May and June of 2021 have been heavy for Canadians. Many Canadian brands and individuals are trying to figure out their articulation and actions in light of the bloody past of a nation coming to light surrounding the residential schools in Canada. All while navigating thoughts around a day of celebration.
It’s beginning to be widely recognized that what we know so far is likely just the beginning. There’s a lot more coming.
In moments of reckoning surrounding a deep social injustice like that which Indigenous people in Canada have endured at the hands of settler colonialism, it’s hard to think about what to say, or how to make any sort of impact from a marketing and communication perspective.
For small businesses, specifically those between 1 and 5 million, navigating crisis communication – the guilt, the burnout, the uncertainty on how to go about doing business while this is the backdrop – can be a LOT.
How do you balance life in a global pandemic with ongoing self awareness and discovery?
How might small businesses be empathetic, self-educating allies, while respectfully doing our job as business owners, which often requires actively marketing and selling what we do?
If you, like us, believe that your teams, your partners, your collaborators, and your customers are your greatest assets, you really want to be thinking about what is challenging them on the daily and either:
- Fix their problems in your communication with them or
- Find a way to add to their days with levity and kindness
Towards that end, here are The Three Bs Holding Back MANY small businesses: Budget, Bandwidth, and Burnout, and some thoughts on navigating them
The burnout part in particular is something we think is appropriate reading for a time in history when people are maxed and overworked in the extreme.
The dreaded ‘budget’ issue goes first!
Yes, budgets are potentially the largest obstacle for many people, so we wanted to break down the budget thing a little bit. A few things can help when dealing with a lack of budget:
- Look at your line items differently (maybe what you spent on in person events in the past can be redeployed for a podcast or a virtual event series?)
- Look at collaboration differently. In the face of insurmountable obstacles, often, honest and upfront conversations with peers in your network about how much you have to spend and what you’re looking to achieve can lead to some amazing partnerships that you’ll play for long game!
And when it comes to making those almost non-negotiable investments in marketing (visibility is non negotiable if your goal is growth, so marketing tends to be a line item on most small business budgets) our ‘secret sauce’ is not s secret.
Think flywheels over funnels.
And take each piece of content you create, and fully make it count. We call it the Anchor Theory of content marketing and it helps build out a library of valuable thought-leadership material in a variety of accessible formats.
Remember folks: batch production equals efficient dollar usage!
Who isn’t feeling a little overwhelmed these days?
When it comes to mental bandwidth, we haven’t even begun to quantify how overstretched small business teams aree.
Covid-19 has left a majority of small business stretched thin ( understatement!) – servicing clients (YAY!), planning for ongoing post-pandemic survival, while still finding the time to toot our horns with our own content output. (Add to it a lens of social awareness reckoning!)
It’s CRAY!! BUT not impossible.
- Stop thinking of a “blog post” as 500 to 750 words of copy! Instead, take a page from our book – add video clips, audio snippets, animations, images, memes, graphics – any and all the rich media you can find to help spin off your anchor content.
- What if you don’t have the resources to make these splits? Fear not! What people think of “blogging” has evolved. And the key is to NOT go radio silent because you’re too busy to produce your own content, or even think about what to do in times of crisis. Rich media is the gift that keeps on giving! Sharing other people’s content with context, cause and commentary (instead of lazily hitting a share button) is a very goo idea.
Let’s attempt to tackle that BURNOUT!!!
If you’re NOT suffering from some form of burnout at the moment, well bully for you, Mr. Robot! We certainly are, and so are most of the peeps we chat with on the regular.
Home schooling/summer management of them kids (depending on where in the world you are).
Loss of rituals and routines.
Keeping a business afloat.
This year has already been a DECADE and yet, we all must keep going.
And one big thing that helps in times of stress and uncertainty? Humour. Little moments of joy.
Think about injecting humour, levity, and laughter into your marketing in a respectful way regardless of the backdrop. The tone is most important.
You don’t have to be the Court Jester, but don’t be afraid to have – and share – some fun!
If you would like to read more about employing a type of entertainment that helps soothe the collective cortisol, you should read our guide to ASMR as a tool for marketers in times of crises.
If you’d like to listen to a more detailed version of how to help manage budget bandwidth and burnout for small business teams, listen here!
This episode is an updated production of a series produced at the end of 2020, captured here.