COVID-19 has proven that Canada’s companies are resilient, innovative, and smart. Whether its shifting production and operation models, or marketing and communications strategies – companies across the country are demonstrating that pivots can be made quickly, effectively, and elegantly.
The term pivot can be viewed in much the same way the word is used in basketball – a strategic movement in which the player holding the ball may move in one direction with one foot while the other (the pivot foot) is firmly planted on the court.
A pivot done extremely well can be a thing of beauty. It can demonstrate prowess, care, smarts, and has the potential to greatly improve a company’s bottom line, its reputation, and its reach.
Here’s an overview of some of my personal favourite pivots I’ve seen over the past few weeks:
Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers
One of the first distillers to shift its operations to produce hand sanitizer to donate to front-line workers during the pandemic. This Niagara-based company is pumping out the product day-after-day. And not only is it doing good for its community, but its efforts are also tugging at the heartstrings of customers and reaching new ones alike showing us all that no matter how big or small you are – all companies have the ability to make a big positive impact while boosting brand reputation and helping to drive more product sales at the same time.
Knix, a Toronto-based women’s intimates’ company, was only two weeks away from launching its second annual in-person warehouse sale when COVID-19 hit. The company needed to adapt quickly. It swiftly modified its Canadian and U.S. websites with a pared-down look suggesting big discounts, moved inventory from its office into a fulfillment centre, and got set up to launch a virtual warehouse sale. The sale which was promoted via PR, email, and social channels was ultimately a success – not only did it help boost profits, it also overcame some of the challenges experienced the year prior such as long wait times to get in, and crowded change rooms. In addition to pivoting its approach to product distribution, the company like many others is working hard to source much-needed PPE for frontline workers.
Kendal Hills Farm
Kendal Hills Farm, like many other small businesses in Canada, experienced a tough hit when farmer’s markets and restaurants were forced to close in Ontario. Within 48 hours, they had lost 95 per cent of the farm’s business. Pivoting swiftly, Kendal Hill opened its own virtual farmers market, collaborating with other local farms to deliver local goods and produce directly to people’s doorsteps. Not only is the company sustaining its seasonal revenue, its supporting other small businesses, maintain the culture of farmers markets that we all know and love, and bringing healthy food options to the communities that it operates in.
These companies, like others in our communities, are showing us that it’s possible to support your bottom line, but also be a socially-minded, responsible brand that gives back. They are also proving that many of Canada’s companies are rooted in a spirit that makes this country so great – community, innovation, creativity, diversity, and so much more. Kudos to these awesome brands!
So, let’s all take a cue from these companies, and find ways in our own work and in our personal lives to create beautiful pivots during tough times.