Planning in a pandemic

When Covid-19 hit, we thought it would be a couple of weeks, maybe months, that we would be working from home and with business as usual six months later. However – here we are nine months later facing a second lockdown, and the entire business world has had to do a complete U-turn on their marketing strategy.

It has been a tough few months, figuring out how to market in such a changed – and changing – environment. Here at Peachy Digital we have learned some interesting lessons along the way and have adapted accordingly.

Flexibility

At Peachy Digital we generally work on quarterly or yearly content plans, detailing all the important events in the client’s calendar and any celebrations occurring in the country. Obviously, these are intended to be flexible and adapt according to business needs – before Covid-19 this worked really well. The Peachy team can work ahead of schedule and prepare content in advance, giving clients opportunities to source the best possible images, feedback from their customers and so on so that this content delivers everything it is intended to.

But no plan was expecting the entire country to suddenly shut down! So, our approach to marketing strategy has become even more agile, more flexible to the extent that we are only working a week ahead of schedule at most. So much is changing every day that ideas can become outdated and ultimately abandoned where previously they felt like a stroke of genius.

Golden Rule: If it’s not relevant, don’t publish it. Right now, more than ever, marketing needs to be relevant to the current national announcements. What is the point in posting something that relates to the government announcement a week ago? If you look at our content plan, we actually have gaps in our schedule to allow space to adapt and react to what is going on.

‘Business as usual’

It’s a phrase we have seen so many times – and it’s one we try to avoid.

Frankly, it is not business as usual. We have had to adapt and overcome many hurdles. There is no way any single business is running exactly the same way as it was a year ago.

Every business has been affected somehow by Covid-19, so marketing to your audience ‘business as usual’ won’t be appreciated. You need to address the new challenges that everyone is facing, get on their level and be understanding of everyone’s needs.

Working from home

Like most businesses, our staff members are now working from home. Giving my work force the option to work hours that suit, in the comfort of their own home and taking away the stress of commuting has resulted in our productivity flying through the ceiling. I’ve retained typical office hours to ensure that we are contactable, but Ellen and Chloe are working more flexibly in delivering their workloads and it’s working well.

One take away I have gained from a member of the Peachy team: ‘I am time wealthy’.

While people are saying that working from home is costing them more in heating and electricity, we are forgetting that being inundated with time is a rarity, and right now it’s something we should embrace.

When working from home, use your lunch hour to run to the shops (essential trips only, of course), use your time making a coffee to put the washing on. We are getting small little errands done in the working day without sacrificing productivity in the office, meaning our weekends and evenings can be spent learning a new skill, spending time with our bubble or going for long walks locally.

Zoom

We all have had to adapt to a new normal for meeting and at Peachy Digital we have been asked by many of our clients to coach them on proper ‘Zoom Etiquette’.

Lighting: Make sure that the light is in front of you. If the light is behind you, you will become a silhouette.

Angle: You should not be looking down at the camera, if you’re looking down, we can see up your nose. Raise your laptop or iPad – if you don’t have a proper stand a big pile of books will do.

Sound: Invest in a decent microphone. If you are having to chair meetings for a large group, you will need a good microphone so you can be heard at volume without the sound being distorted.

This is a time where we need to be getting on our audiences’ radar. We can explore our creativity – let’s embrace it. What can you be offering your audience? How can you adapt your business? Whatever your brand decides to do, it’ll help you to stay visible during this crisis. And when we come out the other side, you’ll be remembered for your positivity.

Lizzie Turner-Jones

Managing Director, Peachy Digital