While the world is slowly, and probably prematurely opening, some industries will remain altered. Restaurants are working with fewer staff members at a lower capacity. Nail salons have constructed new partitions and require gear, and doctor offices are seeing patients remotely. We are all pivoting through this panic.
As an experiential marketer, there is no end in sight for my specific trade. Marketing events will probably not resume until next year, and that is still hard for me to grapple with mentally. But I can’t stop my grind. Mainly, because the newly restricted, socially distant, capacity counting, mask mandating grocery stores still requires that I have money to pay for groceries. And while that probably sounded disgruntled, I’m happy these policies are in place. These stores must serve the community and still be responsible for the welfare of the greater good.
There Will Be a Shift
Marketing events aren’t nearly a necessity for everyday people like grocery stores, but they are a necessity to most businesses with the direction consumers are headed. During the pandemic, people are shopping from home and are buying brands that align with their core values. When they were on strike, Americans were standing in solidarity with essential workers to demand hazard pay and better conditions to work in during the pandemic. And even after this is all said and done Amazon, Whole Foods (both Jeff Bezos), McDonald’s, Instacart, Family Dollar, and many more companies will still be regarded as inconsiderate, during a time when humanitarian efforts were needed the most.
Will this change their bottom lines? Probably not immediately, but it will give other brands, who stood for something, a chance to create space for themselves in the market. Their experience now will become part of their brand story, and consumers will choose brand loyalty based on that. The shift in consumption is where the pivoting happens. Brands will need to solidify the change in the market with experiences unique to their audience base.
This makes my job harder because I build concept designs for the user experience in an actual location for marketing events, usually on a grand scale. But those days are behind us currently. Now gatherings are very intimate or virtual. How do you connect with the audience on a personal level like that? How do you get them to feel what the brand stands for when we should not touch anything?
Ultimately, I, as well as my peers, are trying to figure out how to pivot in this crisis. We require new concepts, ideas, and engagement amid this new protocol to life.
My content has gotten more strategic and creative while my conferences have gone viral. I am learning new trades such as video, audio, and editing. Collaboration had already become a new norm for me, but I had to figure out how to maintain that during quarantine and now through restricted times.
Pivoting through panic is about finding out what you do best and using it to your best advantage. It should be your core competencies as you shift your business to accommodate these new times. Everything people needed before; they still need now. We have to figure out how to deliver it in a way that is safe, practical, and ideal for the new direction the audience consumes information and media.
Let this time shape you for the better. You create professional art, so, just like art, it won’t be simple, and it won’t be complicated. The new projects are just waiting to help you start your navigation into a new space. You just have to pivot to the right path.