Since the government introduced stringent measures to try to contain the recent coronavirus outbreak in mid-March 2020, businesses across the world have had to adapt to an economy with distinctively different needs.
UK businesses have been some of the first in the Western world to adapt their products, pivot their services and contribute to the national and global response to the pandemic. Here, we take a look at some of the ingenious ways UK-based organisations have changed their operations to protect their brands, support their customers and do their bit for our communities.
Alpha Grass is an Essex-based artificial grass supplier that also works with a trusted network of product installers throughout the South East of England.
A huge part of Alpha Grass’ business is visiting its prospective customers’ homes and carrying out onsite assessment. From there, the company’s consultants can generate tailored quotes. However, now that social distancing measures are preventing the team from being out in the field, the company has had to change the way it’s operating in order to protect its share of the market and meet its customers’ needs.
Alpha Grass has accepted that, for a few weeks at least, it won’t be able to work with its customers directly. However, it is very aware that prospects are still researching their options online using relevant search keywords, so the last thing it wants to do is neglect its marketing strategy right now. They need to remain front of mind, and to do this, they need to encourage as much interaction with their brand as possible.
The company has decided to focus on building its pipeline for the summer season and beyond by giving users the chance to get a remote quote instead of a face-to-face appointment. Samples are being sent out in the post to avoid social contact, along with branded tape measures and measurement instructions to ensure customers can collect the information Alpha Grass will need to deliver a bespoke price for their project. Then, when social distancing measures have been lifted and it’s safe to work again, Alpha Grass will have a full pipeline of customers waiting to order their products and book in their installations.
So far, Alpha Grass’ new approach is proving to be a solid way of maintaining interest in its products and services – without going against current government guidelines.
Bristol’s Psychopomp microdistillery is usually renowned for its craft gins, absinthes, coffee digestifs and bottled mixed drinks. In recent weeks, however, the business has switched to producing alcohol-based hand sanitiser to help more vulnerable people stay safe and germ-free during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Admirably, at the time of writing, Psychopomp is not charging for its hand sanitisation products, choosing instead to gift any customer donations to worthwhile charities like Bristol’s Children’s Hospital. The company’s managers have already applied for licenses to make and purchase denatured alcohol, which is typically used to produce suitable hand sanitisation products, and plan to sell them to hospitals and other essential businesses at cost price to ensure they are widely accessible.
Picture courtesy of Circumstance Distillery, sister site of Psychopomp
Dyson is a brand already known for its ingenuity – but it’s now become a tour de force in the fight against the coronavirus thanks to its decision to pivot its manufacturing processes for the good of the nation.
Best known for designing and supplying vacuum cleaners, the company has recently partnered with The Technology Partnership (TTP) to create a brand new ventilator, named the CoVent, which can be both bed-mounted and powered as a mobile unit. The CoVent has been created using a modified version of Dyson’s existing air purification technology, meaning it can be manufactured relatively quickly and easily and units can be deployed in high volume to the NHS.
It’s worth mentioning that one of Dyson’s biggest rivals, Gtech, has also developed a ventilator that can be assembled using readily available parts. To speed up production, it has made its designs freely available to the manufacturing community.
Picture courtesy of Dyson
Joe Wicks – aka The Body Coach – already had a massive online following before COVID-19 led to unprecedented school closures, leaving many working families with the huge task of looking after and entertaining their brood around the clock.
Recognising the need for UK kids to still remain active during their temporary hiatus from education, Joe decided to start running free PE classes via his YouTube channel to help children (and their parents!) keep fit while self-isolating.
These 30-minute tutorials, which take place every weekday morning at 9am, have been a massive hit with families up and down the country – and they have undoubtedly cemented Joe’s reputation as one of the most approachable and forward-thinking fitness gurus of his time.
What’s more, Joe has been donating all monies raised from his PE videos to the NHS to help medical staff get the financial support they need to continue treating patients who are suffering with the deadly virus. He has so far raised tens of thousands of pounds for the cause.
Picture courtesy of Circumstance The Body Coach TV
Pop Connect is a successful networking group that operates dozens of large-scale, face-to-face networking meetings at various venues in Essex, Hertfordshire and London.
When more stringent social distancing measures were announced in mid-March, the last thing Pop wanted to do was shut down its operations altogether. This would have spelled disaster for its cashflow. Plus, many business owners rely on connections made from these meetings to keep their own organisations afloat, so removing the route to market for these companies almost overnight would have led to significant damage to the Pop brand.
Instead of closing its doors, Pop has gone fully online for the foreseeable future. It’s running all meetings via Zoom, which means members and visitors can continue to connect from the comfort of their own homes until the world returns to near-normal. All attendees are asked to mute their audio during the meeting until they’re asked to deliver their own 70 second pitch, which means everybody present gets a fair opportunity to speak – and dozens of members have already commented on how well the format is working for them.
In response to the disruption caused by COVID-19, Pop has also temporarily reduced its fees and increased the number of meetings its members can visit in any given month. By adapting quickly and decisively in such a short amount of time, Pop has still been able to deliver excellent value to its stakeholders without taking a back-breaking hit in terms of member subscriptions and visitor charges.
Screenshot taken from landing page on popconnect.net
Adapting to the unique challenges that are being presented to us – sensitively, and in line with government advice, of course – is crucial for the survival of many UK businesses, from corporates to independents and everything in between. Take inspiration from these resilient businesses and think about ways you too can change your offering to better meet the needs of your customers during these uncertain times.
At Multi Layer Media, we’re offering FREE advice to companies who need to pivot their offering in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Contact us now on 01245 934167, or visit our Facebook group, Surviving COVID-19: Free Marketing Advice to follow the conversation and get daily insights from our team.