There is no shame in accepting the fact that this year came with some huge shock for businesses across the creative, media and advertisement sectors. Right now, several brands still struggle with the right words, messages and adverts to put out there in order to stay afloat, keep the trust, and maintain reputation around their brand. Are you also in this category and you seek to know how creative agencies and freelancers can cushion the shock of covid-19? Please, continue with me.
You see, while revenue is drastically going down for a lot of media agencies, threats are also accumulating as the companies they used to serve are now operating from home and also trying every available means to minimize budgets. Just recently, there has been a gradual increase in the search for “how to make money from home” and many other related searches.
So, what does this mean for agencies and big influential brands in the creative/media space? Perhaps, we can rightly predict that there will be a huge spike of freelancers (with ridiculously varying levels of expertise) in the industry and working remotely to get their own share of the industry revenue. Some of them would also be entrepreneurs who would have learned many digital skills and tools that would make it unnecessary to hire any expert for the job.
Now, this is not to scare anyone, but to show how agencies and freelancers can cushion the shock of covid-19. This is a season of change and change has never killed anyone before. The only thing that kills is the inability to adapt to change.
So, what are the ways creative agencies and freelancers can adapt to these changes?
1) Build solid relationships and trust around your brand.
Customer experience has been a critical subject matter this period. This time, customers are going through a lot. They have fears, concerns and pains. Right now, they are trying to deal with problems they never had plans for. As an agency with customer base, it’s the time for you to get closer, empathize, and possibly communicate important adjustments you have made to your services in order to share in your customers’ burdens.
2) Do everything possible to stay useful and relevant.
Right now, there are novel challenges and concerns for people to deal with. How can you position yourself as a solution-provider at a time like this, while you’re still maintaining your core identity as a brand. This is the time your mission as a business should shine.
Perhaps, some of your products & services are no longer relevant, but then, there should be something you’re existing for, that goes beyond products & services. While keeping that “WHY,” what innovations can you bring into your business in order to stay useful? You may even need to create new products & services.
The importance of this is that after covid-19, only brands that have shown themselves useful and relevant during this period will stand a chance to still earn the people’s trust!
3) Step up your game.
Just like we have shared about what people are now searching for, you should know by now that the competition will be stiff at the ground level of your field. That means if you must stand a chance of playing it big, you need to seriously invest in your standards of delivery and perception in the market. Never be found at the playground of the masses. Your brand will die in obscurity that way.
Another strong reason is that by the time covid-19 will be over, only the high class will still have so much to invest in creative solutions and digital interventions. So, are you a service provider in this area? You must start preparing your brand to fit the taste of that class of people.
4) Be more active on your digital platforms.
This is not the time to hide away in some business ideation or skill development exercise. While it’s good to use this period to work on your product portfolio and service lines, you also need to keep your digital front-offices highly engaging. Why? People now spend more time on their devices. That means they will only notice those brands who use digital platforms frequently. Remember that “out of sight is out of mind.”
5) Work on your business structure.
Don’t just be full of skills or team members with skills. Start developing a proper business structure around what you do. Improve on your processes and customer journey. Step up your game in the area of administration, finance, innovation & style of delivery. You may be a solo-preneur or still at the micro-team level, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a structure.
6) Diversify on your services and product lines
The truth remains that some services or product will experience a fatal decline in relevance. If you’re just a freelancer who does only one thing, you may struggle in cases when the only thing you do is threatened by post-covid-19 realites. Start thinking about several other pain-points around what you currently do. And then, start creating packages around them. This is how proper businesses should operate.
7) Leverage healthy business relationships
Don’t build your business as an island. Have a support system – a network of other related brands with whom you have a good relationship. This can mean a lot for your business. Several opportunities can come through that.
As an agency or freelancer, be quick to sense human behaviours and purchasing habits. No one cares whether you survive now, but you can survive if you really care to help your target audience (and customers) survive. Understand your market and who you’re really competing against. Don’t be a blind player in your own game field. And finally, don’t just get preoccupied with the thoughts of only surviving this period. Also think about remaining standing after the whole pandemic is gone.