Creativity in a Crisis

November 18, 2020
By iQ Staff
people floating in hot air balloon

The pandemic has forced companies to become inventive and nimbler as each day brings new challenges. Most organizations have adjusted to remote work, and some have had to tweak their business models. Embracing creativity, once the purview of aggressive marketers looking to disrupt competitors, is now table stakes for survival.

Below, we look at some inspired new approaches that showcase how creativity is saving the day.


Virtual Learning

Free time at home has led to an uptick in demand for educational offerings that develop new skills, such as MasterClass and DIY videos.

Using online instruction, companies are getting creative in terms of how they deliver that in-person learning experience. Whether it’s online workshops, e-books or branded merchandise, newly expanded audiences are allowing small businesses affected by recent lockdowns to not only survive but, in some cases, to thrive.

For example, some yoga and martial arts studios have gone virtual as owners find that by changing their traditional service models, they can access a larger client base than ever before. Once-local studios are no longer limited by geography.

Other companies are using this stay-at-home period to interest new customers in their products. Exemplar Education, a UK-based, at-home educator recently offered a free math program to families across the UK that included delivery of its studio-in-a-box kit, containing recording equipment for remote instruction. This offer resulted in an additional 9,000 households signing up for the company’s program.


“Embracing creativity, once the purview of aggressive marketers looking to disrupt competitors, is now table stakes for survival.”


Product Engagement

Without the ability to try on clothes or test a new lipstick color in-store, many brands are offering customers a chance to enjoy those experiences virtually. Diesel has a 360-degree virtual showroom and Warby Parker is using facial recognition software to help customers find the right fit for eyeglasses.

Creative solutions are also allowing customers to have a personalized shopping experience from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Make-up brands like Smashbox and Aveda offer home delivery of product samples. 


A Shared Experience

Thinking outside the box, brands are finding ways to share experiences with customers who can no longer visit their stores. As a fun way to help customers enjoy the Ikea experience at home, the Swedish brand shared its famous meatball recipe using drawings that mimic its furniture-assembly instructions.

The Keep Your City Smiling campaign supports struggling, small businesses within communities by selling gift boxes filled with their products. From Seattle and San Francisco to L.A. and beyond, local businesses supply everything from coffee to candles that make it easy for people to buy local and support the businesses where they live.

If history shows us anything, it’s that some of the greatest breakthroughs were developed during the most difficult of times. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Perhaps that’s because knowledge is based on what is known, while imagination is based on what is unknown and requires us to see beyond our current frame of reference. As businesses continue to face challenges during the pandemic, creativity is opening new doors for them to deliver and engage.