Brands that pivot when adversity strikes

Unless you’re living under a rock (shout out to the Canadian and Brazilian Big Brother contestants), we’re all pretty aware that the next period is going to be a huge challenge for brands, businesses and communities. The world has changed drastically and quickly, so the need to be resilient, resourceful and agile is more important than ever. And the rewards for those who can see opportunities in these challenging times go way beyond survival.

Brands can, and do, thrive when adversity strikes. All it takes is some listening, creativity and good old-fashioned guts to make like a pro netballer and pivot.

The great thing about pivoting is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Brands use what they already have — whether its physical products or less-tangible services — and make an adjustment to produce a whole new income stream.

We’ve seen plenty of pivots since COVID19 has started affecting day-to-day business.There are restaurants and bars doing takeaways (hello actual #quarantini), and pubs transforming into local grocers offering fresh fruit and veg to their communities. These are examples of pivoting the products on offer (and how they are delivered), whereas you can also pivot who you offer to. Hotels and universities are examples of this second type, with plans to turn their facilities into much-needed makeshift hospitals and quarantine centres.

Sydney-based gin distillery Archie Rose has really seized the day. The boutique business has reallocated its spirit production facilities to produce vast amounts of hand sanitiser to fill the abyss in the market. Archie Rose Hand Sanitiser is made according to WHO guidelines and comes in signature scents — with a premium price tag of $20 right on the mark for its boutique positioning. With each batch producing 4,500 x 500mL bottles and two batches sold out within days, there will be plenty of hay to make for these guys.

Similarly, Melbourne brand Nobody Denim are on the brink of swivelling their focus from fashion to medical supplies, with the ability to manufacture 12,000 masks and up to 5,000 surgical gowns per week in their Thornbury factory. They’re currently in talks with the Federal Government to make this pivot a reality.

Whilst these show possibilities based on equipment, there are ways for non-manufacturing brands to pivot too.

For example, you may have noticed more online courses and workshops being offered. Smart businesses are taking advantage of the tightening lockdowns, recognising that there are going to be way more bums on seat at home wondering what to do with all this extra time. There’s only so much housecleaning and organising you can do, and what could be more virtuous and valuable than some self-motivated education during isolation? For the high-achieving consumer, it’s a no brainer:time (and money) well spent.

Problem-solving will never go out of fashion. With a growth mindset, your brand can continue to serve its customers and the greater community. Because when the world changes, it just gives us new problems to solve.

Look around. What are your customers’ needs now? What new pain points are you hearing from them? What does your brand have or do already that can contribute to your customers the community, in a way that really makes a difference? What do you have to offer to a different (additional and/or potentially bigger)customer base in this moment in history?

Keep one foot on the ground, your ears and eyes open, and your other foot ready to plant. There could be something here for your brand. As soon as you see it, be ready to grab it with both hands.