7 Things to keep your Brand Relevant while maintaining your Social Distance

Posted on April 3, 2020

A weekly series of articles surrounding best practice to adjusting to the new economy skewed by the economic contractions caused by the Novel Corona Virus of 2020.

New Economy

Each passing day brings with it a new business. While the airplanes are down and we are forced to social distance to save our lives new transactions that seem novel now will eventually become routine. Out of this situation innovation is not only inevitable – it will squeeze out whoever can’t adjust and reward those who can with immediate survival and eventual riches.

1. Go Live and interact with others

One of the most prevalent methods to attract attention during our collective self isolation has been the instant gratification of live video. The LIVE platform has always existed, but without walk in business and large arenas for Djs and other entertainers to show off “live” has come to life.

In writing this and recording the complementary video my notes on best practice going LIVE extended long enough to become the title for my next post. Before going live however there are several things one should note.

  1. Do your research and choose the right platform.
  2. Choose an appropriate time to go live – observe when similar brands are live and avoid the clutter. Confer with as many as you can to coordinate the best time you can go live and support other
  3. Advertise in advance and choose a theme or a specific differentiator to attract your audience.
  4. Be conversational – Have a small audience? Perfect, now you can call each person joining by name and make the live directed to the individuals who are there with you. The more interesting the live is, the longer they would stay.
  5. Be open – Have a large audience? Aim to build hype around the climax of your broadcast and the domino effect can grow your following rapidly.

2. Update your Social Media Platforms

This is a bit different from when I said last week we should stay active on social media. Activity usually happens in our comfort zone. This updating starts right outside this zone. We do this in two ways:

Look for new social media platforms

Houseparty is now the number 1 download app on the Apple app store this week dethroning regulars like WhatsApp and Facebook which dominated the top downloads for years. This attests to the shift our attention to the new tools that will carry us through past this moment in history and onto the next.

Tik Tok videos are showing up all over Instagram and WhatsApp stories and its user base is growing rapidly. This is not by chance, Tik Tok’s creators have taken the time to amass an impressive database of music, effects, filters and other tweaks that make competitors such as Dubsmash and giants like Facebook unable to break their stride. This head start has been great enough for Tik Tok to develop a user base large enough to hold their own even when the other companies catch up. Brand owners should think like Tik Tok and use this time to prepare and develop content that would make it unwise for a competitor to do the same. Particularly appealing to me is that TIk Tok puts the power to edit a video from start to finish in the hands of everyone. Need music? Tik Tok has the tunes, including the popular billboard chart toppers. Need editing software ? Do this inside the app. Need ideas? Simply copy someone else’s video or do one of the infinite challenges in your own way. These three barriers removed you can join with your two hands swinging and build an audience for your brand.

In app editing on Tik Tok

Spruce up the look and feel of your existing platforms.

Sometimes the best upgrades may be on the existing social media we use all the time. Maybe Facebook’s Insta stories may be a good way to connect and interact. What if we take this time to update our Insta story highlights? This one is definitely on the top of my list as my highlights are still recaps of last year Jamaica! On twitter we may have been posting regular tweets all the time but when last did we post a video, a couple pictures or a poll for our followers.

Beyond these, there may be social media we’ve always known about and never paid attention to such as Pinterest. Exploring Pinterest will feed our mind with many ideas for almost anything under the sun which we can save for use now or later.

Thinking even deeper, each brand has his or her own industry specific social media. For creatives especially there are many different portfolio websites. For photographers now may be a great time to contribute your existing content to stock photo websites and earn extra while building your brand.

3. Collaborate with another complementary brand or individual

One thing we are all sure about during this time of uncertainty is that we are all in this together. No brand started April 2020 with “business as usual” so collaboration is not just key – collaboration is THE key to carry us through. Examples of effective collaborations are all around us so figure out what is right for your brand. Think internally and externally, here are some examples:

Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health and the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society.

This collaboration may seem natural but it has positioned the Red Cross Society top of mind, mentioned in a national press conference and in the corresponding press from this. Furthermore, the Red Cross was able to position its brand at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic we face. Collaborations like this may be voluntary now but it is sure to pay off when the story of how we survived Corona Virus is told.

Salty and Travis World

Travis World is an International DJ and super producer. Growing up around the entertainment industry Travis’ brings a fresh youthful savvy and drive to his projects. Travis has been consistently putting out mixes on SoundCloud for many years so it is natural for him now to go live and and share his talents freely. Salty is the OG of Zess. An enigma. A man able to roll lyrics and sounds off the top of his head in a way no one else can. Salty’s raw talent and his laid back style complements Travis’ drive and diligence which is why together they have attracted a lot of attention to their platforms.

There are many other collaborations but the common thread is – choose another individual or brand which will complement your skills and reach.

4. Connect Directly with customers

During this time, subconsciously the habits of all are gradually changing. Consumers are becoming more conservative with their spending but have increased their time paying attention to social media. Tech Crunch reported that WhatsApp has seen a 40% increase in usage. Increased conversations means we can engage our customers directly, not to sell to them but just to check in. Use the lull in regular transactions to our advantage to have real conversations and learn about our customers. The benefits of this include increased trust and increased comfort for these customers. Beyond this, we will understand the changes in our target audience which will allow our business to be nimble and adjust to the permanent changes our markets are currently undergoing.

5. Be an example of responsible behaviour

Corporate social responsibility is for all size businesses. It is our duty to use our influence as a force of positive change. We already know the messages of social distancing, flatting the curve and correct hygiene which have been shared numerous times. However we must also live this. Be open and show how your brand has adjusted to serve remotely and adhere to the Government and WHO’s guidelines.

Soca Artiste such as Viking Ding Dong backed by OJO World have taken a stand to convey such a message via their music. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Ding Dong said “We [him and co writer Mical Teja] just went and tried to keep people’s spirits up with nice little comedy and informative lyrics.”

Air Committee and YUMA produced two well thought out messages from their team to the world.

EEEmpire populated their insta stories everyday for two weeks sharing how each committee member handled social distancing in their own way.

6. Reminisce

Lets remind all why you are the greatest at what you do! Now is a good time to highlight our process and our products using existing material that we have accumulated over the years. If we do not have any, we can engage customers for brief testimonials of their experience and share these. Another option is for the people behind the brands to say why they started their brand in the first place and what keeps them going today.

The more we can personify our brands and make these feel human, like a friend, the quicker customers will be willing to give us their support even when times get tough.

We should never miss another Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday again – let us seize every opportunity to keep hope alive and bring back memories of the old time days (I really mean 40 days ago).

7. Share your knowledge

Many businesses are disconnected from their clients due to the laws put in place by governments around the world. These clients in many cases will adopt do it yourself methods. Here is an opportunity for us to be a thought leader in our respective industry. An example of this is the beauty and hair industry. No one will be able to make it to their barbershop, nail technician or hair dresser for the foreseeable future. Every beauty expert should start sharing self care tips now! There is a large trust factor between these experts and their clients. All clients will like to hear from their own hair, nails or skin specialist what they can do between now and their next appointment to groom themselves. While most may be unable to monetize these efforts, sharing knowledge freely to the world will always lead to new clients and increased respect for your brand.

Just like the T&T Spirit connects Trinidad and Tobago, connecting our brands to the public is what will keep T&T’s Spirit alive during this global pandemic.

All non essential business places are closed. As such it does not matter if you have a big building in the heart of the city or a small office in your home. The power to impact you make on others with your professional and personal brands is in your hands.

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