How To Live Through Any Shutdown Catastrophe: Perspective & Trustworthiness

Photo of Owl Street Studio President Brian James RawsonPhoto of Owl Street Studio Chief of Marketing Raven Ariana
July 28, 2022
by Brian James Rawson & Raven Ariana

In this series from Empathy, Marketing, and You, Raven and Brian discuss processes and ideas of how you and your business can get through any shutdown catastrophe.

In this episode, they talk about how to use perspective-taking and planning to help you through any shutdown. They also talk through how your reputation, brand, and trustworthiness helps support and sustain you through hard times.

Raven is the founder of Nevermore Creative, an online magazine and community for creatives and professionals.

Watch the episode above. Read the transcript below.

How Do We Outpace Catastrophe Fear?

Raven: So I want to talk about, you know, Corona as a culture too and how business leaders can get ahead of the language and, you know, the spirit of this time - the zeitgeist right of the, of the Coronavirus. And so…

How can business leaders not profit- right because that's so ugly of like profiting off this ugly thing but - how can we ride this wave and, like, get on top of it from, like, a branding perspective? A voice perspective?

History Happens Every Day

Brian: Yeah, I know…well for me…I think we can get on top of Corona and this whole thing by just realizing it's another wave of something.

Raven: Yeah.

Brian: On one hand, this is unprecedented. It's a historical moment. I don't know how many years in the future it will be when we have to look back and see this moment in time and textbooks and lectures, and I don't know how old I’ll have to be to hear stories of “What It Was Like When…” insert.

So on one hand, it is, it is historic. On the other hand, there’s historic stuff that happens all the time. So how do we get through the 2009 recession? How do we get through different trends in society? How do we get through a blizzard or snow storm or hurricane? Thankfully, where I'm at we don't really have a lot (besides some blizzards) we don't have a lot of, like, extreme weather, but there's whole towns that get leveled, whole businesses that are destroyed, literally destroyed.

Raven: Every year.

Brian: You know. So on one hand, we can kind of appreciate the moment. But I think we can rise above it by understanding it's maybe kind of another day. As a business owner, I think we should always be prepared. I don't advise being anxious. I think you can…I've had this tendency myself to overheat and kind of get like “too preparedness” or, like, too many future plans and, and contingencies for too many things.

But maybe…hopefully a balance where we can appreciate the significance of right now, but also we already had plans. We've already had plans for this if this ever happened. We already know what to do in a: insert an emergency scenario. So we're always prepared, as well as being in the moment.

And it's easy to say it's a little harder to do, but I mean, that's how I think we can get above it. What are your thoughts on how we can ride above Corona?

Know Who You Are

Raven: I think it goes back to essentials. And I think it's about the essentials of your brand as well. And I think it's about knowing who you are, knowing what your story is, what service you provide, and being able to do that at its most basic level despite the circumstances.

So if you bake the muffins - then you are baking the muffins in an effort to relieve people of their anxiety, their stress, of their pain in this time, and you can rise to that occasion by baking the best muffins you've ever baked in your life and telling that story. Right?

So I think, you know, there's always room like you said, “Yes, it's another day,” but rising to the occasion and really saying, “You know what, I'm a baker. I make hamburgers, or I do this, or I do social media. I do branding. I do this” and saying like, “How can I help you right now? What can I do right now? What do you need right now” and offering your services is a way to get ahead of it.

Brian Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

What Do People Think of You?

Raven: All right. So yes, so rising to the occasion is important, I think, but also…it also matters what people think about you. So when things hit the fan and everything crumbles, will people think that you are essential? What will make your customers continue to think you're essential?

Brian Yeah. Yeah, I know, I mean…thinking about that question of how to survive a shutdown…I mean, for me, yeah, reputation is the biggest thing that matters and how people perceive you.

And not that we're…I think when you say it that way - that we’re worried about how people perceive us - that sounds maybe bad, like people pleasing, or being disingenuous or things like that. But I think just like you have to have a tally of your overhead cost and profit margins. I think (it's a little hard to put a number to) but I think you should always have some sort of tally of what your reputation is, what's your social standing.

And not in that it’s a popularity contest, but how much are you feeding into other people and being genuine with them and building a genuine connection - even if it's an acquaintance doesn't mean it’s not genuine. If you're getting people on your side, and they, they like you, those people are going to come back and support you.

Do People Like You?

Brian: So I mean, there's buzzwords of: brand awareness, brand value, brand loyalty, and all these things are just saying, “How much do people like you and how many people like you?”

So around here up in Wisconsin, we've got a fast food chain called Culver’s. (I don't know if you've ever heard of it. I honestly, I'm not sure how far they reach out into the wider world.) But it’s a Winsconsin staple, and they didn't dip at all when COVID hit and everything shut and they saw profit spike. And it's because of that brand loyalty.

People already like Culvers, and in uncertain times, they trusted Culvers, so they showed up to that drive thru, and maybe not to the Burger King down the street. You know it’s like, “That  Burger King was a little sketchy to begin with. I’m not…. We're gone down there right now.”

So that brand loyalty can, I think, can help you survive through the rough times because people will be there to support you. At least the ones that support you enough. You know, maybe you lose some people, and you can't please everyone. But yeah, how to get that reputation, how to really build genuine connections that's a whole other video and another thing to talk about.

But I mean, how do you…what do you think about reputation? How do you? Is that a big part of your thinking when it comes to Nevermore?

Trust, Authenticity, and Teamwork are Essential

Raven: Huge, huge. I think it's about being as genuine as possible and being like, “Hey, guys, we're all in this show together.” And you know, it sounds so cliche, but it's so true. Like we're all scrambling and I think when we position it in a way that's human and say, “Okay, we don't have the answers but we have your burgers.” You know? Then yeah, people are gonna like you, you know, if you're, if you're not trying to act like you know everything, like, or if you're, you know, if you're consistent in your messaging.

So, you know, I think it's how quickly can you and your team get on one page about what you're going to do and how you're going to do it? I think that's, that's so important to like your success. So like, “Okay, what's the message going to be? How, how are we going to do this thing?” What's like, you know, and I don't think you necessarily need a PR person to do that. I think you need a leader with a strong vision, and, and a strong finger on the pulse of like, execution strategies of like, “How am I? How am I going to do this?”

---End of the Episode---

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