By Marty Adnum, Managing Director


Your brand must survive, for your business to later thrive

Health first

Everything below will not matter if you neglect your health and the current regulations. Think of it like the drop-down oxygen mask on a plane, put yours on first then help others. The same applies here. Get yourself sorted, to be as strong as possible, to then help your family, friends and customers in a sustainable way. This is a marathon not a sprint.

Show and tell

Advise customers quickly and clearly of your online capabilities and offerings. Ensure this occurs across all touchpoints – website, social media, email footers, EDMs and old-fashioned phone calls. Now, more than ever, is the time to strengthen personal/business relationships.

Time to change

Consider amending your hours to be more convenient to others. 9 to 5 isn’t the way of the world currently. Of course, you need to balance that with your own health and your teams. Try to spilt shifts/resources, if you can, to cover these amended times.

Review your content

Consider the context and tone of your marketing. Review certain words which may have double meanings and be insensitive at this time, like “protection”, “check up”, “virus” and “prevention”. Regularly update your content to be helpful – advise of changes in hours, new services and updated delivery methods.
Check the appropriateness of the images you have used and the text, don’t use references to large groups or currently incorrect human interactions.

Don’t go silent

Although you are juggling a lot, it is vital to your staff and your own livelihood to maintain a brand presence. Pausing or radically reducing your marketing, to save money, can be counterintuitive and could contribute to a downward spiral. Sure, you may need to lessen or tackle it differently, but going silent to save money, can lead to the perception you are shut or in decline. People may steer clear of you to prevent any risk to their own services.

Be transparent

Reducing hours and standing people down for an indefinite period is gut wrenching as a business owner. It may feel, and be perceived by your team, irresponsible to continue a level marketing spend at this time. Yet falling silent could lead to an increased rate of layoffs. So empathetically explain this to your team so they can also see the logic. No one wants to be where we currently are, but if they know you are genuinely trying to help, and you explain your actions along the way, you will receive much greater team support.


Talk to your marketing providers in regard to staged payments. This approach can help yourself and them. This trickle of cashflow in and out rather than lump sums on completion will help both parties. Something is better than nothing and this helps share the load.

Keep it real

Us Novocastrians can smell BS a mile off so now, more than ever, be transparent with customers, suppliers, staff and colleagues. If your message and dealings are done with an open heart, much good can unfold. If you are doing it tough (and who isn’t), explaining that to others may result in a level of assistance you hadn’t expected.

Zig when others Zag

Can you amend your offering? Can you do much more online than you had expected? Is your product adaptable? No doubt you’ve heard Earp Distilling Co. has swapped gin production for hand sanitiser. Do you have your version of this?

The power of together

If the above is not possible to do alone with reduced resources, consider collaborating with key competitors. Don’t be too proud to ask. Maybe they are thinking the same thing. These are not normal times and partnering gives you a better chance to remain relevant by combining resources. A half, third or quarter of something is better than 100% of nothing.

Stay focused

Your existing customers deserve your attention. They know you the best and you know them. You may be able to help each other survive. Is there a pain point in their business you haven’t uncovered yet but with discussion could find and adapt your services to help? For example, as a creative agency we have tech savvy operators working on design and video daily. But could we offer that tech knowledge to help customers get ZOOM / Microsoft Teams up and running and advise them on the best use of it.


With income tight, can you swap a service you provide for another service you need, with no $s changing hands. Jot down the services you need to survive and look for crossover.

Give back

Who truly knows where this will end? So, if you have capacity, give back where you can to support other Hunter businesses and people. It does make sense to ensure your own survival first, but it's important other complimentary businesses are also around when we “get to the other side”. If you can help an organisation, community need or an individual, in any way whatsoever, DO IT! From a roll of toilet paper to a business loan, Newcastle will be in a better place as a whole if we all do.

By Marty Adnum from Out of the Square

About Out of the Square

Passionate proven champions of the greater Newcastle region, Out of the Square is an award-winning creative marketing agency bursting with ideas (including HelpHunter). Their full service strategy, creative, digital and production team solves marketing problems seamlessly and turns creative concepts into fully integrated campaigns that drive real results for clients. They’ll help your business maintain its voice when others are falling silent.

  • Digital strategy
  • Website development
  • Design
  • Ideation and creation
  • Video content creation

For further assistance, give us a call on 02 4929 6640

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