With gatherings restricted and social distancing a global instruction, it’s clear that any event, conference or meeting is now postponed indefinitely. As the pandemic impact on business comes crashing down, brands are scrambling for a solution to recreate this essential in-person experience, online. A sharp rise in the usage of webinars, Zoom meetings, Slack channels, and social media live platforms show us that everything is going digital, and fast.
Of course, every business is unique. And some brands, more than others, will experience especially sharp and frightening pivots away from the methods they’ve become accustomed to overtime. It’s hard to tell what changes will take off and which won’t, but now is evidently the time to experiment and discover the solution to digitising business models.
During this time, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Many others are receiving the heartbreaking news of business closure or instead, they’re becoming unemployed at the drop of a hat. The government is doing everything possible to keep people on their feet, but eventually, those impacted will have no choice but to take the reins back on their future.
The Silver Lining
Importantly, we believe that this heightened rate of digitalisation should be looked upon as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.
We think it’s valuable to identify the silver lining amongst the chaos, and that is that businesses were always going to move towards digital. This period of self-isolation and distance is accelerating some of the changes that would naturally occur over the next decade. Driven by urgency and necessity, going digital now is the only way to succeed in our technology-driven future.
Pandemic Impact on Business: Examples of Businesses Going Digital
We’ve been watching businesses undergo their critical digital transformation, and we hope can shed some light and relevance to inspire you for the coming changes. So, as the pandemic impact on business spans worldwide, what industries are changing and what are they doing?
Despite the situation, Victoria Zoos haven’t allowed closures to stop them from showcasing their animals. Animal house streaming has given uninterrupted, live access to penguin, lion, giraffe and baby snow leopard enclosures at both Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. Now animal lovers are able to enjoy the zoo, regardless of their physical location.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
With theatres and concert halls closing their doors to the public, Australian arts companies are finding innovative ways to reach their audiences. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra live-streamed their performance on Monday and received an unprecedented number of views. 5,500 people tuned in live (doubling the hall’s capacity) and within a week the video reached 64,000 views.
The Supercars postponed their next three races on the calendar, instead opting for an Eseries competition to run, featuring real-life Supercars drivers. Teams will now be racing their own virtual Supercars, online from home, every week. This competition will be broadcast life on sports streaming platforms, Kayo and Fox Sports. It will also be broadcast free on the Supercar website and owned social media channels.
The iconic brand, Playboy, has recently announced it’s last printed publication in the US this year. With the pandemic impact on businesses limiting content production and the supply chain, Playboy has shut down their print edition after 66 years of operation. Instead, they have opted to move to a digital-first publishing schedule for all upcoming content. All of their existing content is viewable online.
Isol-aid Festival was a two-day virtual Australian music festival which ran via Instagram live story. The festival featured 74 Australian artists playing 20-minute sets live from their homes. Isol-aid was organised to raise awareness and funds for industry non-profit Support Act, and many people described feelings of relief when tuning in to watch.
The organisers shared that their successful fundraising efforts brought in more than $12,000. With plans to continue the festival each weekend, this could soon be the reality of the music industry during our isolated time. This adaptation gives us the chance to experience music, joy and company throughout the midst of uncertainty.
Image: The Guardian
Room 2 Radio
Room 2 Radio is Sydney’s first ‘virtual nightclub’ designed to give people the freedom to enjoy partying again, from the comfort of their homes. By providing local Sydney DJs, disco lights and a chatroom for those looking to socialise, they’re giving people the responsible, government-endorsed party that they crave.
Most fitness brands or fitness influencers have demonstrated a major increase in the prevalence of at-home workout content. This is a great shift to see as these workouts are easily obtainable by the majority of the isolated population. As well, since Australia announced that all gyms will be closed, we’ve actually seen people clear out store workout stock. Kmart and Rebel Sports are just some of the retailers with empty shelves.
F45, a much-loved Australian fitness experience which aims to burn 750 calories in just 45 minutes, is now offering at-home workout videos. Not only does this increase customer engagement, but an online presence also extends F45’s audience to a significantly higher capacity than their gym could host.
Reebok is sharing Fitness of the Day posts as well as tailoring workouts to suit the limited equipment available in people’s homes. Not only does this help and encourage people to stay on top of their fitness routines during worldwide gym closures, but it also creates a positive brand image that people are likely to remember. When we return to normality, do you think people will shop sporting equipment from a brand that succumbed to silence, or from Reebok, a brand that helped them overcome uncertain times?
Art Basel Hong Kong
Art Basel is an international art fair staged annually in Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and Basel which sells the art of established and emerging artists. With mass gathering closures in effect, the real-life version was established online instead. The launch of online viewing rooms was successful with the presentation of 2,000 artworks from 235 leading galleries.
Aboriginal Artist Rachael Sarra
Instagram Stories are allowing Rachael Sarra’s community the opportunity to engage. Art content is being created through viewers ‘Squiggles’.
The Result of All This? A Healthier Digital Lifestyle
With all the time we have now, at home with our devices, it’s time to rethink how we can use them. By focusing on creating positive communities, we can unite in our socially distanced reality. Examples are everywhere, and we’re only in the early days of this pandemic. Daily concerts, yoga classes, and gardening classes are all available online. So it’s important to do your part and find what you can authentically offer people, and then offer it. There are always people listening. Read more about how to re-strategise your marketing efforts amidst the Coronavirus Crisis.
In our previous blog, we spoke about (sensitively) using humour as this pandemic runs its course, so we thought we’d share a positive example of this. Hopefully, many of you who are working remotely can relate!
Technology To Use During Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is no easy feat. Fortunately, we live in an age where technology is developing at a rapid rate. And, there are tools available to everyone that can be used (or considered) by businesses as we run the course of this worldwide pandemic. The pandemic impact on business can be combated with an open mind and the use of technology. Some ideas:
- Social Networks – Virtual conversation has never been easier with the ability to connect with entire communities at the click of a button. More users will be looking towards real-time news and company updates through their favourite social channels.
- Video Streaming – This is a great method of sharing entertainment and news content as it comes through. With more people increasing their daily usage, there’s a need for new content to be available. Look towards online video channels such as YouTube as a platform to distribute important content. Online training can also be completed through video platforms such as Loom, which will also help reduce costs.
- Video Conferencing – Business conversations can happen remotely with the help of many video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Slack.
- Virtual Assistants – Using a virtual assistant increases your efficiency, adds flexibility, and can assist you with scaling your business operations.
- Cloud Computing – Compiling your data and assets and storing them in an accessible location allows you to access data remotely and cut costs on physical storage locations.
- Smartphones and Mobile Apps – Application based solutions can provide ease for the millions of people using a smartphone. E-Commerce applications increase the number of customers viewing and purchasing a specific product. Considering developing your own, or look towards selling your products through independent retailer e-commerce applications, like eBay.
While many of you are confined to your homes, you have the best asset available to you right now. Time. Don’t succumb to the worldwide pandemic impact on business. Use this time wisely to rethink, restructure, and remodel your business to one that can dominate in the digital world.