How Businesses Can Survive in the Time of Corona and Beyond

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I knew this day would come as I’ve been preaching about Digital Transformation for the past few years now. Since 2002, during the dot.com era when everyone and their mama was making money from building websites, I’ve worked on quite a few.

Somehow that died down in the last decade. Perhaps because of the invention of social media, people feel its so much easier (and cheaper) to focus on building your following on instagram than building your email list and increasing website visitors.

In 2012, I helped a non-profit drive traffic to their website and increased donor loyalty by 25% in a matter of few months . As an international NGO, they heavily relied on funding to implement projects, so this factor was essential. 

Now fast forward to 2020, the Corona virus has halted all major events and social gatherings including weddings, funerals and bank lines for at least two weeks, if not longer. How will small businesses, promoters and event planners survive this massive dent in their income?

Here are some things businesses can do to survive Corona Virus, otherwise known as COVID-19:

  1. Create a website to build credibility. It’s necessary more than ever at this time. Not just for events but for anyone that sells goods and/or services. It allows people to see the services you have to offer as well as, in times of crisis like this, update your customers with the necessary information they need.
  2. Add e-commerce so you can make money online:I wanted to help someone in another country promote their products but they didn’t have a website. How am I supposed to help them promote if they don’t have a way to receive online payments? This also helps you to widen your customer base which is critical in a time like this.
  3. Digital Transformation will be the future of success: For those who are now forced to do remote work, take the time to set up the cloud so you can back up files, digitize your files and include project management systems to increase productivity. Help your staff get digital ready, purchase Google Play gift card for them to buy productivity apps.Then reward them with this .
  4. Create Online challenges to keep people engaged: Show ways your company is helping to fight the Corona Virus by asking your followers to engage in a challenge. Currently, there is the popular #WashYourLyrics challenge but you can also ask people to show how they sanitize their phones or even homes. Or similarly to the #PlankChallenge, they can ask people to show how they are practicing social distancing at this time. Make it fun! It also help to keep you top-of-mind during this difficult time.
  5. By Live Streaming events the show will go on: Have you ever watched a boxing match on pay-per-view? You can also live stream events through your website and ask people to pay to watch it. This is also a great time to set up Eventbrite and Paypal account so you can accept payments.
  6. Brand Partnerships are key: If you’re a promoter, by now you should have your sponsors who you can rely on. If the events scheduled have been postponed or cancelled, they should have some funds in reserve. Ask them to sponsor the live streamed event and show value by mentioning the brand or subtly having it the background while the event is taking place. Encourage people to comment on the livestream and win prizes.
  7. And lastly Care. What as a business are you doing to give back? It’s more than just showing people how to wash their hands. Leave the updates on the virus to the health authorities. How will you help people feed their families and stay healthy during this time? Social good and corporate social responsibility are important so much more now than ever before. 

How to Build an Iconic Brand

n-5-packshot-default-125530-8801294680094Chanel is one of the most iconic brands in the history of the world. The logo hasn’t changed or been updated since its inception. It was created in 1925 by the owner of Chanel empire, Gabrielle Coco Chanel herself and is basically her initials. Her brand is a champion for the feminist cause hence their association with strong women like Marilyn Munroe and Nicki Minaj.

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But it’s so much more than that. The inventor of the little black dress (LBD) and Chanel No. 5, her products will still be in high demand years from now.

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All the brand elements scream luxury. From the entrance to the stores, to the branding, to the ad campaigns –they all symbolize one thing, sophistication.

 

But great brands are more than just the logo and the branding. They’re built on story telling. Coco Chanel, grew up alone in an orphanage and fought her way out of poverty to success. The communication built on her journey to success, is why her quotes are posted by modern women everywhere, and the iconic Chanel suit is a staple in every successful woman’s wardrobe.

So ask yourself do your customers know your brand’s story? When customers fall in love with a brand its because it connects with them on an emotional level, it makes the brand stand out.

What do customers think of your brand? A lot of people think that creating a brand for your business just involves designing a logo. And although a logo is an important statement its not the only thing to consider.

Do you need help creating your brand identity? It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Before you begin the design stage of your logo, here are a few things to consider:

Define your brand

What do people like about your product or service? How does your product or service stand out in the marketplace? The first step is to define your brand. Think of it as having a personality. People are attracted to your personality by the colors that you use, your choice of words, the images that you select for your graphic design materials, the designs that you use for your signs and of course, your logo.

 

The brand identity depends on your target audience

Your brand identity also depends on who you are trying to reach. If your customers are the youth market, you may want to use fun colors and catchy phrases. If your customers are a niche market, you may want to use a more technical language that is applicable to the industry.

These tips are valuable in helping you create an brand identity that suits your messages and appeals to your target audience. Professional help can make all the difference.

 

 

Guest Blog: Why Facebook Isn’t Worth It for Small Businesses Anymore

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Source: Shutterstock

If you run a small business, you probably have a Facebook Page. Unless you’ve had this page before 2009 (the early days), you’re probably crazy stressed from trying to keep it up and running. What used to be a ‘great way to connect with fans of your brand and make new ones for free’ is now ‘only 10 of my 2,000 followers saw my last post, maaan, Facebook can go to hell’.

Somewhere along the way (precisely around the time of Facebook’s IPO), things went south. Now there are several reasons why Facebook just isn’t a great fit for businesses trying to grow their brands and connect with others on a tiny budget.

Your Posts are Subjected to Facebook’s Complex Algorithm

If you’ve ever wondered why you have 500 friends and like 20 pages (for example) but you only ever see posts from the same 10 people every time you log on, that’s because Facebook algorithm is doing some serious voodoo on your timeline. It uses a complex algorithm that assesses when a post was made, how popular a post is, how often you interact with the person/brand that made a post, among other factors to determine what you see.

So what does this mean for businesses? Well, if you aren’t a super popular brand, or you don’t constantly post irrelevant memes and funny stuff that have nothing to do with your business, your posts are probably only seen by the miniscule fraction of super brand advocates, which is about 1-2% of your total likes. Ouch.

You Have to Pay for Advertising

To get those posts seen by more people, you gotta advertise. While Facebook advertising is fairly inexpensive, it’s still using money some businesses simply don’t have. Additionally, for small businesses handling their own social media (which I highly recommend), figuring out ads can be quite a difficult, time-consuming task.

You Have to Create Highly Engaging Videos

Back to that algorithm. Another factor it considers is the type of post. While you can post plain text, linked, image or video posts – not all of them are created equal. Nowadays, videos uploaded directly to Facebook are getting the most traction. Facebook claims it’s because that’s what people are into, but it probably has a lot more to do with it competing with YouTube videos.

Of course, the business’ response to this would be upload more videos, right? Wrong. Ain’t nobody got the time or the money or the patience for that. The second best type of post is photos, another money/time suck. So now, not only are you spending on promoting the content, you’ve got to spend on creating it too. All for benefits you might not even get.

You Can’t Really Connect

Social media marketing is about brands connecting with fans and potential fans right? Facebook used to do a fairly good job with the fan connection, but they never really facilitated connecting with potential fans.

Brands can only communicate with individual persons on Facebook if the persons initiates the conversation. This isn’t so on other social media platforms. This may not seem important until you realize just how much you can do with true two-way communication. On Twitter, for example, you can follow people and join in on hot topics or relevant discussions that started without you. Can’t do that on Facebook. You can also search keywords for persons looking for your service and reach out to them, even if they’ve never heard of you. Can’t do that on Facebook either.

Wrap It Up

Sure, there are some Facebook advocates out there saying ‘Facebook reach is not dead’. Some businesses might be afraid to let go because they already spent money and time building a sizeable audience. Others might say that they are fine with spending money to create content and reach their fans.

The question is, if there are other platforms out there that will get you more attention, more engagement and better relationships, wouldn’t the switch be worth it?

Stacy-Ann Hayles is a digital marketing consultant for solopreneurs and small businesses, who spends much of her time lurking in the corners of coffee shops and drawing eyebrows on her dogs. Learn more about her services here and feel free to send her a tweet (and coffee, she loves coffee).

How to Reinvent Yourself

After struggling as a graphic designer in a third world country, where design skills were not appreciated, I decided to move to the U.S. to re-invent myself.

Here’s how I did it:

HOW TO REINVENT YOURSELF

These tips can help anyone else who is also struggling with changing their career or wanting to expand their capacity within their current field.

1. Determine where you want to go. When I started out, I wanted to remain in Advertising, but to switch roles to  Account Management, working on Strategy and dealing with clients’ needs, determining the best approach to expressing their key messages – my role is constantly evolving and as social media becomes a driving force in PR, I will stay in it.

2. Develop a Narrative. Explain your past and find a way to bring the story to the present. In my situation, Communications and Graphic Design are in a way still very much related, so bridging the gap was a very easy transition – my interest came from wanting to offer more services to my clients.

3. Reintroduce Yourself. My colleagues know me as a Graphic Designer because I have spent most of my working life as one. Even when I apply for jobs people still want to put me in the Design role because that is where I have the most experience.

Emailing everyone you know individually of your new path will help to redirect your goal. People will then remember your new title and recommend and refer you to new jobs and potential business ventures.

4. Show what you are made of. If you don’t show people what the new direction of your career is they will never know, which is why I started this blog.

5. Go to events and show them your business card . Become more acquainted with people in the industry. Make sure you introduce yourself with your new title. If no name cards are provided at the event, make sure to make one of your own and wear it. This will help people to see you and remember the title you have decided to acquire.

If you need any advice, tweet me @KesiAGardner

Blogging for Dummies

 
So you don’t seem to be getting the traffic that you need to your website. It seems that all you have is static content that no one is interested in, right?
The best way to get people interested in your product is to highlight the benefits of having your product, by telling people about your product. Right?
But, the news sources don’t care about your product or service and Novia McDonald-Whyte, the Style Editor of The Jamaica Observer hung up on you because you couldn’t remember if she worked for the Gleaner or the Observer (true story by the way).
So what are you going to do?

 

START A BLOG

 

That’s right! Start a blog! It’s the easiest thing to do. Blogger and WordPress make it so easy to create your own pages, and post them on the Internet.
Now you’re probably thinking, if I have a website, why do I need a blog? Well here is the thing, a lot of time the website’s information is static, meaning it can’t be changed and shared as organically as you would like it to be.
The people who may be interested in your product or service are not interested in static information. People want knowledge, information that is engaging, kind of like this blog.  (Just checking if you are paying attention)
The good thing about writing a blog for your company is that it’s simple to do; you are not tied to the CEO or Managing Director’s messages to write the blog entry. The benefit of having a blog, is that anyone from your company can write something, as it is more informal than a website page.

BLOGGING HELPS TO TARGET DIFFERENT AUDIENCES

 

Another good thing about having a blog is that the content keeps changing, as you add more content, and more blog posts are for different target groups or different services your company has to offer, it will bring more traffic to your website and ultimately drive sales.
So what do people want to read? I think most of the time people are interested in reading about personal experiences, triumphs and the brand experience.