By Stevie Vallellanes
Over the past two semesters I have had the opportunity to be involved with a student-run public relations agency called Hawk Communications. Our team of students meets weekly to discuss our clients’ needs and any upcoming events. Due to the coronavirus, my peers and I-like many others- have adapted to the situation.
After our university was closed in March, we quickly shifted to Zoom to keep up with our clients’ demands. Every student works with at least three different clients and can jump into any group if needed. I worked with the Garden State Wine Growers Association, New Jersey Warriors Hockey, and Autism MVP. Working with such different clients has allowed me to witness the impact the virus has on many different industries, how important effective crisis communication is, and how to pivot in this changing environment.
The Garden State Wine Growers Association is an example of an organization doing a phenomenal job at adapting to the current climate and effectively communicating with its customers. The association is comprised of over 50 wineries, vineyards, grape growers, and other related businesses in New Jersey. They have quickly adjusted to the changes that were mandated by Governor Phil Murphy. The governor declared that liquor stores were an essential business and allowed them to continue operating under specific, strict conditions. Most of the companies in the association have turned to curbside pickup, deliveries, and some have even hosted virtual events.
During this significant change, the association has done an excellent job communicating with their customers and each other. An email is sent each week to those who have signed up that states any deals, events, and changes that are happening at each winery. My team and I have begun posting on their social media accounts to communicate with those who are not on the email list. Posting several times a week, we hope to inform customers of what is happening around the state at each location.
Adapting well has allowed for wineries to exceed, be innovative, and hold events like they used to. Some of the wineries have adjusted exceedingly well and have started hosting virtual wine and cheese tastings. People can purchase wine and occasionally cheese and attend an online event that is run like it normally would at the winery. Other locations have posted content walking customers through their wine cellars and giving a tour like they would during the regular season.
Now being adaptable is not a preferred quality, it is essential for companies and individuals. Businesses can’t function without being able to adapt to any situation and crisis. Social media has become one of the most common methods that companies use to adapt and effectively communicate with their customers. Having the ability to pivot is what can save your business from going under in a time like today. Individuals who possess the now required quality have higher chances of achieving more success and being a better leader. Today, now more than ever, companies will be looking for someone who not only survived this immense change, but adapted and thrived.