Our world is changing so rapidly in a climate where you’re not sure what tomorrow brings, much less next month, next year. The way we work, school, shop, eat and live in our homes has changed so dramatically in the past six months that many of these changes will impact our lives much longer than we think. COVID-19 has taught us many lessons, some good and some bad, but it has forced many of us to pause, slow down and realize we do not need to run at such a pace to be ‘successful’. We realized being at homes with our families, wearing comfortable clothes while we reconnected is just what we needed. And that our work/life balance definitely needed more ‘life’ than we had previously thought.
While many are feeling the strains of the new economy, especially those in the hospitality and travel industries, this is the time to be willing to pivot into new industries, offering new services, learn new skills, and sometimes even changing careers. The 21/90 rule states that it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change. Thus, in seven months’ time, we are far into keeping many of these pandemic changes as long-term lifestyle improvements.
INDUSTRIES THRIVING IN MIDST OF COVID
The ripples in our market when it comes to any business that requires in-person and high-contact service or the bringing together crowds in an indoor or outdoor space may have to rethink their one-year, three-year or even five-year plan, according to some experts. Yet the pandemic and consumers’ changing needs has boosted various industries that offer increased services without leaving our homes including grocery delivery, online shopping, restaurant delivery services, home fitness equipment and in-home spa treatments.
Industries that are currently thriving during COVID are:
- Ecommerce Retail: “Experts predict that e-commerce accounted for roughly 15% of retail’s sales, a number that can easily trend towards 25% by the summer.” – ResearchFDI
- Healthcare Services: With such a demand on healthcare, nurses and respiratory therapists are in short supply and healthcare IT services are one of the highest growing sectors of the US Economy. “Covid-19 has pushed the inevitable telemedicine revolution forward by a decade, if not more, according to health care leaders.” – StatNews. Not to mention the huge growth in medical textiles and disinfectants manufacturers, while many are still trying to keep up with the demand. DME (durable medical equipment) has also seen a surge during COVID that is expected to continue for the next decade.
- Home Improvement Services: With more time at home to be aware of changes that need to be made, more time to address home improvement projects and a need to make your home more comfortable for working and learning, “57 percent of homeowners did a home improvement project from March to May”. Many of these home improvements were more for aesthetics than functionality (such as landscaping, kitchen remodels, flooring and painting). Another motivation is safety in avoiding crowds so bringing activities once accomplished outside the house, now on your property. “Home fitness equipment have seen a growth of 170%” (Businesswire) and Pool Companies have seen an average of 75% increase in calls over last Summer (CBS).
- Online Activities including Streaming, Gaming, and Meetings are our biggest winners overall. “Zoom has seen an increase of 2900%, Slack 80%, Social Media 26% increase of activity, Netflix 22%, Peloton 66%, Nintendo 41%, Activision Blizzard 200%”. And because of all of these online activities, overall Internet usage has increased 47% and Gigabyte subscribers have increased 97%.” (PC Magazine)
- Distance Learning: From Kindergarten to college to required continuing education, keeping students out of the classroom is a priority right now. “Even before COVID-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology, with global edtech investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach $350 Billion by 2025. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19.” – Weforum.org
This is the time not only to readjust the way your business services it’s clients now, but how it will continue to serve them in a post-Covid world, as whenever that is, it will look very different from the pre-Covid one. Some of the industries forecast to grow post-COVID are home delivery, online groceries, distribution centers, freezer and cooler suppliers, robotics, augmented reality, and dark kitchens (virtual restaurants without tables).
“Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeframes for embracing new emerging technologies are being radically accelerated. In some instances, companies and sectors will see a decade of market penetration compressed into the next 12 months.” – Colliers.com
MARKETING DURING COVID
Marketing during COVID-19 has also seen needed adjustments according to our new normal. Times to post on social media has been adjusted according to many family’s needs to juggle remote work, assisting their children’s distance learning workload, cooking at home, home and family needs in the evenings so best times are late morning to early afternoon, especially on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
Engagement saw a boost especially on Instagram and Tik-Tok, as people are looking for connection, distraction and camaraderie with the sentiment, ‘we’re all in this together’.
“Incoming engagements increased on average by 44 engagements per day across all networks and industries. On a per-post level, they also increased by about 7.3 engagements per post per day.” – SproutSocial
Creating content during the pandemic is walking a fine line that should be less about promoting a product or serve and more about showing empathy without being a ‘Debbie Downer’. Your target audience realize that we are in midst of a pandemic, that life has been greatly altered and reminded of this everytime they turn on the news, go to a store or public place where masks are required or when their commute to work has dramatically decreased from miles to feet. While marketing early on initially took a turn of empathy and praising frontline heros, we just don’t want to keep reminding people on an hourly basis of all that has been lost. Covid-fatigue is real and has resulted in many, including many young adults, to make risky decisions with their health, so anything we can do to distract, inspire and encourage safe behaviors is preferable when writing content.
Instead of focusing on the drab of what has been last, focus on the fab of what we have learned. As I have always said, content should be inspiring, educational, motivational and provide answers to questions keeping your target audience up at night. So whether posting on social media, blogging, email marketing or adding/revising website content, be consistent with your branding that shows how your brand can help them pivot to not only a new, but a better and more wholistic normal. If you need help coming up with topics, techniques and writing abilities, Startup Production can help manage or train or consult with you and your staff on how to product content that not only builds traffic and brand awareness but converts that traffic into leads … and customers. Contact me for a thirty-minute consultation.
As we head into the Fall and Winter months, and as numbers of cases and unfortunately deaths increase, and news of an effective vaccine is met with skepticism, this is a time to strengthen our endurance and patience, encourage others, explore change and be willing to pivot, and show our creativity and ingenuity as entrepreneurs as we change the way we serve our customers and the way we tell our story.
“Real change. Enduring change. Happens one step at a time.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Good branding is also about being a good citizen and showing concern for others. Ultimately it’s the time to not only protect ourselves but others as we follow proven guidelines: wear your mask, avoid large crowds, wash your hands and socially distance. We wish all good health, physically and mentally as we finish out 2020 and bear up for what 2021 holds.