11 brands who pivoted successfully, and what you can learn from them.

27 May 2020

Over the last couple of months, many brands have had to adapt their business to meet the challenges posed by the current crisis – allowing them to not just survive, but thrive. It’s unlikely any industry will return to exactly how it was before lockdown, so it’s essential you consider how to adapt to emerging trends and the new needs of your customer. To guide you, we’ve compiled stories from brands who have successfully pivoted their businesses across the industries, along with key learnings you can apply to your own business:


How to pivot if… you don’t yet have an online presence.

Brands can no longer solely exist IRL, they need to consider how they’ll adapt to an omnichannel strategy - focusing on both physical and digital. Social media usage has increased by 21% globally since the start of lockdown, so it’s important to acknowledge this new audience. It could be as simple as setting up a storefront on Facebook’s new virtual shopping mall initiative, or you could diversify into online commerce like London restaurant Top Cuvée. In less than 24 hours, they transitioned from closing bistrot to e-commerce distribution centre; delivering restaurant standard food and wine straight to the homes – and sunbathing spots – of their customers. On the other side of London, Notting Hill Fish shop launched a website and delivery service within two weeks to meet the increasing demand from their housebound customers. By pivoting to an online presence, both these businesses were able to democratise the dining experience and make it possible for new customers to enjoy their service from quarantine.

©A Cold Wall

How to pivot if… there isn’t any current demand for your product.

It’s a position that no brand wants to find themselves in, but if the current situation means demand is low, perhaps consider it an opportunity to diversify your offering. As a starting point, think about what resources your brand already has at its disposal. It could be that you’re in a position where you can pivot to manufacturing essential items. Several fashion labels have noted a lack of demand for clothing during the crisis: Reformation have started using their sewing machines to make face masks and HENRI London have repurposed their empty store as a collection hub for veggie boxes. Similarly, the makers at Artemis Brewing have recently started using their cold brew equipment to make hand sanitiser – pivoting in this way shows the world your brand is doing its part to control the spread.

If you don’t have the means to manufacture a completely new offering to adapt to the crisis, it may be that you can just rethink what you already sell. Take luxury menswear brand A COLD WALL who launched a new initiative SERVICE POINT, which sells branded fastenings, patches and zips at an affordable price point, allowing fans to customise and create their own designs at home. Making this kind of change not only provides some much-needed revenue – it also gives your audience a new way to participate.

©Ethel's Club

How to pivot if… your business is rooted in IRL experience.

There are many ways for a brand to pivot their in-store experiences online until they can reopen in real life. For restaurants that aren’t ready to do takeaways, a smart way to recreate the dining experience is to develop DIY cooking kits for customers to prepare at home. Take Casa Fofo, who has just introduced a new three-course Cook-At-Home kit. Or BLEACH London, who have taken their salon experience online for their Hair Dye parties, where fans can dye their hair live alongside celebrities and experts.

Another brand Ethel’s Club – a New York clubhouse for people of colour – have also recently pivoted their IRL space by launching a digital membership. Members across the world can now enjoy live-streamed events, workout sessions and videos three times a day – keeping them connected across the world. Introducing online events like these can be a wonderful way to evoke your IRL space and create a feeling of togetherness, which won’t just be great for your brand, but the mental wellbeing of your community too.

©Le Bijou

How to pivot if… money is no object.

Even in a crisis, there are still clients willing to pay for top-of-the-line experiences. But like many other industries, the face of luxury has changed. For this sector, the key to a successful pivot will be how you can recreate the intimate experience of luxury whilst maintaining social distancing and travel bans. Luxury Swiss hotel Le Bijou has set up ‘quarantine apartments’ with services including a personal chef, digital AI concierge and even coronavirus testing. Similarly, Harrods, a name near-synonymous with the word ‘luxury’, has remotely reopened to select clients, allowing them to virtually peruse their departments with a personal shopper. Pivoting to provide safe luxury experiences will give your clients the confidence to start shopping again, as well as reassuring them that you remain in touch with their needs during the crisis.

If you’re still unsure of your next step, our team is here to help. Get in touch via The Hotline for personalised, expert advice on how you can pivot your business for life post-lockdown.