Four ways to stay
relevant and thrive
While the pandemic has forced thousands of businesses to reduce their operations or close down entirely, it’s also led to some dazzling examples of Darwinian economics.
The swift-footed and clear-thinking among us have recognised the need to evolve old business models to reach out to a new breed of lockdown consumer.
And how quickly things change. E-commerce has shot through the stratosphere – with Ocado overtaking Tesco as the UK’s most valuable retailer. Cash payments have ceased to exist. And home deliveries are now the go-to provider of EVERYTHING – from cupcakes to custom-made cocktails.
These seismic shifts have occurred, in part, because some people wrongly assumed that the pandemic was a temporary glitch. While others recognised a more permanent sea change in behaviours and adapted accordingly to future-proof their businesses.
1. Grab every opportunity
The initiative people have shown throughout the pandemic has ranged from the smart to the brazen. On the audacious end of the spectrum, McDonald’s fans were selling Big Mac’s and Chicken McNuggets on eBay when the chain closed its stores during the first lockdown.
This resourcefulness proved extremely profitable for some. Note this: on 29 March at 13:23 BST, a share box of 20 Chicken McNuggets sold for £2,500. While many may scoff at the lunacy of such a transaction – even question the morality of it – someone out there has increased their initial investment by 54,366.23%.
Less controversially, fitness instructors have been streaming classes online, DJs have been making personalised ‘isolation playlists’, and beauty therapists have been hosting virtual skin consultations.
It proves the old adage: when economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up.
Fitness instructors have been offering virtual classes.
2. Keep your finger on the pulse
Keeping up-to-date with what’s trending in other industries is vital. No one’s an island, so if you see change in one sector, chances are it’s going to trickle its way into yours.
We’re seeing this now with AI and machine-learning tech. Both are relatively new and yet they’ve already made inroads into government, medicine, agriculture and manufacturing. The trick is to never understate the power of what’s new. Just take social media: businesses that cottoned on early to its marketing potential made a killing.
Same goes for AR. It worked its way into mass popular culture during the Pokemon Go craze of 2016. And now it’s being used in education, cognitive therapy, surgical procedures, sensory enhancement and real-time information sharing. Even boutique design studios like ours are using it to immerse our clients in new design schemes.
3. Listen to your audience
There was a time when skateboarders would have jeered at the idea of wearing anything as mainstream as Nike. So what changed? Nike did. It realised that if it was going to appeal to this erstwhile untapped subculture, it would have to do two things:
Commit to the project for 5 years.
Involve skateboarders in the design process.
After listening to what skateboarders wanted, Nike released the Dunk SB.
To help amplify the new line, Nike collaborated with major skate companies and well-known professional skateboarders. They also made a point of only selling in specialist skateboard shops. No malls. No large retail stores.
Businesses that go to such lengths to know their audience – to actively include them in the creation of new products and services – will always stay relevant.
4. Stick close to the competition
Paying attention to competing brands will help you to track your own success and seek out competitive advantages.
Scanning press releases and seeing how your competitors engage their customers can help spark ideas for your own brand development. It may inspire you to incorporate some of their thinking.
Or compel you to head in a completely different direction.
Knowing who’s out there will also help you to seek out complementary partnerships. Doing so can further your reach, grow your knowledge and fine-tune your expertise.
Header image: sourced from Hot Dinners.
Image 1: sourced from Mindbody.