23 April 2020

Pivoting with digital: great examples and how to get started

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As consumer needs are changing nearly every day, companies are watching their once-successful business models flatline overnight. Organizations are finding ways to leverage digital to pivot their products and services to cater to the evolving needs of their customers. Check out these great examples of timely pivots thanks to digital expansion, and how to consider adapting your business as markets and customer needs continue to change.

Keeping up with (or ahead of) consumer demand and expectation has always been a huge challenge--though undoubtedly a worthwhile cause. Brands that manage to regularly offer next-level solutions for their customers' current tastes are rewarded with a top reputation, consumer loyalty, and enthusiastic brand ambassadors. But now more than ever we’re seeing behaviours and needs change nearly overnight, making this previously difficult task nearly impossible.

Looking to pivot? Make sure you have the right players on your team. Get our guide to make sure you have the right talent and resources to make effective changes, fast.

Many companies react quickly, shifting their products or services into new formats, using new channels, or creating completely new offerings to fit their customers’ current needs. The pivots that are fastest to take place and catch on have leveraged new digital technologies to really make a difference.

Examples of digital-forward pivots due to COVID-19

Netflix Party

Netflix, movie and TV streaming giant, has seen increased views this year, and has seen a rise in stock value of more than 10% in 2020 as well, so there isn’t an obvious indication that they should be providing more. Still, understanding that the increase in viewing almost undoubtedly is the result of their users being quarantined at home, they launched Netflix Party. This (free) Google Chrome extension allows users to connect with friends and family to watch programs together, from a distance. Their users appreciate the chance to have a closer experience while separated from their loved ones, and enjoy Netflix content in a social way.

UK Department for Transport

While encouraging people to maintain social distancing practices, the UK’s Department for Transport is exploring totally new electronic and app-controlled modes of transportation. They have announced funding to test these newly developed services, such as on-demand buses, e-scooters and e-bikes, and making medical deliveries via drones.

Thoughtful Human

This company is built on a physical product: thoughtful cards for important life moments--that can later bloom into flowers. Using their current medium, they extended their card offering to include free community connection cards and quarantine support bundles, but they didn’t stop there. Seeing an opportunity to give more support in a difficult time, they have partnered with BetterHelp to offer a free month of therapy via messaging, chat, phone, or video sessions. Moving into online therapy is a new way to widen the support they can offer for their customers.

My Menu

My Menu is a company built on offering a digital tablet menu platform for restaurants looking to move online more easily. In response to COVID-19, they have offered their QR ordering service for free to help minimize the spread of the virus and help restaurants keep up. Using the technology, restaurants can get online immediately, creating a menu that appears when users scan a custom QR code on their mobile device.

Coding Dojo

This coding bootcamp offers online and offline coding courses, and has now rallied their alumni in an initiative to help small businesses. A group of their graduates will work pro-bono, remotely, to help small businesses that are rushing to keep up with their customers' needs, like by building websites or building online features for delivery. Their focus is projects that will make a real impact in the survival of affected small businesses.

Identifying opportunities to pivot

Whether your business model suddenly doesn’t fit in the current market, or you’re simply looking for chances to expand or strengthen your offerings, there are three main aspects to consider when looking for opportunities to pivot:

  • Think about your client persona: Can you widen your customer base? There are likely others who are interested in your products or services, if you make some small tweaks. Consider repositioning your offering; are your ideal customers adapting to new circumstances in which you could fit? Also, be open to partnerships that could allow you to deliver new or enhanced offerings.
  • Consider your value proposition: As needs shift, how can you deliver value today? Try to create new solutions. Think about what products or services you offer that can be tweaked to go from nice to necessary. Speaking of products and services, explore shifting between the two. However, don’t forget to keep in mind what your clients already love you for! Lean on this.
  • Expand on your value network: Survey your current assets, and look for ways to repurpose them to create new value for your customers. Look for opportunities in your supply chain to deliver faster and better; under pressure we often will try innovative ideas. Think about new ways to get your value to your audience--the most obvious is moving to digital formats. It’s also interesting to consider alternate payment methods.

There are likely several opportunities within the different areas for your business to pivot. Once you have studied them and determined your plan, make sure you have the resources to get it done. An important resource when looking to pivot quickly is your available talent. There are certain key players whose skills in a way can also pivot, to help bring quick changes, and make the most impact. We put together a guide to identifying those key profiles, and getting them on your team fast. Get a copy of the guide for free here!