.

Shutting the doors is different than closing. Instead of allowing downtime to paralyze your business, embrace it as an opportunity to invest in your future and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Think back over the past year. What important initiatives have you placed on the back burner in favor of meeting more immediate deadlines? Revisit your top-line business goals, marketing initiatives and your rollover to-do list. Are there things you can jump into now so you’re ready to hit the ground running when we get back to business as usual? Some examples include:

  • Audit your current website. Is it connecting the dots between your marketing initiatives and your bottom line?
  • Leverage your resources. You likely have cloud-based software subscriptions that offer on-demand training opportunities for your team. At Raven Creative, we’re currently exploring: HubSpot Academy, Udemy and Asana.
  • Revisit your messaging. Maybe now is a great time to virtually gather your key players for a messaging strategy session to help you better articulate your company story.
  • Create content. You are a subject matter expert in your field. Channel that knowledge into lead-generating resources that showcase your expertise and solve a problem for an ideal customer.

There are many options for progress; the important thing is that you keep moving forward when others feel their only option is to stand still.

2. Shift Gears

If you must change course to keep moving forward, think outside the cubicle and pivot your operations. Businesses that come out the other side of a crisis stronger are those that find a new normal when business (and life) is anything but. We’ve seen some great examples of this quick action:

  • Dine-in only restaurants regrouping to roll-out themed curbside pickup options.
  • Gyms and fitness studios offering live stream or recorded workout sessions and allowing members to borrow equipment for home use.
  • Churches upping their bandwidth to offer live streaming of weekend services.
  • Distilleries forced to close their doors to the public now using facilities to make hand sanitizer to combat the shortage.
  • Netflix rolling out Netflix Party, a “digital watch party” application that allows viewers to share an experience with friends, even from opposite sides of the world.

3. Go Digital

Effective marketing is all about meeting your customers where they’re already hanging out. One advantage to mandated social distancing is the streamlined data on where people are. Largely, they’re home and hanging out online. In more “stable” times, the combination of amplifying messages across both traditional and digital channels is often a winning formula for businesses. Depending on your industry, that might look different under the current circumstances and now is a great time to double down on digital.

One observation from the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic in China was the extreme surge experienced in online sales. Whether driven by boredom, fear, cabin fever or simply more time to research wish list items, people made purchases. Do you have a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy in place to make the most of a more captive audience? Whether across e-commerce or via social channels, the capability for real-time adjustments based on ad performance lends itself to great “bang for your buck” advertising opportunities.

4. Build Relationships

Check in: Unprecedented circumstances warrant unprecedented customer service. Use the interruption in regularly scheduled programing to check in with the people whose business has allowed yours to grow. It offers a great opportunity to demonstrate just how valuable they are to you. And in reaching out, you might discover a way that you can provide extra support to get them through a difficult time. That is the kind of service that makes life-long customers.

Branch out: Between the shift to virtual conferences and the increased traffic on LinkedIn as people seek professional connection in practical ways, the digital networking waters have never been warmer. Start meaningful conversations that don’t end in a sales pitch. Make connections that open a door for future correspondence; you never know when that door will swing back your way.

5. Pitch in

Though the phrase may feel over-used, we truly are all in this together. In the midst of upheaval, we can turn solely inward, or we can rally to pull others up along with us as we plan for a brighter future. If your business has practical value to offer, throw it around like confetti. There are many inspiring examples of brands that have done this well over the past few weeks, including:

  • UberEats is offering free delivery to help support local restaurant owners forced to close their doors to the public.
  • Remote conferencing leader Zoom is offering its platform free of charge to schools as they shift entire curriculums to facilitate online learning opportunities.
  • Beloved children’s author Mo Willems is offering daily “Lunch Doodles” video sessions to brighten the days of kids.

How can we help?

If your business could use some guidance on the next right step as you pivot your marketing efforts amidst uncertainty, we’d love to offer you a free discovery session. Let’s talk.