As Winston Churchill once said, “an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
COVID-19 is making people think differently and businesses adapt. Social distancing means no face-to-face customer interactions. But for survival, retaining (and possibly growing) your customer base is critical. So how can you deliver an engaging customer experience and grow your community in a purely digital world? Here are some of our favorites so far…
Virtual Tours & Experiences
From virtual rides at Disneyland to live streams of animal enclosures at zoos and aquariums, you can pretty much visit any tourist attraction from the comfort of your couch.
Our vote this week goes to Brokenwood Wines for their weekly virtual wine tasting - a great example of engaging their audience, keeping people entertained, and growing their loyalty club membership at the same time. Customers who buy their Bunker Down Tasting Pack get free shipping (increases revenue), and can participate from the comfort of home while Brokenwood’s Senior Winemakers provide an education on their wines (boosts customer engagement). Customers who post a photo on social media using the hashtag #brokenwoodbunker receive $20 off their next order (drives repeat business and encourages user-generated content). Kudos to Brokenwood for sticking to their core product and expertise, and using a creative new approach to drive business in a challenging environment.
The arts and culture industry has embraced the digital revolution in full force with a variety of live and archived performances. Our votes go to National Theatre At Home and the Sydney Opera House digital program for bringing live music and theatre to our living rooms.
Previously, that archived footage may not have been used. Now, it’s being repurposed and getting maximum exposure. They’re also challenging the assumption that theatre is expensive and only for the wealthy. By introducing a digital platform, they’re making theatre, music and cultural education accessible to everyone. They may in fact find this increases their community more than ever before.
It’s not an easy task to market a tourist destination when all global and domestic travel has been suspended. But tourism will recover and there are some great campaigns clearly planning for the future.
We particularly like Visit Portugal, who have produced an inspiring video with a heartfelt message… ‘time to make a pause so we can play again’. Featuring spectacular scenery and messages of hope, this video reassures and encourages travellers to dream again. By continuing to tactfully market their destination, they’ll remain top of mind for keen travellers as soon as tourism resumes.
The essence of an event is to communicate an important message. Now, more than ever, this activity is critical. CEOs and business leaders must keep their staff, stakeholders and customers informed every step of the way.
Rather than produce another home video with their kids and pets in the background, corporate leaders can use ControlRoom by AV1. The product offers a highly controlled, cost-effective presentation studio allowing businesses to professionally broadcast their messages. AV1 is actively creating solutions to meet the challenges of their clients.
Restaurants & Venues
Dining out seems like a long forgotten memory. It’s a social ritual being missed by many.
Among many restaurants adapting their offerings, the Merivale hospitality group has come to the rescue for Sydney-siders with Merivale at home - bringing their restaurants to your home with ‘almost-ready’ meals created by their chefs and inspired by their venues. They’re using their existing assets (kitchens and chefs), to bring their community into their inner sanctum by supplying them with the ingredients and recipes to prepare their signature dishes at home. Pre-prepared special “menus for two” give couples the opportunity to rekindle romance, while other tailor made family menus take pressure off parents while still providing a special dining experience at home. Talk about customer engagement. And no doubt it’s creating plenty of user-generated content on their social media pages too.
For all the sport fans out there, Friday nights just aren’t the same. Wimbledon has been cancelled and the Tokyo Olympic Games postponed to 2021.
Motorsports gets our vote for best sporting adaptation to COVID-19. Legends of the sport are taking on the best online racers in virtual racing challenges. Viewers get their fix, enjoying competitive banter and trackside viewing all from the comfort of their couch. It’s providing a personal insight into the celebrity athletes and driving engagement by giving amateurs the opportunity to take on the world’s best… and perhaps even win.
These are just some examples of how when nothing is certain, anything is possible.
We’ve all been reminded recently how Isaac Newton developed calculus and the theory of gravity during the Bubonic Plague. Don’t be scared thinking you must invent something extravagant. Just take this opportunity to be creative. Focus on your community and loyal customers. Do something a little bit different. Keep engaging your audience. And who knows, you might just have a winning idea.