So just like that, the world has changed. The new coronavirus, COVID-19, caught us all off-guard didn’t it? In all our wonderful analogies of 20/20 vision and the year 2020 being one for sharpening our individual and enterprise visions, never would we have imagined we would be so singularly focused on a global pandemic. And in our part of the world, this is while also having to prepare for another hurricane season shortly.
Many brands and businesses all over the planet including Barbados, of course, are in a lurch right now. In the latest episode of the Backstage with Bajan Brands podcast five (5) previous interviewees shared what the pandemic has meant for their businesses.
Below are excerpts of their responses or a summary of what they shared.
Multimedia Consultant and Owner of Mayers Media Inc., Rachelle Mayers
“Obviously, for video production, and the type of work we do, we travel quite a bit and we do a lot of event coverage. And since COVID-19 started, all of those types of activities have basically been at a halt.
But what it did do is push me in a direction of marketing myself more, my company more to stay relevant. And I would say indirect marketing because I always wanted to create a show. And I love to talk to people and have them share their stories. And so I started show called Zoomed In. And it wasn't perfect; I didn't set up a whole heap of cameras and special audio or anything like that. I just used the Zoom app and I just stepped out of the perfectionist zone that I am usually in which usually also keeps me from moving forward with ideas. And I just created.
If COVID-19 taught me anything, it taught me that you know, you just need to do it. You just need to start. Indirectly that is how I've kept my brand visible virtually until I'm able to meet up again with potential clients."
Co-owner of Street Food brand Cobz Street Corn, Rachael Kennedy
Cobz had implemented a WhatsApp ordering and curbside pickup system for their customers back in March before the first curfew and closure of most businesses in Barbados. But Rachael told me that they quickly made a decision to close operations for a while.
Some of their family members are active in the business but are also part of the vulnerable population and more at risk of complications if they were to contract COVID-19. So Rachael and co-owner and partner Halley prioritised the health of their family and they are waiting it out.
Owner of Astrape Finance, Melinda Belle
Melinda says she's taking the time to reset, research, explore new markets, adapt, and discover new ways of doing business. And with many workers being laid off suddenly and others being put on short-time, Melinda has been busy continuing to offer financial advice through her online channels and via consultations.
Founder of Dawn By Nature Organic Skincare Brand, Dawn-Dew Thompson
Thompson launched the dawnbynature.com website during the quarantine period. The expanded range of products can now be found on the website along with prices. The e-commerce features are currently being tested to ensure that purchases can be made on the site.
Owner of Naturinda’s Foods (health-focused teas and beverages), Nichole Murray
“We've kind of scaled back on the variety that we've been producing, and also instituting the physical distancing measures. And one of the things that I've done is that I've decided that what product I have already made, that's it when that’s sold out. That's it for now so that I could reduce my self-interaction with the public as I focus on the farming aspect of Naturinda’s.
You respond to what's changing, and what's changing is that we will very soon have a challenge with the importation of vegetables and fruit. And so we're focusing on hatching seedlings so that we can put them down on the farm - some short crops, some medium crops, some long term crops."
Those responses reflect a few significant areas that many Bajan businesses have been wrestling with during the crisis - the adoption of e-commerce, being nimble with content creation for marketing channels, and re-strategizing and re-prioritizing at the product level.
Listen to the full episode of the podcast click here. I also share a few areas that I think brand and product marketers should have their eyes on during this period.