The in-house joke at Pead is “Deborah loves the smell of a crisis in the morning.” And there’s some truth in that.
A crisis gives us the chance to show off our fancy footwork as we put a web of security around our clients.
That was before Covid-19.
Now the smell of a crisis smells of panic and fear as events are cancelled, retail and business structures are shut down and everything feels broken.
The speed of change happening around us is staggering. Norms that were once paralysed by rules are changing faster than the speed of sound as the rule book is chucked out of the lockdown window.
Everything has changed and even when we do reach some semblance of normal there will be massive shifts ahead. And only when we are out of this surreal moment in time will we fully understand it.
In the first few days of the new order some brands went very quiet, while others with strong communications at the core of their business offered a helpful voice and pivoted their service overnight in response to the sudden restrictions.
Smart communicators will use the opportunity for their brands to be helpful. And it’s OK to use the opportunities if your brand, product and service can offer support and advice. You will only be accused of being opportunistic if your actions have no relevance to the current crises.
We admire the helpful brands like The Cardrona Distillery which switched streams to make much-needed hand sanitiser, and My Food Bag who responded immediately with a Back-Up Box to take some pressure off supermarkets. While Xero launched a Business Continuity Hub to help small business navigate the pandemic.
Many businesses will be forced to re-examine the way they do business and what was once normal practise will be scrutinised.
Hopping on a plane to attend a business meeting will be deemed unnecessary if the same results can be achieved in a zoom meeting. Or shared office space and shared costs will be a lot more appealing now we have demonstrated we can work remotely.
International luxury car manufacturer BMW understands the importance of adapting its business to navigate a crisis.
They used their insolvency in the 1950s, the Global Oil Crisis of the 1970s, and the global financial crisis of 2008 as an opportunity to create the Neuklasse of smaller, fuel-efficient cars in the 1970s, and electromobility in 2007. Their resilience through crises bred innovation and creativity.
At Pead PR we started pivoting our marketing services well ahead of Covid-19. With close on two decades of experience in media relations and activations, in recent times the agency has accelerated its focus on government and stakeholder relations, as well as digital, content and social media services.
We now boast an in-house content production studio and a network of local and international content producers, who all manage to operate under quarantine. And we are using the quarantine time to sharpen those skills.
Now is the time to get your brand ready for the bounce back, if not you will experience a crisis after the crisis.