Over the past two months, we have drastically shifted our consumer habits and have seen much disruption among the workforce. COVID-19 has cast a change in how we conduct business or interact as a society. Some businesses have succumbed to this change, while others are holding off and planning their comeback strategy. No matter where you stand on that scale, you can learn how to shift in these trying times and begin operations in the new normal.
Like most businesses, Southern California News Group is not immune to the effects of the pandemic. With a continued mission of providing excellence in journalism as well as platforms for our advertisers, we are shifting, maneuvering, and serving our clients through these dynamic times. And as we do, we are learning through setbacks, challenges, and successes that are important to share and aid fellow businesses looking for answers or direction.
- Pivot Your Strategies to Adapt Swiftly to External Changes
If you haven’t already started, now is the time to pivot strategies and adapt to our changing climate. This may look different for each industry and size of the business, but there is an opportunity to redirect your efforts and learn from the current limitations you face.
Take a historical perspective and consider major disruptions or innovations that altered society, like the rise of the internet or the recession of 2008. You’ll see that whether it’s short term or long term, those that are successful aren’t always the ones that saw change coming.
Rather, success is achieved by those who learned how to adapt to it.
Disruption creates opportunity. Each role in your company will need to adapt to address the new opportunities you all have to fulfill your mission.
At SCNG, we are already seeing examples of what that might look like. Advertising has created new teams to focus on revenue opportunities, circulation is leveraging our robust digital audience into new subscribers, and editorial has pivoted on a dime to create new stories and special coverage to meet the demands of readers today.
- Reassure and Re-engage Your Employees to Deliver Results
We cannot emphasize how paramount this step is in ensuring a smooth transition of your business. As you prepare to open or modify your business operations, be aware that your employees are looking up to you for answers, and holding you to a higher standard for their safety.
Your employees are the backbone of your business, and how you take care of them reflects in how they go on to take care of your customers. It’s a top-down initiative.
Efforts like getting your workplace ready with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a steady stream of communication with your employees about the advancements of COVID-19 and what direction the company is taking, are of prime importance. Your employees are your first customers, if you win their hearts and minds, they will be invigorated to support the mission of the company and do their best to ensure you sail through the hard times.
At SCNG, each and every member of the team is acknowledged for their valued contributions to support the mission of providing excellence in journalism — and delivering an essential service to our audiences daily. Our readers continue to rally and support our publications. The value they see — and trust they place — in our coverage is illustrated by more and more readers signing up as paid subscribers. Letters of thanks and appreciation continue to flood our mailboxes.
- Think Beyond Your Business, Allow Customers to Participate
When you introduce an all-hands-on-deck mentality to your team, you open your business to possibilities far beyond just your own. And especially as managers and executives focus on pumping revenue streams, your teams can work on initiatives that may bring goodwill to your brand and business.
Many businesses fall short on holding a balance between revenue and goodwill. As more and more customers are scrutinizing brands for their response to COVID-19 towards their employees or community, we urge you to look at how you can stand out. Looking outside to see what others are doing to show community support can trigger ideas. From social hashtags to monetary donations, you can rally your audience to support the various relief initiatives, all the while standing out in their eyes and gaining trust from them.
And if you don’t have the bandwidth to create that, look to join and support in rallies held by others that align with your core principals. This can lead to additional benefits of additional exposure as well as generating interests from non-customers. After all, it is crucial that people remember your brand fondly at the end of this.
SCNG is directing various initiatives to share appreciation and is inviting fellow businesses to emulate or participate in sharing their appreciation, gratitude, or inspirational stories recognizing the unseen efforts of those on the front lines. In early March, we removed the paywall for all COVID-19 related coverage to make this information accessible to all people. We are sharing appreciation and inspiration on different levels and for the month of May, we are hosting Thank You ad campaigns, inviting advertisers to participate in something bigger than them and us, all at a budget-friendly cost.