Redefining Events Amid Social Challenges and Beyond

We are all very aware of the impact COVID-19 is having on our daily lives, both personally and professionally.  “Social Distancing” is now a mandated practice that has disrupted the core of many businesses.  One specific outcome of “Social Distancing” is the cancellation of events, large and small. 

How will event cancellation impact business? Your marketing strategy plays an important role in your overall business plan, which includes introducing your product or service.

  • Events are key to an overall marketing campaign and essential to reach defined business goals.
  • Networking/Relationship building is a fundamental component of business development. Personal connection, facial expressions, voice fluctuation, and a handshake (yes, they will make a comeback) are an essential part of creating trust.
  • Events from gala’s to 5k runs are huge fundraising opportunities for non-profit charitable organizations.  The financial impact for these organizations and others that rely on event revenue could be devastating.

In a few months, the COVID-19 epidemic will be behind us and things will get back to normal, albeit a new normal. And that new normal will include things we’ve had to learn and remind us of procedural steps we’d often sacrifice in order to speed up completion.  

  • Online meetings and training will be incorporated with marketing and business meetings.
  • Businesses will ascertain the importance of sufficient lead-time for planning, promoting and executing events, training sessions and conferences. Depending on the size of an event and the new components needing to be incorporated, it can take 2-6 months (or longer) to plan. 
  • Re-scheduling and re-programming canceled events need to start as soon as possible.  Hundreds if not thousands of events in Southern California are going to be vying for new dates, times and programming at venues in an already crowded Summer/Fall calendar.

For now, during this time of “social distancing,” consider supplementing your marketing campaign with staged events. By utilizing a live-streaming, two-way platform you can connect and personally engage with clients for a model grand opening, new phase release, or a small reception to share information on a product or achieved milestone. These assets will continue to be valuable, even after COVID-19 is gone and “social distancing” is a thing of the past!

Think Ahead. Be Prepared. Get Off Your…

The homebuilding industry has been around for quite some time and has gone through its fair share of ups and downs. And it has survived – despite its resistance to change.

Think Ahead. Change IS inevitable.

The notion that “we’ve always done it this way,” is what prevents the industry from being a process innovator and systems thought leader. Harsh? Sure. But having worked in homebuilding for more than 30 years, it’s also true.

Overall, the industry is not good at thinking ahead and preparing for change. For instance, the CALIFORNIA ENERGY EFFICIENCY LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN (CAEESP). This plan is California’s roadmap to achieving maximum energy savings in the state between 2009 and 2020. It was adopted in 2008 – more than 10 years ago. The Plan was known as were the dates for various code changes. What did a majority of California homebuilders do at the end of 2019, before the latest code changes went in to effect? They pulled as many building permits as possible under the “old” code. The absence of thinking ahead, 10 years is plenty of time, there will be a slew of newly constructed homes which will be outdated, even obsolete, by the time they are completed and ready for a family to move-in.

 Be Prepared. Change IS unexpected.

Social Distancing ala COVID-19, need I say more? We’ve had to put in place and adopt ways of doing business, building and selling homes. Embracing technology that has been in use by other industries, has been homebuilding’s saving grace. However, implement technological tools that are readily available into industry processes that have been resistant to change, has fallen short at the implementation stage. Virtual tours are great but lack personal connection. Skype and FaceTime can work in a one-on-one situation, but sales teams have not been trained on how to adjust their in-person sales approach to one that remains professional and on-brand in an online format. Learning from other industries that have been selling and teaching by using live-digital platforms will help bridge our connection with our home buyers. And moving forward, you will have a new mechanism for your Sales & Marketing toolbox, unexpected challenge or not. 

Get Off Your Arse. Change IS leaving you behind.

We will survive this challenge, but let’s learn from it and make strategic changes with the intention and incorporate tools that will advance our industry. Think Ahead. Be Prepared. And take the necessary steps, now. (aka Get Off Your Arse!) 

BUILDING GREEN HOMES ARE NOW MORE POPULAR WITH PRODUCTION HOME BUILDERS

In a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in conjunction with Dodge Data & Analytics, single-family builders who self-identified as green builders (building at least half of their projects green) were asked why they choose to build green, and what their top practices and strategies are to improve green home performance.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they build green projects because they believe it is the right thing to do. This strong position shows how the green building trend has become more about building homes that have a clean energy footprint for the environment than the use of green terminology for marketing, a practice known as “greenwashing.” 

Other top reasons builders cited include creating healthier homes, meeting market demand and differentiating their product in their local market, which are compelling market opportunities for builders considering entering this market segment.

The biggest goal for all green builders is building homes that are highly energy efficient. As noted in the full report, almost all respondents (91%) are using energy-efficient practices to some extent, whether or not they identify as green, and two-thirds of all builders do so on at least 75% of their homes, illustrating how the mainstream home building industry is increasing the use of green building practices.

Almost half of the green builders say that building a healthier indoor living environment, also known as improving the indoor living environment, is a practice heavily utilized in their projects. Almost 50% of the green builders cite it as a top way to improve green home performance, and two-thirds of all builders are employing strategies to achieve this practice. Over 39% are doing it for 75% of their projects. This is a significant market segment but may also provide opportunity in many areas to differentiate a builder in his/her local market.

The 2020 Green Single Family and Multifamily Homes Smart Market Brief is available at the NAHB website – https://www.nahb.org/Advocacy/Industry-Issues/Sustainability-and-Green-Building/Green-Smartmarket-Reports?_ga=2.66968238.1490863034.1585685584-1394325025.1585685584

Embracing the New Normal – Life After COVID-19

The shock of staying at home more than normal has begun to wear off and Americans are starting to assimilate themselves into the “new normal.” As COVID-19 has traveled around the world, vast numbers of workers have found themselves working from home for extended periods for the first time. Many of them are learning how to manage their own time and use technology to make the transition as seamless as possible.

As many companies and their employees realize that telecommuting is very feasible and comfortable, what seemed like an unfortunate tragedy could accelerate a trend that was already underway. 

With the advent of technology, applications, and high-speed internet becoming more affordable and reliable, the home has become the personal and job headquarters for busy people looking for ways to better manage their lives. Everyone has become more comfortable with trading commuting time with quality “me” time and are spending a lot more time on pursuits that give them joy, purpose, and pleasure.

Telecommuting has been on the rise. A Global Workplace Analytics analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data between 2005 and 2018 found that working at home has grown by 173% between 2005 and 2018 and that “5 million employees (3.6% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.” Those figures exclude the self-employed.

The primary reason is simple: working from home provides a better quality of life. In its Global Workspace Survey, flexible workspace provider IWG found that “80% of workers in the U.S. would choose a job that offered flexible working options, including working from home, over a job that didn’t, and [30%] of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time.” It also found that “more than two-fifths of U.S. workers see commuting as the worst part of their day.”

Looking forward

With millions now working from home out of necessity and ordering take-out and grocery delivery or pickup to adhere to health officials’ guidelines, consumer’s attitudes towards telecommuting and online food shopping are likely to change. More people will likely realize that it’s not as hard as they once thought. Everyone is forming new habits and establishing new norms.

In the short term, marketers will need to find ways to be helpful to people trying to meet their most basic needs. And in the long term, we’ll all need to adapt to this “new normal” and work to understand what it means for all aspects of life in America when home becomes more people’s new headquarters.

It’s Your Brand. And It Has Purpose.

At Engage Marketing we work with companies needing to define or further define their brand, their purpose, and ultimately why they exist. This includes outlining the company’s foundational elements, clarifying cultural expectations, and developing the brand voice for both internal and external messaging. All of this comes together in the format of a Brand Platform and strategic Marketing Plan developed to achieve the company’s long and short-term goals. And, it’s meant to be used. 

When your growing and things are chaotic, rely on it, don’t abandon it.  

When challenged with a conflict or tough decision, reference it, don’t ignore it.

Through thick and thin, be your brand’s adversary, not its enemy.

Your brand is your company DNA and what you do with it will make or break the strength of its purpose, the value of its differentiation and elevate the commitment of its brand advocates.

Don’t just put it on a shelf, put it to work.  You’ve defined your brand, outlined internal expectations and established your marketing strategy – now share it!

  • Provide copies to your employees. Your employees are an extension of your brand and need to understand what is expected of them, why the company exists and its plans for the future.
  • Share the messaging publicly. Existing and potential clients, partners and media outlets need to know what makes you different and how you stand out in the competitive set. 
  • Own it.Whether it’s in an interview, blog, social media outreach, or day-to-day dealings, use your brand voice with the confidence and conviction of the expert you are.

As you grow, it grows.  All things change or adjust as they grow and diversify.  So should your Brand Platform and Marketing Strategy.

  • It’s a living document, And as your business grows, staffing increases and responsibilities change, there may be a need to reevaluate certain functional or procedural aspects of your brand.
  • Diversification is not departure. Growth often opens new doors and avenues. When those opportunities arise, evaluate how and if, they fold into your existing brand position and goal. New isn’t always timely.

Assess your asset.  Evaluate the progress toward your goals, both long and short term, on an annual basis as well as when milestones are achieved.

  • Go the road.  Your brand strategy is a road map to reaching your goals. Don’t be afraid of the path, you designed it, did you follow it?
  • Celebrate the wins. Reaching your goals should be celebrated but also evaluated. How they were achieved? Can it be done better next time?  
  • Evaluate the misses. The same must be done with the goals that fall short. Many great lessons can be learned from loses and positively influence changes.

At the end of the day – it is your brand. Create it. Know it. Share it. Grow it. 

And most of all – Be Proud Of It.