Corporate

March 24, 2020

What changes are businesses making in light of coronavirus?

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The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. This fortnightly update shares top tips to help you foster creative and challenge the status quo and summarises the news that matters.

Your business, social media and coronavirus 

Things are moving at an unprecedented pace. News updates become out of date within hours, guidance from the Government is being issued daily and the noise around coronavirus on social media is deafening.

How should businesses behave on social media during this time? Here are our key pointers:

1. Address the situation
It’s important that if you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram to communicate with clients or customers, you don’t try and bury your head in the sand. Not referencing the current situation will come across as tone-deaf and show your followers that you’re not with the programme. Now is not the time to make light of the situation or disregard it. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand came under fire recently when a photo was posted to Instagram featuring the actress wearing a pair of $400 sneakers to promote a sneaker guide. When people are feeling anxious and worried, content that seems out of sync is likely to draw negative criticism.

2. Stay relevant
While it’s important to reference the current climate, you also need to ensure you’re not seen to be exploiting the current situation to push your product or services. Share information to do with your own business and industry, share genuine, authentic and useful updates. Don’t use this time to promote a sale, or make a tenuous link to your product or offering in relation to coronavirus.

3. Be transparent
Transparency about what your business is doing to combat the risk of spreading the virus is paramount. Are you asking all colleagues to stay at home? You can also use this as an opportunity to shine a light on your team and the people who make up the business. Are you conducting all customer interactions via video call? Use social media to talk honestly about the process and show people how you’re doing it. Are you ensuring that full safety measures are being followed at the warehouses that stock your product? Use social media to relay that message and reassure your followers that you’re taking the necessary steps to keep them safe.
 
4. Keep up to date
In this period of uncertainty, it’s vital that you monitor the situation around you to understand what your competitors are doing and how the conversation around coronavirus and your brand or industry is changing. It’s important to draw from real time updates and a range of reputable sources to ensure that your monitoring is holistic and accurate.

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Getting creative through crisis 

Over the past week, we’ve seen the spread of coronavirus galvanise brands and people to find new ways of doing things – with ‘taking it online’ the move of the moment.

Tackling the Challenge
BBC rugby commentator Nick Heath found himself with a surplus of spare time on his hands as the final Six Nations matches were cancelled due to the virus. So, he took to Twitter to make use of it the best way he knows how – making the more mundane elements of life into competitive sports. Watch his #LifeCommentary video series to see everything from crossing the road to buggy-pushing, turned high octane.

Pivoting Business
Usually known for its liquid alcohol of a different bent, independent brewer Brewdog has taken a swift redirection in the face of the shake-up, using its breweries to make hand sanitiser amid national shortages. The sanitiser will be given away free of charge.
Explaining the move in a recent Sky News interview, founder James Watt explained: “We essentially lost 70 percent of our revenue overnight and we are doing all we can to adapt, to think about our resources differently, to try and survive, to try and save as many jobs as we can, to try and help the country through this.”

Duetting in Digital
Leaving bygone 90s boyband rivalry behind, Take That’s Gary Barlow and Boyzone’s Ronan Keating come together (remotely) to sing Tracey Chapman’s ‘Baby Can I Hold You’ via video link. It’s the cheering and much-needed record drop none of us even knew we wanted.

Online Opera
The doors to New York’s Metropolitan Opera may be closed, but that doesn’t mean business has stopped. Instead it’s announced its aim to “to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark”, by streaming entire archive performances for free nightly at 7:30pm EDT, with performances available until 3:30pm the next day. Tune in to get your culture fix.

Brands for Good
Where there’s a cause, there’s usually a company response not far behind. Among the brands who are putting their profit to the side in favour of making a difference are:

  • Domino’s, Pret a Manger and McDonald’s are among those who have offered free or reduced food and drink to the NHS staff keeping us safe
  • Audiobook platform Audible is opening up hundreds of its titles for free to support children whose schools have been closed during the crisis
  • Netflix announced a $100m fund for creatives whose roles have been thrown into question due to the uncertainty
  • National Car Parks (NCP) is allocating free parking to all frontline NHS staff to allow them to get to work amid reduced transport services
  • Supermarket chains The Co-op and Asda were the first to advertise 10,000 store-based roles for those who’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus – with the majority of the UK’s remaining supermarkets later following suit, due to increased demand.

The lesson? Periods of challenge and uncertainty open up new landscapes, with previously unseen opportunities for imagination and innovation. What’s crucial now is a readiness to harness this change, to find solutions and lead us into the future.

The Innovation team would love to hear about the creativity you’ve seen over the past week – who or what has inspired you in these unprecedented times? Get in touch on innovation@instinctif.com.

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