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  • Writer's pictureNovus Creative

What's the Bright Idea?

A round-up of some of the most creative small business marketing ideas amid the Coronavirus (and what you can take away from each)

To say that the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown us all off our feet is an understatement. It seems like what’s considered essential and non-essential changes by the hour, and restaurants and small businesses are having to completely reinvent the way they market and run their business.

But they’re not giving up – they’re pivoting.

And while we’ve seen curbside takeout and delivery services on the rise, there are a few companies and organizations that are thinking even more outside the box. We looked near and far to bring you some of the most creative (and kooky) marketing ideas yet.

Far, far away in an Oklahoma cowboy museum works a security guard named Tim Tiller. He had never navigated social media before, yet with the museum closing up last month due to Covid-19, he’s taken on a new role as social media manager. His posts are unexpected and hilarious — not only showing internet visitors different artifacts in the museum, but also letting his personality shine through, as his naïveté about how to use hashtags and sign off posts is on full display, turning him into an internet sensation.

Takeaway: Use your social media to create a personality that people want to follow. Keep the mood light and funny — we already have our share of somber stories.

High School Takeover

Right in our own backyard, Ashland photographer Kristie Bradley’s sessions have been derailed with Virginia’s stay-at-home order. So instead of regurgitating old content, she handed her Kristie Bradley Photography Instagram account off to her clients — Class of 2021 high schoolers — with each student “taking over” IG stories each day. The soon-to-be seniors show what their quarantined life is like, how they're managing their day (and boredom), and even what they're making for lunch. The take-overs have increased KBP's social media engagement and help connect Kristie with her target audience.

Takeaway: Know your audience and speak to them. Or better yet, let them speak to each other for you!

Working for Good

Polywood is known for its durable outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic. But let’s be real — who’s buying outdoor furniture right now? The company knows the answer and decided to enlist its sewing team that normally assembles their cushions to create surgical masks for its local hospitals in Indiana. (Polywood isn’t the only one using its resources for good. Richmond distilleries Reservoir Distillery and Three Crosses Distilling Co. are making hand sanitizer in addition to whiskey and spirits. Local seamstress Olive + Ashby is sewing and giving away masks for local nurses.)

Takeaway: If what you’re currently selling isn’t selling, reinvent yourself for what’s currently in demand. (TP anyone?)

Hit the Road, Jack

Mechanicsville coffee shop The Local Cup was preparing for this season and didn’t even know it. They had just finished getting their new mobile coffee truck ready for espresso runs when the pandemic hit, and ever since then, they’ve spent every morning (and some afternoons) on the road to make sure local neighborhoods were properly caffeinated. Every week, they post a schedule of where in town they’ll be serving up coffee, kombucha, homemade muffins and more. And their coffee truck is in hot demand (no pun intended) ... they receive multiple requests every day and get booked several weeks out!

Takeaway: If your customer can’t come to you, go to your customer! Maybe you don’t have an official truck, but find a way to safely bring your product into your market.

We have an appreciation for all things creative, and we love seeing how our community and businesses come together in a time of crisis. Share your bright ideas with us on social media!


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