COVID: Now What?
We’ve now been in the thick of this pandemic for a few weeks. We are all watching the number of people infected with COVID-19 rise at an alarming clip, a $2 trillion stimulus package no one really knows how to use and people continuing to freak the fuck out about the coronavirus.
Ok, now that that depressing shit is out of the way, here’s the silver lining we’re seeing in the market with agency partners, clients and prospects.
Ostriching is slowing down
You know what an ostrich does; it sticks its head in the sand and ignores what’s happening in the world around it. At least in LA, we’ve seen a lot of this in the last three weeks. It’s Stage 1 in the grief process: straight-up denial. Luckily, not everyone has been doing it, and those who have pivoted quickly and nimbly have set the example of how businesses should react in this new normal. Now we are starting to see increased meetings on calendar and new RFPs and scope requests come through, and although at times it feels glacial, it definitely still feels like progress.
Native e-commerce brands are crushing it
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty much glued to my phone and computer the last few weeks. While neither I nor the American public at large are making luxury purchases, we are starting to infuse at least some of our dollars back into the market. Part of this is the hoarding mentality (what if I can’t get my lotion in two weeks?), and part of it is that we are trying with all our might to return to our normalish daily habits. I’m definitely not trying to belittle the financial strain this has put on a majority of the country, but for those of us who are lucky to be able to work from home, sometimes a little retail therapy is needed.
I think we are going to continue seeing this upward trend and that, while luxury markets are going to suffer (who needs a Birkin with nowhere to show it off?), daily use goods and lower ticket “joy items” are going to continue with stable growth and potentially even an uptick in sales. The other upside? Sales are everywhere as brands attempt to keep cash flowing in.
Companies are planning with purpose
We know not all companies are able to continue selling their products and services during this time. Those who are more stunned than others are waking up from the first few weeks of disbelief and realizing the opportunity this experience can potentially provide. Whether it’s financial restructuring out of necessity or pivoting their existing models, many brands we’ve spoken to are using this time to plan for the future. We are all clear that this will die down in a few months. What that will look like is unclear. I believe we will see new innovations, pivots and exciting opportunities for small- to mid-size businesses (SMBs) who will be like phoenixes rising from the ashes. It’s our businesses that make up the economic backbone of our economy and who will exemplify strength, evolution and resiliency in the coming months.
Kindness is winning
Whether it’s laughing off that glitchy dog-interrupted Zoom meeting or crossing the street on your daily walk, we are seeing the kindness in strangers. In the business world, this is translating to free or lower-cost offerings. At EMB, we’ve been offering a complimentary strategy session to help jump-start the ideation process for emerging brands and enterprise clients alike. Think about what that offer could look like for your company and how you can best share your knowledge and expertise or product with the world in a new way. You never know who you might be inspiring.
I don’t want you to think that I’m Pollyanna here. I will tell you personally that this has been a challenge for my company and I’m lucky to have a team that gets it and stands behind me and our clients at this time. This has affected everyone, but somehow that makes me feel better. This world event has been a great equalizer. It’s up to us to take a challenge, turn it into an opportunity and keep moving forward, even if it’s just a baby step. We’re all in this together.
Laurel Mintz, Founder & CEO
Elevate My Brand