The tortoise, the shark and the lion

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Beer O'Clock

A month into unprecedented social distancing measures, it’s a great time for self-reflection on how we have reacted to this challenge as business owners and operators. The rapid and necessary shift to online has provided us a rare opportunity to assess our response compared to others on a broad scale, and provide valuable food for thought as we consider our own business response. Questions to ask ourselves include:  Are our customers happy? Do we know what they are thinking?  Is our strategy working? These questions are important to ask ourselves, as while no denying it’s tough out there, demand for many industries has not decreased, rather just shifted. 


Businesses seem to responding in three main ways, as:

  • Tortoises;

  • Sharks; or

  • Lions. 

What do these animals represent? We’re so glad you asked. 


A tortoise is hiding with their head in their shell, hoping that when they reemerge everything will be back to normal and they can continue business as usual. Slow and steady may have previously won the race, but the course has changed. The market is never going to be the same, and the competition will look completely different (think online fitness classes, restaurants serving takeaway meals and more working from home realities). tortoises need to consider when your business does emerge how are you going to compete when everyone else is running a new race?


The shark is slashing prices to try and keep any income coming in and make a splash in social media message boards, but not necessarily delivering the same quality and service. The sharks are closing metaphorical beaches - as this gouging has negative implications for their entire sector. Rather than focus on strategy and points of difference, price becomes the only factor and it’s a race to the bottom. 


The lion is out there, and you can hear its roar across the plains. Lions are communicating with their customers about what they are doing, how they are doing it, and making sure they know in return how their customers are. The strength of the lion in the Covid-19 business jungle is they know their strategy inside and out, so their message is clear and able to cut through the competitive online marketing space. 


So what are you? And be honest with yourself, because everyone is doing the best they can to keep jobs and income. But when reflecting on how you have responded to the last month, ask yourself is your current covid strategy viable in the long-term? 

Businesses that are doing right are seeing increases in productivity, with some seeing new possibilities emerge for future operations. A solid strategy will provide the foundation for your business, and when executed well will provide clarity in your communications, cutting through the noise of a competitive market place.

KEO acknowledges the Kamilaroi/ Gamilaroi/ Gomeroi people as the traditional custodians of the land we work on.

We recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of the Aboriginal community and have the utmost respect for Elders past, present and emerging.

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