Blum sales and marketing director David Sanders considers how we have all adapted to new ways of communicating, and reveals how the brand has found real value in the opportunities offered by digital platforms.
"In January 2020 the Blum sales and marketing team were in full preparation mode for KBB 2020, and the words 'pandemic' and 'furlough' did not exist in our day-to-day communication vocabulary.
"The Blum vision of communication at this point was probably no different than any other organisation within our market sector – it was a mixture of human-to-human contact, with our sales representatives visiting our customers daily, and digital interaction via our website and e-shots. This seemed perfectly acceptable based on the landscape of our business and its needs at that point in time.
"As we are all aware, on the 23rd March 2020 this landscape changed dramatically as the agility and flexibility in the communication strategy of all businesses in all sectors was challenged immediately by the forced lockdown. Like all change, our initial reaction was to enter a phase of denial where we all hoped that this was temporary, and it would not affect our normal way of working. It became apparent quite quickly that this was not the case and we would have to look at new ways of communicating with each other to maintain our relationships with our partners.
"So fast forward to today, May 2021, and three questions need to be answered:
What has Changed?
"Our acceptance of new ways of communicating has changed. In the initial period this was forced upon us due to the circumstances we were living in, but as time went on, we also accepted the benefit and efficiencies of communicating digitally, and the fact that in some cases it was an improvement on how we previously connected. Rather than fight against it, we started to approach the change creatively and use our imagination on how to create and leave positive impressions with each other via a digital interface.
How has it Changed?
"The easy answer to this question is 'we all use Teams/Zoom now' – that is only a small part of the answer. Of course, we are all getting more comfortable having a conversation over a screen with each other, but the major change is our acceptance of new ways of receiving and giving information.
"An example within the world of Blum was the launch of our digital magazine 'The View'. Since launching this idea in July last year, the readership and interaction with the publication have increased month on month. Our partners are delighted with its value, and how we now talk to each other in 2021.
"As I write this piece, I should have been arriving home from the Interzum exhibition in Cologne, but instead we are now presenting the exhibition through an interactive portal called Blum Connects. This was a fantastic opportunity to allow a huge number of partners, who would not have had the opportunity to experience this exhibition, due to its physical location, but are now seeing all the latest innovations from Blum via a digital portal. The worldwide sign-up for this experience was in the tens of thousands – a huge number compared to the numbers who would have visited normally.
Why did it Change?
"Change is never easy for anybody, but the speed of acceptance is influenced by how quickly we all see the benefit within the change. I think we have realised the requirement needed to communicate in a more flexible and fluid way, as we see the immense benefits that it brings for all sides. Here at Blum, as we enter the next chapter of our company’s development, we have accepted the necessity to use all the communication tools available to us on a daily basis so as to provide a premium service to all of our partners."