As the interior design industry, brands, and the world learn to adapt to a new normal, Vishion Virtual Market hopes to bring this community together, collaborating. If you are struggling to adjust to social-distancing, closed showrooms, and canceled events, Vishion is here to help you discuss your small business concerns. Here is what we learned from Day 1 of Vision #VirtualMarket’s LIVE Sessions from our industry-leading experts

Virtual Market Day 1

Connect, Don’t Sell. Avoiding Tone-Deaf Communication

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As a writer for Forbes, The Robin Report, and the Business of Home, Warren Shoulberg has seen it all when it comes to how businesses handle a crisis. In his #VirtualMarket session, Advice For Brands Transitioning to Fully-Virtual, he says the most significant mistakes he’s seen brands make during the coronavirus is simply being tone-deaf. He says he’s been shocked by companies that he thought were pretty sharp retailers, that just aren’t getting it.

“I’ve been astounded by the number of companies totally tone deaf. you’ve got a number of retailers that seem to be running their program merchandising plans they they put it in place last November,” says Shoulberg. 

He says companies need to approach messaging using this prime directive from Mark Cuban, “Now is the time for companies to connect not to sell”. Shoulberg says you want to connect with your customers, be there to genuinely help them and not to sell them. If a company has inventory and needs to do business, that’s fine, but it has to be in the context of “Hey, we know this is a big problem and you’re struggling”

Shoulberg emphasizes that there aren’t just tone-deaf companies during this time, many businesses have stepped up to the plate. He says he’s been super impressed with retailers like Sams Club. Running TV advertising thanking their workers and those on the front-lines, he says is a very effective campaign that has really resonated with him. Additionally, he’s been pleasantly surprised by car insurance companies. Many brands are giving a discount or refund to their consumers who aren’t driving during the pandemic. Shoulberg says hands-on campaigns that play down the “sell” aspect are the ones who are doing it right.

FOR MORE ADVICE FOR BRANDS ON HOW TO TRANSITION TO A FULLY DIGITAL BUSINESS, WATCH THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION HERE.

What You Create Today Has Lasting Legacies 

Katie Gutierrez knows what it’s like to be a business owner during COVID-19. With a ten-year-old design firm with residential and commercial projects, all of her projects are frozen. Yes, every single one. While this might make many business owners start to panic, she has a positive outlook for the future.

“We can’t choose our hardships, we can choose how we get through them and focus our mind to get through the hardship,” says Guiterrez. 

She says that as a human species, we have always had to be innovative. In the time of COVID-19, the pressure is on for businesses to be creative. In two years, what is the story you want to tell about you and your company about this time?

“What you create today has a lasting legacy and will generate business in the long run.”

There is no one-size-fits all solution to finding your alternative revenue stream, but the most important is alignment. Match who you are with what you do.

Follow these steps to identify an Alternative Revenue Stream:

1. The Wealth-Dynamic:

    • Aligning your product and service. Don’t try to figure out how to make money. Look for how you can be of service.

2. Target Audience:

    • Who do you love working for and working with?

3. Unique Speciality:

    • What is the problem it solves for people?

How to Deliver this Alternative Revenue Stream: It’s crucial that your delivery method (what people are going to give you money to receive) has to be aligned with your wealth-dynamic. Think about the delivery method for your revenue stream and align it with your personality.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO CREATE ALTERNATIVE REVENUE STREAMS IF YOUR PROJECTS ARE FROZEN, WATCH THE ENTIRE WORKSHOP HERE. 

CHOOSE YOUR WORDS WISELY AND CELEBRATE EACH OTHER

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Sarah Parker Young is in the business of Luxury. As a public relations and marketing consultant focusing on luxury products, she markets the finer things in life but understands that coronavirus is re-defining what luxury means. She says we’ve moved on from items simply because they’re expensive, consumers are now looking for authenticity, warmth, emotion, and comfort. She says companies and brands need to choose their words and communications wisely.

“I struggled during the first week of coronavirus and how to create proper messaging. You can’t take advantage of the COVID-19 situation and you need to be sensitive,  reaching out and nourishing the senses, heart and soul. I don’t think its that you cant show luxurious items, you can still be inspiring, it’s how you present it.”

She cautions brands to not act as an authority on COVID-19. Instead, use messaging as a way to highlight and collaborate with each other. Don’t just talk about your brand and your product, highlight others and show that you are grateful for your fellow designers, and all the design lovers.

“Now, we really have to think about the words and images we use. We want to lift people up in this time, we want to inspire them, we want to have words that resonate with them. We need a touch of humanity and gratitude. Be grateful for other designers, design enthusiasts, and highlight them… Luxury has to become thoughtful, comfortable and inclusive.”  – Sarah Parker Young

She emphasizes that you need to create inclusivity in your messaging. While you might be talking about a product that only few can afford, you can keep it inclusive, so that its beauty is enjoyed by everyone. Instead of talking about price, talk about the specifics of the product, the materials, quality and what sets it apart from others. You can talk about what makes your products elevated without limiting your audience.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW THE BUSINESS OF LUXURY IS CHANGING, YOU CAN WATCH THE ENTIRE PRESENTATION HERE. 

DAY 1 RECAP

If there is one thing we learned from Day 1 of #VirtualMarket, it’s that each and every one of our experts say that the WORST WAY TO COPE WITH COVID-19, is to take advantage of the situation. This is a sensitive, catastrophic time and your viewers will see through your insensitive, tone-deaf messaging. Make sure you are thinking about your business and how it can help others. Not, how to make money. Messaging that is authentic, helpful, and uplifting will help your business survive during and after this crisis

SIGN UP FOR VIRTUAL MARKET SESSIONS

LIVE, #VirtualMarket sessions continue Tuesday, April 14 and Wednesday, April 15. To view the list of topics and register for LIVE speaker sessions, click here. 

Head to our Facebook page to view aired sessions, ask questions and connect with the Vishion Community.