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March 20, 2020

Time to Innovate

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Time to Innovate

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We may be here a while.

So, we’re settling in. We’re settling in by standing behind businesses and their leaders of all sizes and stripes.

Global ones, big ones, locally owned ones, just got started ones. We’ll be leaving Google reviews, buying gift cards, ordering their food delivery and staying engaged with our favorites.

We’ll also settle into what we enjoy doing the most: helping brands find and tell their stories. And the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention,” is ringing especially true right now.

In the history of marketing, we’d argue that it’s never been more important for companies to tell good stories. Because their customers, our neighbors, our community, and, if we’re honest, us, we’re all a little freaked out.

Community is becoming paradoxical because it’s now meaningful and beneficial to the well-being of those around us to isolate ourselves. 

But as we do that, we’re going to get creative. If we don’t give in to the chaos. 

It’s time to innovate. It’s time to maybe get back to the roots of why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Seth Godin recently wrote in a blog post “… now is the best time to initiate.” We could react and respond, and it’d be understood. But if you’re here, I bet you dream of building great things (and you’re probably well on your way). We have a hunch that you get it — that brands have a responsibility.

A responsibility to help usher us through this uncertainty, to guide us through the darkness.

Not because companies have all the answers; they don’t. But they have a reach and power and influence that can help us navigate these choppy waters. 

There’s information coming in from everywhere, 24 hours a day, on multiple devices, pontificating from all ends of the spectrum. 

The truth is still unfolding, but we have a responsibility as business owners and brand builders to let the experts tell this story.

Which brings us back to that big “Why?” that everyone in the entrepreneurship world is always talking about — that’s the story you get to tell.

Let’s dig in and make some long-term plays in a short-term, chaotic climate that will make a difference for you and your community.

How?

It begins with asking the right questions.

Here’s a few to get started: 

  • What is it that you really sell? You’re worried about sales during this downturn. So are we. So is every other business owner. But instead of worrying about driving sales, do you know what it is you really sell? Spend some time there first. Because if you are trying to simply push products during this period, well, you’re not in touch. You think you sell a product or a service. Well, technically, that’s probably true. But start thinking much deeper than that. It’s rarely something you can see, taste, smell, or hold. You’re selling a solution to a problem, a path to trust, an unforgettable experience, a positive feeling in an avalanche of fear, a connection in a disconnected and isolated community, or perhaps an aspiration when your reality says far-fetched. 
  • What problem are you uniquely positioned to solve? Maybe it’s time to build that app, finetune the website, work through the brand story, or expand your offerings. But don’t start there. Start with wondering what challenges your company’s service has the ability to solve. Start with being curious about how you can inject some hope into a very fragile situation. Sit with the pain and fear you, your neighbors, and your customers are experiencing and then begin brainstorming how your company can come alongside them to solve even a small pain in their lives. 
  • What does this traumatic time allow us to do? Most times, we don’t change until we’re forced to do so. Well, that time is now. It’s time to reinvent, reimagine, reassess, and remember what it is that people are really craving. Connection, community, love, support, friendship. Maybe this craziness allows our companies to step back from profits, returns, forecasts, annual reviews, and other business-y things that sometimes strip the humanity from our efforts. Let’s find ways to be authentically human to each other. 

As you work through these questions and thoughts, you’re most likely doing it from home, and there’s a good chance kids are asking for snacks, making messes, and pummelling you with questions. It’s all part of your story now, too. We’re in the business of storytelling — and right now, we want to weave a narrative of hope and authenticity. 

A story of connection in a time of isolation.

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