How are different roles navigating their ‘new normal’?
Our COVID-19 Perspectives webinar series set out to discover how employees at Atlassian, Spark Foundry, The Lab17 and Vamp are surviving – and thriving through lockdown. These weekly conversations revealed how business leaders, marketers, influencers and employee experience managers are achieving their goals amid a global pandemic. What has been their biggest challenge and what advice can they give the rest of us?
After a month of eye-opening conversations, here are eight key takeaways.
1. Brands should be using social media to show their human side.
The question Caitlin O’Malley, Associate Director of Social Content at Spark Foundry, was being asked by her clients the most was ‘Do we need to pause our social media or change our social media strategy?’ Her answer: “Each case is different, but overall my response would be that it’s not a time to shy away, we are in a unique time where we are all in this together. The brands that acknowledge this, provide value to consumers, show a human side and are not trying to go for the hard sell, will be the ones that prosper.”
2. Right now is a cost effective time to advertise.
Gemma Shuttleworth, Director of Client Partnerships at Vamp revealed that an uptick in our social use had impacted CPM rates. “With 70% of people using their smartphones more, CPM rates on Facebook are down 59% which is allowing brands to deliver 60% more reach for their budget, which is pretty amazing.”
3. Influencers are finding innovative ways to create content.
Vamp creator Cheryl Law @lawstore, revealed she struggled to create content at home at first, but after some inspiration and perseverance, she loved the results. “I got fed up one day, took a big white sheet and went into my back yard and set up there. I took out my picnic basket and started playing around with shots there and I ended up loving them. That was a nice surprise for me. Something out of necessity turned into a whole new style.” You can check out the results here.
4. Influencer collaboration opt ins and engagement is up.
Alice Dirks, Project Lead at Vamp explained some of the recent changes in influencer behaviour. “In a recent poll, over half of our influencers said they had been applying for more work than usual and there has been an increase in engagement too. I think that’s really positive because it shows the value of the collaborations we’ve been putting out haven’t been diminished.”
5. We shouldn’t be using the F-word so much (not that one!).
Dominic Price, Work Futurist at Atlassian emphasised the importance of role modelling positive behaviours in the work place. “It’s very easy in these times to use words like ‘focus’ and ‘you should focus on the most important things’. You can say that as a leader and really piss off everyone that’s listening! They know they should be focused, it’s not news. Instead, we went around the team and said ‘what’s the one thing that you’re stopping?’ because we haven’t got the cognitive load to do all of the things.”
6. When it comes to employee experience, its a pivotal time for mental health.
Bianca Villareal, Employee Experience Manager at Vamp explained the importance of setting up a digital mental health platform for the team. “I think one positive that has come from all of this is that the subject of mental health has been talked about more. It should be anyway, but I think this has really just bought it into focus. We’ve been working on initiatives that aim to keep people healthy and happy through isolation.”
7. Leading a startup is never peaceful.
Startup life has been good practise for the current ‘wartime’ leadership according to Vamp’s CEO, Gill Findlay. “The difference between being a ‘wartime’ or a ‘peacetime’ CEO is back in the spotlight. The idea that as a leader when things are going well, you’re focusing on expansion and reinforcing the company’s strengths. But in times of ‘war’ when the company is threatened, a new set of skills and actions are needed. I think actually, being the CEO, or any leader in a startup is like being a war time CEO – all of the time!”
8. This crisis has reminded business leaders of what is important.
Nick Ingall, Co-Founder of The Lab 17 told us that the pandemic had made him grateful for something.“We’re going back to basics. Fundamental business principles are quite simple. Solve a validated problem, help your customer see value in your solution, if that is the case they’ll have no issue paying for it. We have a tendency to over complicate things sometimes. This pandemic is highlighting those integral things that really matter as a leader. It is really hard to fake leadership when you’re under pressure.”