2020 has been filled with all kinds of new buzz words and phrases– flattening the curve, social distancing, lockdown – and perhaps the latest, in a marketing sense at least, is ‘pivot.’

By definition, to pivot is to turn or rotate. In the literal sense, Covid-19 has caused a lot of us to get into a real spin and raised the need for businesses to assess how to stay afloat in such uncertain circumstances when things do seem to be spinning out of control.

It goes without saying that the businesses who are seeing the biggest successes are those who have not only been able to keep up with the spin, but to roll with it and take off in new and innovative directions  – to pivot off to something new, a new version of themselves.

Whilst it may be tempting to retreat or hibernate until the worst of the health and economic impacts have passed, and for some it may indeed be unavoidable, those businesses that have pivoted are reaping the rewards.

Covid-19 has caused a critical need for businesses, primarily in retail, to adapt, innovate and pivot. In just the past few weeks we have seen this adaptation first-hand in several of our clients across different industries.

Those in restaurants and hospitality have moved to online menu and ordering, and contactless deliveries, local GPs through the National Health Co-op have moved to Telehealth appointments for patients, primary producers are taking online pre-orders and home delivery bookings via the Capital Region Farmers Market. We even have remote Friday night virtual meat raffle from the RUC. That’s certainly a ‘meaty’ innovation.

From a tourism perspective, businesses have had to seek ways to innovate and still attract ‘visitors’ when for the most part people are being asked to stay at home. In fact, State Tourism Organisations such as Destination NSW are actively seeking businesses who are pivoting at this time – those who are creating new and innovative products and services, so that they can assist with promoting them to relevant audiences now, in the recovery phase, and into the future.

Perhaps one of the biggest pivots we have seen is from our friends at Underground Spirits. Up until last month, Canberra’s favourite spirits brand was producing premium gin and vodka. With a medical background, owner and Head Distiller Dr. Toby Angstmann saw a critical shortage of hand sanitiser very early on and moved rapidly to turn the distillery into full time production of hand sanitiser for frontline medical staff in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Working with the ACT Government and other organisations, Underground Spirits utilised new and established links across the ACT so that GPs, doctors, nurses, theatre staff, Emergency Services ACT and all health services could receive the hand sanitiser that they so desperately needed. To date they have made and distributed tens of thousands of litres for frontline medical staff.

But that was only the beginning, with Underground Spirits now completely pivoting their business. They scaled their operations to be able to help all members of the community through an entirely new business arm – AUS, made by Underground Spirits – offering hand and home sanitising products for the public.

They moved quickly to research, obtain raw materials, solutions and packaging, partnered with other ACT distillers, wineries and brewers to source ingredients, created three new products, and developed new branding, a new website and an online shop. This gives us new stories to tell, new ways to promote both the new AUS and existing Underground Spirits brand, and is a great example of what can be done with a good dose of innovation.

Unsurprisingly, the new sanitising products are in very high demand, and the spirits brand is also capitalising on the goodwill generated, with Underground Spirits seeing record online sales of gin and vodka over the past month.

At Threesides we are proud to work with such an innovative and clever bunch of clients and early adaptors who have risen to the challenge and are pivoting to success. If you need some inspiration and ideas, we are more than happy to discuss ways your business can join the pivot dance too.

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