How the pandemic is forcing business owners to think outside the box.
With three national lockdowns forcing entire industries to stop trading, many business owners have used this time to work on their PR strategy and how they can do this independently. The uncertainty that surrounds government restrictions has fuelled this and given many businesses the chance to consider how they can create and share content differently.
Nathalie Selvon-Bruce runs Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers and relies on weddings for a large percentage of her work, meaning the last year has been difficult to trade in.
Oscar Bellerby, journalism student and MacComms intern speaks to Nathalie about overcoming the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The wedding industry has suffered hugely over the past year, leaving many businesses without clarification or support. Nathalie says that despite this uncertainty, the last year has given her the chance to transform how she promotes her business.
“I’ve found lots of opportunities over the past year, as I had more time on my hands. I found it easier to collaborate with other industry related people and produce promotional images, blog posts and interviews as they also had time.
“I had to research into Covid safe practices and how they could be applied to every element of my business, from certified cleaning materials to PPE. This was all whilst devising a way to sanitise a campervan awning for our holiday hires, which isn’t easy.”
Nathalie insists that by being proactive when delivering her own PR, her business has benefited from new relationships with industry peer contacts, receiving more referrals or recommendations from people that she has collaborated with.
“The collaboration with other industry suppliers meant giving up our time and materials for free, allowing us to create high quality media content for our social channels, at a time where we may have less work to create natural content.”
By building up new contacts, organising new projects and continuing to share content on social media, businesses can ensure that customers still recognise their brand, even if they are not actually trading.
“We have collaborated with Lily Jones Events to produce a new concept called ‘The Drive-In Camper Wedding’ which is a new way to attend a wedding in groups of six, in pre-parked classic campervans. This is a new project that Covid has inspired.”
Not only has the virus caused Nathalie to invest in new projects, she has also changed how she reaches out to potential clients. Now more than ever people are wanting reassurance when it comes to booking events and placing deposits, something business owners are responding to.
“I had a frank video diary chat on my social media to explain why we were a safe company for booking deposits and future work. I explained that we had been trading for over 10 years, had assets behind us, taxes were paid – and most importantly that we diversified across different industries.
“This meant that if weddings were not possible, we could still survive through our promotional tour work or holiday hire side of the business.”
Looking ahead, Nathalie hopes that the skills she has learnt from her own self-promotion, PR and the changes in policy caused by the virus will ensure her business can continue to grow.
“It is important that you have clear policies accessible online to support customers and show that you are operating, with their deposits safely held. Many of our industry colleagues have gone into liquidation and we are keen to show clients that we are still here.”
We wish Nathalie and Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers the very best for the future. For more information about Buttercup Bus Vintage Campers visit https://buttercupbus.com/.
Models: @chloemkerley & Olly