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How Businesses Can Pivot In The Age of COVID-19

How Businesses Can Pivot In The Age of COVID-19

Right now, businesses must use more creative strategies than ever. Many companies are pivoting their business model in light of the current situation. Pivoting represents more than just changing your marketing messaging. A pivot occurs when a company makes a fundamental change to its business model as a whole. Usually, a pivot occurs because a business recognizes that its current strategy does not meet the market's needs. In this case, many companies pivoted in response to statewide directives like social distancing or shelter-in-place. 

Many businesses across the Bay Area rose to the challenge. 

Realtors, for example, now offer virtual tours to potential buyers long before they check out a property in person. 

Craft distillery St. George shifted its production based on the needs of customers. They focused on producing hand sanitizer, aged whiskey, and other products that were still in demand. 

Other businesses chose to make similar changes to protect customers and businesses alike in the age of COVID-19. In this article, we’ll answer some of the top questions that Bay Area businesses are posing right now in regards to pivoting your business and your marketing strategy. 

How to Pivot 

You should start with a comprehensive analysis of your business's current operations. You may need to ask what your business is currently doing: what products you have, what services you offer, and how your employees usually interact with customers. 

Next, you should come up with ways you can use available resources to pivot the business. Ideally, pivoting in the age of COVID-19 does not involve excess expenditure, but rather using available resources to provide goods, services, and support that consumers need. Business leaders may ask:

  • What need does your audience or community have right now that you could fulfill?
  • How have your customers' needs changed?
  • How does that change impact your options? For example, concerns about safety could change the way businesses interact with consumers or the services that consumers want or need in light of the current situation. 

Ways Business Leaders Are Pivoting 

Many find themselves struggling with exactly how to pivot their business. Below are some examples of how industries have been pivoting during COVID-19, as well as ideas for how to continue to do so: 

Clothing Manufacturers

  • Creating masks from extra fabric
  • Donating masks to hospitals and medical facilities
  • Creating fashion-friendly personal protective equipment
  • Focusing marketing on fashion trends more directly related to those staying in and working from home 


  • Selling overstock inventory such a food supplies
  • Donating meals to people in need
  • Moving towards a fast-casual model
  • Providing meals to frontline workers
  • Offering curbside or delivery options, including expanding the takeout menu
  • Reducing the available menu to provide food without stepping outside social distancing regulations or overworking the kitchen


  • Offering hotel accommodations to frontline medical professionals 
  • Providing a “shelter-in-place” alternative to guests 
  • Taking extra steps in cleaning and disinfecting lobbies and rooms to prevent the spread of germs 
  • Providing a place for domestic violence victims who may need to escape their abusers during state-wide lockdowns and shelter in place orders
  • Reevaluating cancellation policies


  • Offer virtual test drives
  • Allow for online sales of vehicles
  • Home delivery for sold cars
  • Buy Now, Pay later options (No Car Payments Up to 90 Days)

Distilleries and Breweries

  • Producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Delivering alcohol (if your state’s laws allow it)
  • Adding online ordering for customers


  • Selling masks, gloves, and other protective gear
  • Prioritizing the sale of cleaning supplies
  • Limiting the capacity allowed of shoppers in stores
  • Donating unused items that will expire before your business reopens
  • Offering special shopping hours for senior citizens
  • Providing curbside pickup
  • Adding additional delivery options

How Businesses Follow Through on Pivots

Once a company has pivoted its business model, it must make sure that messaging, including both on-air and digital ads, contains the right language and strategies. Consumers need to know how the company has pivoted its brand and how they can take advantage of it. 

A company that does a lot of in-store, in-person commerce may have made many shifts to its business model. Has the company shifted to e-commerce and online sales? Has it updated its hours to serve high-risk members of the community? Advertisers must share what they have done now that the business has pivoted. 

Ongoing messaging to customers and prospects may prove critical as the impact of the pandemic continues across the Bay Area and across the nation. Many measures and behavior modifications once thought temporary may become permanent. Consumers may need to adapt to online ordering or change the hours they're able to shop. Business messaging can prepare consumers for what to expect in crisis and beyond. 

During this crisis, companies need marketing more than ever before. As businesses pivot to address COVID-19 related concerns, customers need to know what to expect as they connect with them.

Bay Area COVID-19 Business Marketing Guide

Barry Rose
Barry Rose
Barry Rose has been the General Sales Manager of KBLX-FM, San Francisco for over 3 decades. During this time he has helped to address and define, for numerous local and national advertisers, the importance of multi-cultural marketing in the very diverse 9 County Bay Area MSA.

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