Mar 20, 2020

Adapting In Times Of Crisis

By: Polly Yakovich

Values Innovation Marketing Strategy

Wow, this turned into a hard post to write. Here we are. A time in history that none of has experienced before.  I've heard a lot of everything this week: drama, guilt, fear, apocalyptic language, the show must go on. We are feeling it all.

In conversations with some of my team, the concept that comes to my mind is grief. We are grieving. Some are losing milestones - trips, graduations. Some are losing livelihoods - layoffs, businesses that have shut down and face a hard or impossible road back. Some are grieving the loss of their community, even temporarily. We are lonely, we are uncertain. 

None of us knows what the future holds and we're all trying our best. At work and at home. 

This week we grieve. We let the waves crash over us and we take deep breaths in between.

Next week we wake up to our "new normal" (and you can continue grieving too). A life and working landscape that may look very different for the foreseeable future - we have no idea for how long. Even 8 weeks seems interminable right now. Trauma research shows that the people who best survive and thrive out of grief are people who keep doing. Who take small steps, who keep moving.

Here at A Brave New, we are optimists. We believe in the power of the human spirit. Right now, we're in the mode of changing and adapting. Here are 5 things we are adapting to right now.

1. Pivoting

Many of our clients can't meet with prospects in person right now - trade shows and events are cancelled, in-person meetings are gone, and many businesses are left scrambling to find ways to replace the expected traffic, conversations, demonstrations, and sales leads.

As more people stay home and spend time online in the coming weeks - physical traffic will convert to digital traffic in unprecedented ways. At this time, we need to lean into cultures of innovation, or look to what innovative companies are able to do quickly. 

We are co-presenting a webinar with our good friends and agency owners in Maine and New York to talk about how to pivot online to gain attention, earn trust, build confidence, and generate real leads in the face of the chaos.

Register now for Business As Usual Is Cancelled – Now What Do We Do? on Tuesday, March 24 from 11am-noon PST.

2. Working From home

And now we're all working from home. No commute times, no time lost walking to meetings, we're so productive! Except why are our kids here? And now I'm a homeschool teacher too? We have to do this for how long?

Many of us just weren't set up for this rapid shift. We're trying to carve out actual space for our extra monitors so we can still work efficiently. We're trying to remember to shower in the morning so we feel a sense of normalcy. It's a sudden, forced change, and it doesn't feel great. We miss collaborating and taking a walk break for coffee without tripping over legos.

One of the things I'm learning more about is how to lead a team remotely.  Reading If You Lead People Today, Do These 5 Things was one thing that helped give me a better perspective on how to do that.

3. Learning & Growing

We have a little extra time right now. Depending on how many things are shut down in your city, maybe a lot of extra time. We don't suggest spending all this time working, and we resist our culture that pressures us to spend every waking or extra minute improving ourselves or working on something. But we are curious people and we love to learn. So we are challenging ourselves to choose a few extra things that we can do this month to grow. We're revisiting our Pockets and pulling out bookmarked articles, watching a couple webinars we've missed, or doing a couple new Hubspot Academy certifications (for free!).

I recently interviewed my friend George Brooks, CEO of Crema (a digital product agengy) for an April podcast episode. He talked about a concept they've really embraced at Crema: It’s Time to Ditch Departments and Start Building Cross-Disciplinary Teams which he also wrote about recently as well. Our conversation really piqued my interest in exploring more about team structure and how effective (and innovative) teams thrive.

4. Sharing

What good is learning and growing if we don't share it with others? We love to help, and we want to share what we're learning with you. 

Over the coming weeks we plan to showcase some of our amazing clients on our blog. We want you to hear directly from them about their expertise, their unique challenges in this climate, and glean any insights they may have for your business.

In addition, we have recently launched A Brave New Podcast, where I interview brave, entrepreneurial marketing leaders who share with you how they've grown their careers and business and give you insight into unique topics of their expertise. Recent topics include Differentiating Your Business Through Powerful Branding with my co-founder, Josh Dougherty. In this week's episode I get to talk with Stephen Woessner about Future-proofing Your Business With Thought Leadership.

5. SOcial consciousness

We are all connected. Here in Seattle, businesses are suffering, restaurants have closed, people are laid off. The economic repercussions are unknown and scary. As someone who recently entered the food service business here myself, I am reminded how close so many are living to the edge. The people who serve you delicious food and drinks every week don't have great safety nets.

Right now those of us who work for big corporations, or live on the B2B side aren't as immediately and drastically affected as some of our neighbors. Here are some things that we are doing to help those around us - we invite you to join us if you're able!

  • Donate to the Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund and help supplement lost wages for hospitality workers to pay for food, bills, health care, and other necessities.

  • Volunteer or donate to your local food bank. For my neighborhood, that's Ballard Food Bank. From a numbers perspective, more kids in NYC rely on the food support they get at school than any other US city (and schools are now closed). Consider a donation to City Harvest in NYC.

  • Many restaurants and local businesses have had to shut down or pivot their services. Order delivery or takeout from local restaurants that have had to change their operations. This also helps keep delivery drivers in business. Consider buying a gift card from any local business you would otherwise frequent so they can get cash in their pockets and you can help them stay afloat until they can provide services again.

What are you doing to adjust to the current climate? Are things changing drastically or is it business as usual? We'd love to hear from you, post any comments or thoughts below.

If you have some spare time to read, and would like to learn more about how to find and qualify new customers online, you can Download our Free ebook: Generate the Right Leads. Build Trust. Achieve Breakthrough Growth.

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