SPECIAL PR CORONAVIRUS EDITION | PART TWO
SIX OPPORTUNITIES BUSINESSES CAN EMBRACE IN DOWNTURN
This blog post is dedicated to the small creative businesses and creative freelancers who are feeling a general sense of unease in this time of global uncertainty as a result of COVID-19.
There is nothing more that clouds our natural instinct and ability to embrace the freedom that is required to be creative than when we feel as though our foundations are fragile or that our future is uncertain.
Instead we play it safe, we say yes to things for financial security that should be a no and we cling to elements in life that we can control – like buying exorbitant amounts of loo paper (if you’re lucky enough to find it) as we let our emotions bypass normal rationale. Distorted perception and maintaining control is the principle driver of this phenomenon as we all experience the effects of coronavirus now and in the future.
But instead of clamping down on originality, resourcefulness and imagination to minimise perceived risk what we can do is embrace this time as an opportunity to be creatively smart. As consumer-led businesses and especially small creative businesses; we can look at ways to make things better by making better things, raraPR included.
Here are six things we can do for our businesses to optimise opportunities in economic downturn;
Introduce small products for big wins.
Historically in times of recession or downturn when disposable income is under pressure the purchase of small luxury items increase. Fragrance and skin care purchases go up as well as lipstick among other cheap thrills that are an instant pick-me-up.
It’s called ‘the lipstick effect’. And it’s centred around the buyer perception that “I can’t afford to eat out but I can afford the coffee”. “I can’t afford the Chanel bag but I can buy the lipstick”. “I can’t travel overseas but I can go camping”.
When things feel grey and big-ticket items are off the list, shoppers find ways to treat themselves and mood-boost by buying small luxury items. Cheap thrills pay the bills for small business. Now is a good opportunity to diversify your product and service offering into bite sized pieces that are accessible and rewarding to your audience.
Initiate and execute a content strategy that is value-based.
Embrace the quiet time by executing a content strategy that is centred on value. Instead of pushing out pretty posts that look good and say nothing; now is a great time to deliver on sharing your knowledge, giving back, and building a community for when the economy recovers. By doing this you’ll be building a strong foundation centred around a community that ‘knows, likes, trusts, and buys from you in the future.
Be inspired by forced sustainability.
If you’re always thinking about how you want to be more sustainable but not always sure how, or too busy to investigate, then now is a time to be inspired. When behaviours are forced upon us we learn to adapt. In the height of downtown and product shortages businesses now have no choice but to reduce consumption of unnecessary items and waste. Instead of it being an inconvenience to our work worlds we can start to truly embrace the discovery of finding ways to be more sustainable, reduce overhead costs and as a result be kinder to the planet. While there’s collective anxiety in the world at the moment, this bizarre time presents an enormous opportunity to become better at being a more sustainably conscious society and as well as individuals having faced this challenge.
Switch to online, increase sales and build a remote community.
When you’re faced with unprecedented times it’s an opportunity to improve the online fabric of your business. Use this time to investigate how you can raise your online user experience, diversify your online product offering, or switch some of your in-person services to online and int he process cast your business net wide. By being socially isolated, there is the opportunity to look at ways to be more innovative and connect more frequently with your community remotely.
Make things better by making better things.
In the backdrop of uncertain times consumers divert their spend to essentials. If shopping behaviours change how will this affect your business? What do people in your target audience need most and what is essential to them that your business can provide? Where are your products made and how can you reduce the links in your supply chain and demand on external manufacturing? If you’ve got more time on your hands now is an opportunity to embrace going slow and taking time to review your product offering. Look at what you sell and how you sell it. While there are many things we can’t control in times of downturn, now is an enormous opportunity to build your skills and put your creative powers to good use by unearthing ways to make things better by making better things.
Share ideas with your industry competitors.
It’s important to leverage the power of human connection during a crisis. This includes being supporters of those in your category who you would normally compete with. You face the same problems, why not embrace being stronger together. I actually wish this happened more just generally (retailers should commend the great work of other retailers without fearing the loss of a sale. Same goes for PR agencies who usually work incognito to one another). Let go of the dark days of silo business operation and pull back the lens on how joining forces can make impact on a greater scale. Open more doors for you and your industry competitors by sharing and supporting each others ideas to make your category not only more connected (better friends) but more visible to your audience. Ideas that are brainstormed result in ideas with more value.
BONUS TIP: Activate sustainable PR for your business.
If you’re unsure of what steps to take next in your business and you find yourself with more time than usual based on a reduction in sales and leads, collaboration opportunities or because meetings and events have come to an abrupt holt, then now is a wonderful opportunity to keep your business front and centre by up-leveling your PR efforts. Consumers in any category will be relying more than ever on consuming content online as well as making purchases and booking consultation services with businesses remotely. The market will continue to be competitive, and clever PR will help ensure your business remains in the minds of your target audience in the right way. People make decisions about you and your business when you’re not in the room. Building brand awareness and remaining front of mind to ultimately lead your audience to shop with you is PR in its true form. Good PR is good business.
Wishing you and your business good health, peace of mind and excellent PR support.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Creative Director
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.