Creative Solutions for Unprecedented Times

These are unprecedented times, both in our personal lives and in terms of our businesses. We are all concerned and worried about our own health and that of our loved ones, and we are nervous about the future of our businesses. It is quite natural to be anxious, but we must not become immobilized and debilitated by all that is going on – It is time to be creative, and there also may be a need to reinvent what we’re currently doing.

For the good of the nation and our fellow citizens, and for our businesses to survive and thrive during this COVID-19 pandemic, we must come up with solutions that address the new circumstances, especially because we do not know how long they will last or their impact when all is said and done.

Let’s look at a few examples of what businesses have done already that might inspire you to make some changes to your business and how you market your offerings:

  • Re-tool: Car manufacturers like GM, Ford, and Tesla are re-tooling production lines, or are ready to do so, to make ventilators, and Hanes is converting their facilities to make face masks instead of clothing. Distilleries across the country are already producing hand sanitizing gel and bottling it instead of beer or liquor. What can you do with the equipment, skills of your staff, and other resources you have to serve the new and urgent needs of our nation?
  • Deliver: With more people staying at and working from home, either by choice or because of government requirements, many businesses are offering to take orders online or by phone, and have stepped up their delivery operations. Can your business do the same?
  • Remind customers of something helpful you offer: One of our clients who is a SaaS (Software as a Service) provider sent an email to remind their clients that their software includes private portals and available mobile apps which allow employees to enter information anywhere without having to share the same terminal or office. Furthermore, they encouraged their clients to call them to find out how to turn these options on and be taught how to use them. What could you offer?
  • Extend offers beyond face-to-face interactions: One of our clients was exhibiting in a home show last weekend and offered a substantial discount to show attendees. When they were notified that attendance would be considerably lower due to the pandemic fears, they sent out an email informing everyone that the show special would be available by phone or via email too.
  • Offer discounted gift cards now for later use: If you are concerned about cash flow now due to slower foot traffic, send a message to your customers and let them know they can purchase a discounted gift card now for later use. For example, if you own a restaurant, offer customers to buy a $50 gift card online now for only $45 so you have that liquidity to use now.
  • Utilize video conferencing tools: If your business is of a consultative nature and regularly conducted face-to-face, switch to video conferencing for now, and let your customers know they can continue to benefit from what you have to offer. There are countless video conferencing options to choose from, and many are free. Ubiquitous broadband access on practically any device makes this a very feasible option.
  • Offer to reschedule: If customers are cancelling purchases or considering doing so (events, trips, visits, etc.), offer to reschedule instead. You may want to consider sweetening the deal if they reschedule with a free (or discounted) upgrade, if applicable.
  • Introduce your offering to home-bound and office-bound people: If your product or service is suitable for when people prefer to stay at home or not leave their office as much as they used to, introduce yourself and let them know how to get a hold of you. This applies to many different categories, including pick-up delivery services, online services, and more.

We are all in this together. We all have to make changes, adjust to the new reality, and communicate these changes effectively to our customers. Right now, is the time to elevate your marketing game – Not just because you need to find a way to produce revenue, but mostly because customers need you!

If you need help coming up with ideas, or have questions about putting a message together, we’re here for you.

Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer

Is the Handshake History? The History of the Handshake

By Polly Stroup, Editor and Copywriter

Since the beginning of civilization, the handshake has been a tradition of meet and greets across the world. Heck, we even teach our dog friends how to master this cordial greeting! Now, the coronavirus is making us take a second look at this practice, keeping a respectful distance is now becoming the polite thing to do.

We all know that the only constant thing is change. Humans are highly adaptable and we’re used to change. So, what replaces the handshake – perhaps a friendly wave, a head nod with a smile, or the humble and respectful namaste? There are many alternatives! As we navigate these ever-changing times, let’s take a look at how the tradition of handshaking began.

In Babylonia, a handshake signified the conferring of power from a god to an earthly ruler. It was required that the king grasp the hands of a statue of Marduk, the civilization’s chief deity.

The act, which took place during the New Year’s festival, served to transfer authority to the ruler for the upcoming year. So persuasive was the ceremony that when the Assyrians defeated Babylonia, the following Assyrian kings also adopted the ritual, to avoid offending a major heavenly being.

Nowadays, using alternatives to the handshake is both understandable and responsible. Ironically, it’s said in ancient Rome the “handshake” was considered a survival tactic. When greeting, a man would grab the forearm of another man to ensure they were not concealing a weapon up his sleeve. This practice continued in medieval Europe and added a clever twist. When it came to sword fighting, the up and down motion of the hand “shake” was added to dislodge any potential weapons hidden up an adversary’s shirt sleeves.

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