On Tuesday 7th April 2020, The Red Tree hosted a virtual roundtable to discuss how we can advise and help one another during these challenging times. We were joined by leading industry contributors who shared their thoughts on how to navigate the current climate.
Leadership in a crisis
Our first contributor was Kate Tojeiro. She is a leading FTSE Executive Coach and the author of The Art of Possible. Her thoughts on leadership in a crisis follow:
We are all now doing things out of the ordinary that we don’t normally do. This is first and foremost a very human tragedy notwithstanding the need to keep our businesses going and trade going during this crisis for when we come out the other side how so ever that looks.
Those leaders that I see mobilise and motivate their staff and employees quickly, showed uncommon levels of support, kindness and empathy during those first few weeks of the lockdown.
Finding the balance as a leader will be hard there’s no denying but look after yourself first in body and in mind and I think perhaps extraordinary new products, innovation, creativity, new businesses, communities, relationships and hopefully more kindness will come from this, despite the utter tragedy and hardship that will also be along this journey. After all things turn out best for those that make the best of how things turn out.
Adapting to our new reality
Per Stenman was our second contributor. Per is COO of Cult Swedish brand, Lernberger Stafsing. He joined us to discuss how we can all adapt to our new reality and shared his views of operating and running the beauty brand amidst the crisis.
We are in this crisis in Sweden but it is still different, still somewhere open but needed to adapt quickly and think about what is the core of the brand and our products and our offer to our customers.
We need to find our core again in some way. Our core is always there and top of mind when we do product development and market development. Brand positioning is to stay really close to the foundation of the company and for us that is really good products with superior results but also not harmful for people or nature.
We need to be a patient in getting the results but we are willing to do what we need to do to survive but also to grow in the best possible way.
Nina Dunbar Johnson, the Managing Director at Wizard – one of the leading beauty PR companies, followed and shared her views on communication.
When we are paid by our clients to drive sales, we have to be incredibly sensitive and not think about what we want or what our clients want. We have to be more sensitive than ever and really listen (easy to talk all the time). We have been watching carefully what different brands are doing, what is working and what isn’t. One of the most important things right now is all about finding ways of giving back, it might only be in a small way but that is what we are seeing on social channels what everyone is interested in talking about it is not now just about pictures of yourself and what you look like, it’s about how you are going to give back and support other people.
The whole method of communication is more personal than it has ever been. We need to contact the press and be able to help them do their jobs and give them content and give them what they want and not what we want them to have and so this very high level of personal communication has become more important than ever.
Financial what if’s
David Lee, Partner at BSG Valentine, provided advice on business planning, government assistance and how you focus on surviving this period and coming out the other side ready to go.
So we have moved on to a situation as practicing accountants are concerned where clients have spent a couple of weeks looking at ways to preserve their cash flow, getting on to their connections and clients, choosing carefully where they can issue invoices in the hope that they can collect money to keep their staff un-furloughed at this time.
The Government loan guarantee scheme linked to the virus, we are finding this is very difficult to move forward without guarantees in place. For loans under £250K, banks are not seeking guarantees so this should be the figure to aim at if you need. You will need to be on top of your forecasts and to indicate a pick-up and position where you can repay at the end of the crisis. Worth thinking about getting cash flows done. Write to landlords and everyone to put a cap on everything so that you are freezing your position as much as possible if you have to.
Tracey Woodward, who has had a remarkable career with M&S, Urban Retreat and Aromatherapy Associates and now is Director of Innovation and Sustainability at Sheridan&Co, also joined us in our virtual roundtable and shared advice on positive planning during this period.
There are lots of softer sides to us all now, we are living with more kindness and more gratitude, and looking to inspire and support and show respect to everyday people. Brands need to do that more now to the consumer than ever before. While these are very difficult and challenging times, we are looking for emotional connection.
Remember it takes 21 days to create a habit so we should all be on to new habits right now, whether it is signing up to Joe Wickes or going for a walk every day or doing fabulous stretches or washing hair or applying your brow pencil every day rather than going to your brow bar. We have got 21 days to create a new habit and that can happen with products. When we come into 90 days we have actually created a new lifestyle process so whatever we are choosing to do whether that is eating healthier to exercise more to show more compassion, more humility, more empathy, once we hit 90 days we are in the action and it is really hard to pull back from those things so remember not just for your brands but for yourselves, whatever you do now is creating a lifestyle action.
How we can help each other
And last, but not least, Millie Kendall MBE – CEO of the British Beauty Council and founder and director of BRANDStand Communications shared advice on how we can all help each other during these challenging times
Our industry has been through some peaks and valleys over past few weeks. The Female Founders Network is supporting each other with general questions about CoronaVirus and other relevant topics. We have all had challenges with the stimulus packages. How the packages have been worded isn’t always straight forward for everyone.
Everyone is pulling together, journalists are taking to Instagram like brands and are using that as a place to share content and really express their own brand. Keep a look out and become a part of what they are about.
Maybe this time will breed innovation, maybe time to raise our game and become a stronger community which was what we wanted originally when we set up the BBC, pulling people together and raising our game.
To know more about what our contributors had to say, listen to the full audio version of The Beauty Roundtable here:
If you haven’t done so already, register to our briefing event on digital and social media communication in the current climate on Tuesday 28th April, 2020.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
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