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. 

5 Trends Destined to Shape the Media this Year

Last month, myself and a few other marketers came together at a #MarketersMeetUp to discuss our forecasts for 2015. It was an interesting conversation that lead to predictions far beyond this year. These are a few that really stuck:

1. The use of Social Media Influencers.

While Facebook campaigns and viral videos are interesting and can garner likes and shares, they don’t always produce engagement that is long-lasting. With endorsements from social media influencers such as tv personalities, athletes, musicians, etc., brands can not only reach target audiences but can create long-lasting advocates who will willingly share their love for the brand.

Chris Gayle at the 2014 Miss Jamaica Universe Pageant http://instagram.com/p/sWUQplIeeN/?modal=true

See the list below of top influencers in Jamaica by category by Twitter followers:

Sports-related: Usain Bolt (< 3.6mil), Chris Gayle (<1.9 mil), Lennox Lewis (<375,000), Yohan Blake (<300,000).

Music: Sean Paul (<1.2 mil), Tessanne Chin (<250,000), Mavado (< 200,000), Jah Cure (<190,000), Taurrus Riley (<160,000), Wayne Marshall (<100,000), Chronixx (<82,000), Protoje (<32,000)

TV Personalities: Miss Kitty (<100,000), Yendi Phillips (<60,000).

An endorsement in a tweet, Facebook post or Instagram post by these top accounts could create an impact.

2. Mobile Integration

With the invent of LoopJamaica.com and its seamless integration onto every new Digicel smartphone, having the latest news at your fingertips will allow brands to target audiences even when they are away from their computers. As mobile use continues to grow, brands will have another channel to tap into. Communication is now a two-pronged approach: stories about the brands and offerings tied into ads with the links to more information about products.

Gleaner and Observer are right behind. Both have apps available for download. Most recently, TeenAge Observer discontinued its printed publication and will now be exclusively online allowing for brands to tap into the Jamaican youth market. With the high cost of print media, the possibilities of curating content that will engage preteens and teens online is limitless.

3. Online influencing offline

With the success of Dutty Berry, a vlogger who inspired Jamaica to support Tessanne on her road to winning “The Voice” and more recently Bella Blair, brands will feel compelled to utilize these personalities to become ambassadors. The real value in their presence is that they are already engaging online, have a strong fan base and are reaching the audience in a way that traditional media sometimes doesn’t. Bella Blair for example, has a YouTube channel with over 35,000 subscribers and within the past year, received her own show called, “Bella’s Bizarre World” on RETV. Bella is creating content that is fresh, young and different but still appealing to a wide audience. Check out Bella in the new 2015 Cran Wata Ad:

Cran Wata Bella TV Ad

Check out the video that inspired the TV Ad 

4. Mobile Dominance

Its been in discussion for years and now it seems to be on the “tips of the tongues” of many folks, particularly as the rise of mobile usage and telecoms are determined to sell phones and data plans. Websites will have to be designed for mobile as you will lose the interest of readers in a second. Mobile e-commerce is also a forecast for 2015.

5. Blogger Nation

With the success of the Caribbean Blog and Social Media Awards late last year, brands witnessed the possibilities of using bloggers to create content around their messages and offerings. As bloggers continue to grow their audiences and create content that is personal and inspiring–brands will want to get on board.

Here’s Irie Dawta’s Orange Chicken recipe featuring Tru-Juice

What Measurement of Success means Today in PR

FILL IN THE BLANKS

“Our activities are trying to reach______ and encourage them to____. We will achieve this be influencing their_______, ________ and _______. We will connect to them through________, __________ and ________. We will work with _________, and _____to reach the audience. When activities have been implemented, the powers that be want to be able to say that this outreach has_________. ” @Carrie Schum – Planning & Research, Porter Novellli

This is a “fill in the blank” exercise,  Carrie Schum, Head of Planning & Research, Porter Novelli, proposes we use to implement our strategy. When you start filling out these blanks you are closer to finding the direction you need to be going – after listening to Carrie’s presentation at a recent meeting I was invited to, I was excited to see that not only was there a plug-in but, that “old skool” methods are still valuable when it comes to strategy.

We always think that the newest methods of measurement are the best but, at the end of the day, how do we measure our company’s PR image?

My answer to this question is engagement, engagement, engagement. When you start getting your audiences involved in a conversation that results in an action, then that optimizes success.