Pivot and thrive – How to adapt and survive during a crisis

By Carys Bryant,


What’s your first reaction to sudden and unexpected change?

Really it all comes down to your fight or flight response.

For many, a change to their daily ritual can spark uncertainty and concern, or dependant on the severity of the change, panic.

However, change doesn’t always need to be negative. A sudden shift in business, for example, can present diversification and opportunity to help you not just survive but thrive.

This is the question many businesses have faced, under the most severe of circumstances, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

The word unprecedented really can’t be overstated enough in terms of what businesses have dealt with, but really never before have we seen a risk scenario as unpredictable and confusing as this.


Agility is key

Despite its economically devastating impact, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of agility in business.

Adapting both personally and professionally during this tumultuous time has been key to survival – whether it has been adopting remote and home working, adapting your product, or altering your service.

As demonstrated, some businesses have managed to thrive or pivot in innovative and lucrative ways – and we’re not just talking about the off-the-chart success of hand sanitiser brands!

Here are some of the best examples:


Home Workouts

With self-improvement, exercise, and wellness becoming a dominant theme throughout lockdown, online yoga saw its popularity soar.

One of the most successful online instructors is yoga queen Adrienne Mishler.  Paper magazine called Adriene (of Yoga by Adriene) ‘the patron saint of quarantine’ as her online yoga tutorials became essential viewing for the lockdown masses.

Her videos gained such popularity that if you Google online yoga, she’s top of the search results, and her already die-hard fan base of over six million subscribers before the pandemic, leapt by one million over the past few months – with her classes soaring to over 770,000 views in June.

With the pandemic driving many to exercise at home, Adriene’s online yoga classes offered an easy, accessible, and affordable solution to keep your body and mental-wellbeing in check.


Digital streaming services

Watched all of Netflix during lockdown? Then you’re not alone.

Netflix saw an additional 15.7 million subscribers sign up for the streaming service in the first quarter of the year, as lockdown measures were implemented.

And the launch of Disney+ also coincided with millions of children being told to stay home from school. And thanks to the addition of films such as Frozen 2, and Hamilton, it seems like everyone is signing up.

The addition of Hamilton to Disney+ has successfully tapped into the gap in the theatre market, with many theatres forced to close their doors during the pandemic.

Those itching to see their favourite actors tread the boards and soak in the theatre experience flocked to Disney+, with global downloads following Hamilton’s release reaching 752,451, app downloads were 46.6% higher worldwide compared to the four weekends before.

Suddenly, the hit Broadway show that no one could get tickets to pre-coronavirus, is now available worldwide for everyone’s enjoyment.

And the BBC also got in on the lockdown scheduling with Staged (available on BBC iplayer) which is a six-part TV series, filmed entirely with the cast in isolation and over a Zoom call. Featuring A-list cameos from Samuel L Jackson and Judy Dench, this captivated audiences from their living rooms.


Cooking for convenience

Hands up, who’s over-indulged during lockdown?

Yes, comfort food and cooking has reigned supreme during lockdown, with thousands of cooking enthusiasts turning their hand to a recipe or six.

TV chef, Jamie Oliver, recognised an opportunity here and launched his Keep Cooking and Carry On show, supporting the nation’s new-found love for cooking, while adapting recipes if ingredients were unavailable.

Finding that he couldn’t produce a regular TV show from his state-of-the-art studio kitchen, he enlisted the help of his wife and children to film the series on their iPhones. The result of this pivot, a great new TV show in a format we could all relate to, especially with his toddler, River, running in and out of shot.


Food on the go

Can’t cook? No problem!

The food delivery sector has boomed over the past few months, with spending on meals kits and grocery boxes sent to people’s doors rising by 114% in April, according to figures from purchase intelligence platform Cardlytics.

Pizza Pilgims, one of the best pizza restaurants in London, also got a slice of the lockdown action when it diversified its offering. After losing all custom as the pandemic took hold, they decided to pivot and began to offer £15 frying pan pizza kits. The first 50 reportedly sold out in 20 seconds.

The demand grew to such an extent, that they had to open another of their restaurants to satisfy the demand.

On a more local level, we saw the Hare and Hounds in Aberthin and the Ashburnham Hotel in Pembrey, offering delivery of their much loved Sunday Roasts.


Social sentiment equals success

In a time of unprecedented change and global crisis, social sentiment, or supporting a worthwhile cause, has become even more vital.

As house-bound online consumers choose which brand to support, they are drawn increasingly to socially conscious brands which stand for something and represent what they believe.

As such, many brands have made the ultimate selfless pivot and diversified to support the health service rather than generate revenue.

Renowned British brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Burberry and The Royal Mint have adapted their offering over the past few months to produce PPE and other essential equipment for the NHS.

The Royal Mint, based in Llantrisant, started making medical visors for the NHS, and supplied them directly to The Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

Lateral, and not commercial, thinking such as this inevitably increases positive sentiment from consumers, who are then likely to demonstrate their loyalty to the brands and provide longer-term benefits for their actions.


Pivot and thrive

Clearly, a crisis doesn’t have to spell disaster for business, examine the market, look for a niche, and adapt your offering.

You never know when a pivot could be the key to success.



If you require any marketing or communications support during the Coronavirus pandemic, please get in touch.

Carys is our Marketing Manager here at jamjar and is responsible for developing and implementing bilingual marketing campaigns for clients.