How your people are your secret weapon in thriving beyond COVID-19

We’ve had an exciting development over at JGA recently. With so many of us working from home, we wanted to bring together learners, alumni and other people in the JGA community to help them learn from each other at a time of uncertainty. We’re living through a period of enormous change and we thought that looking at how the world of business is bring disrupted by COVID-19 was a powerful lens through which to make sense of the present. We came up with the idea for a series of weekly ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinars on ‘How COVID-19 is disrupting marketing and sales.

At the first session on ‘How COVID-19 will change product,’ we looked at how the pandemic is changing product, whether your business sells goods or services.

Why we need to think people first about the COVID-19 recovery

We’ve seen an acceleration of technology since the pandemic began, with more organisations switching to offer services online and more people ordering products online too. How would any of us have got through the pandemic without being able to log onto our emails and do Teams calls from home, or without the help of Amazon or supermarket delivery drivers?

Technology has therefore never been important- but nor have people. Whether it’s differentiating your business through excellent customer service, having a knowledgeable team of in-house experts or getting influencers talking about your brand online, at the end of the day, people buy people. And if we have great people working for us, how can we encourage them to get themselves out there on social media to talk about the work they’re involved in, so that we can tap into the power of their networks?

We were keen to explore this idea at our fifth Lunch and Learn webinar on ‘How COVID-19 is disrupting marketing and sales’ with its focus on how people can be your organisation’s secret weapon during COVID-19 and beyond. Our Lunch and Learn webinars help learners, alumni and other JGA stakeholders discuss how the world of business is changing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We were thrilled to have 3 excellent speakers at this event: Ben Schofield, Communications Manager at Tower Hamlets Homes, Richard Goodwin, MD of JGA Group and Marco Scarola, Interim Head of Marketing and Engagement at Central and Cecil Housing Trust.

Here’s what we learned at the webinar:

  • People should always be your secret weapon. Marco said that this should be a universal truth of business, before, during and beyond the pandemic. He pointed out that most organisations will have subject matter experts. Businesses should leverage this, encouraging staff on the ground to source and share content. How can we all empower and encourage our frontline staff, developing messaging, content and assets with them? Marco feels that this is an opportunity to galvanise staff and get them to share their story. At a time like this staff can be content creators and ambassadors.
  • Content needs to be authentic. Ben believed that previously many organisations would have spent time and money commissioning glossy video content. Now we can encourage frontline staff to make video quickly on their phones, and actually if staff go slightly off message it’s not the end of the world. Content that packs an emotional punch and shows empathy is key. Working with staff to identify influencers is vital. Ben and his team recently made a video featuring influencers which garnered 12 million views.
  • Automation is growing. Richard asked how we can get automated services and people working together effectively. Even with the most advanced technology, we will still need people to build relationships with customers and read between the lines to find insights. Richard thinks that organisations still need people who we can trust to be reliable and deliver consistently strong customer experience. They are the human face of your business.
  • All the panellists felt that social media was even more important at the moment, whether for providing a window for the world into what your people are working on, to showcasing your staff’s expertise or creating assets which can then be used in your organisation’s campaigns. Which channels could help your organisation do this?