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5 Businesses That Are BOOMING In The Middle of A Global Pandemic

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There’s no doubt that 2020 will go down in history as the WORST YEAR EVER. One that, sadly, forced many businesses to close their doors. Yet, despite the economic crisis, social unrest, a global pandemic and massive travel restrictions, some brands managed to not only stay alive, but thrive. How did they do it? Keep reading to discover 5 businesses that are BOOMING right now… 

Alright you guys… now I’m super excited about this week’s article because it is proof that despite the chaos that is coronavirus, there are actually some brands and businesses out there that are THRIVING right now.

When most people think of 2020 they think of a global pandemic, working from home, social isolation, a crashed global economy, and sold-out toilet paper (seriously, who was doing that?)…

But let’s not forget about all the other major events that made a splash in 2020…

Like, oh I dunno… the fact that society at large literally DEMANDED change! The Black Lives Matter movement and a record-breaking number of U.S. voters in the recent election were just a couple of the major ways that people started showing up, speaking up, and demanding that the businesses they support do the same thing… 

To say that the world was forced to pivot would be a massive understatement…

And while there were many businesses that were forced to close their doors forever… (including many small businesses – which makes it SO important to support your local small businesses, guys!)

Other businesses were able to find success despite, and in some cases because of, the global pandemic and powerful social activism… 

So what set the successful companies apart from the ones that were less than lucky? That’s exactly what I’m talking about today!

Hey Posse! What’s up, it’s Alex! And I’m coming at ya this week with another business and branding tutorial that is sure to keep you focused, driven, and motivated as hell. 

Leave me a comment below to let me know you’re here!

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So what is it that keeps a brand hot, when the rest of the world is a hot mess? Well, I’ll give you a hint. Innovation, prioritizing customer wants, delivering mad value, and cutting through the B.S… has a *little* something to do with it…

So here are 5 brands that KILLED IT in 2020 and WHY they were able to not only survive, but thrive during a global pandemic.

#1 Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty

YAAASSS… topping the list is my girl RiRi! 

She has been slaying the lingerie game since 2018 and let’s just be honest here… lingerie and intimate wear is NOT an easy market to make a splash in when companies like Victoria’s Secret have been DOMINATING the space for decades.

But despite having only launched 2 years ago, Savage X Fenty receives more public praise than almost all other lingerie retailers out there…

And while, sure, it helps to be a celebrity with a loyal fanbase… The success of Savage X Fenty goes way beyond the A-lister status of its owner.

Since its inception, this lingerie brand has been passionate about inclusivity… with pieces that have been designed to:

“Eliminate all boundaries and broaden the definition of beauty in an industry that has traditionally had a more narrow definition”

Rihanna is humanizing the lingerie industry by showcasing a diverse range of models wearing her pieces. Models of all sizes, shapes, colors, ethnicities, and genders were represented in her 2020 fashion show.

And speaking of her fashion show… she single handedly proved that lingerie fashion shows can be bold, dynamic, diverse, and empowering AF

The massive success and popularity of her 2019 fashion show helped to put the final nail in the sinking coffin that is Victoria Secret’s fashion show. 

Oh, and if you wanna talk about pivoting… 

2020 was notorious for cancelling A LOT of highly anticipated shows and events… and most of the events that weren’t cancelled, got a lot of public backlash because of their blatant irresponsibility to public health… 

However Rihanna still held her fashion show AND stayed socially responsible. 

How?… Because she innovated.

She opted not to host a live show… but instead pre-recorded a badass lingerie performance and then streamed it on Amazon for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

Genius.

#2 Canva 

What’s something that just about everyone started doing in 2020?…

Looking for unique ways to take their jobs, products and services online! Whether it be creating a new logo, social media posts or branded documents and slide decks, graphic design is an absolutely necessary part of going digital…

Well, Canva disrupted the graphic design industry in a BIG way by making it highly accessible to literally everyone. It is a female owned software company that makes creating graphics and digital design super user friendly…

It is one of our favorite tools here at the Posse and it’s what we use to create all the amazing posts that you see over on our Instagram page…

Canva makes its users feel empowered to design and create beautiful visual images, logos, and graphics WITHOUT taking hours to learn how it works. 

In fact, their app provides hundreds of templates ready to use and edit for your specific needs… everything from menus and fliers, to Instagram or Facebook posts, to birthday invites, or business cards… 

So what set Canva apart from other digital design apps out there?…

Well, they developed a great product… that is actually user friendly…

They are great at listening to user feedback, innovating, refining, improving, and testing their software… constantly.

And they offer it for FREE!!! I’m sorry what?! I love it when I see a brand lead with insane value. They slid into the market when the market needed them most, and they showed up in a big way.

Canva was there when more and more small businesses turned to social media to reach new and existing customers. In fact, design creation and sharing on Canva is up more than 50% since the start of the pandemic.

And guess what? These “free” fans are now fans for life are WAY more likely to upgrade to the paid version. I did. 

And it’s all because of the attitude and values of the brand itself. Here’s a direct statement from Canva’s co-founder:

“We never feel like we’re where we need to be. Achievement unlocks more ambition, and there’s always so much more you can do. I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to deliver the most value we possibly can to our customers”

You can TELL that they completely prioritize their customers’ needs and are constantly innovating and listening to feedback… 

Like when they created a blog called “Design School” where they post design tips, inspiration, and how-tos for people who want to design a brand, be more creative, or learn how to slay a great social media post or unique resume… 

This next-level value is the secret sauce to any brand’s success.

#3 Milk Makeup

Milk Makeup is an edgy and gender neutral makeup company that was started in 2016… 

Just 6 months after launching… they TRIPLED the number of locations that their products were being sold at and they’ve been taking Gen Z by storm ever since. 

From the beginning it was pretty apparent that Milk Makeup would be successful.

They created this makeup brand by building off Photo Studio, an already existing and wildly successful brand, that they had been cultivating and nurturing for years…  

Their existing following included tons of young creatives and artists, who were definitely NOT interested in following the latest trend or being confined by “traditional” beauty standards… 

The Milk brand spent 20 years getting to know their audience… so it goes without saying that they really KNEW what their customers wanted, and then they simply created it.

But they didn’t just try to replicate what was already successful in the oversaturated beauty industry. If they had done that, they likely wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. 

After talking with their customers and actually asking them to test some products… they were able to find out a few key innovations that really shaped the products Milk Makeup ultimately created… 

For starters their customers preferred applying their makeup on the fly. So, with no fancy application tools or trinkets…

They also tended to throw their products haphazardly into their bags (and quite often dropped them on the bathroom floor). So they needed durable and high-quality packaging…

To put it simply, their people were BUSY people who didn’t have a lot of time for application… 

But they did CARE about the ingredients in their products. They wanted products that were cruelty free, good for the environment, and good for their skin…

So Milk Makeup created bold, high-quality and natural makeup products that could be applied on the go… making all genders feel confident, expressive, and able to “live your look”

So it’s really no surprise that their fanbase continued to support them with unwavering loyalty throughout the pandemic… 

As the founder of Milk Makeup would say“When you listen good, it doesn’t matter if you’re listening to the CMO of a major company or a girl in Ohio”

Well said.

#4 Oatly

Oatly is a plant-based milk that’s made out of – yup, you guessed it – oats…

Now this is NOT an overnight success story… Oatly has been around since 1994, and they spent 20+ years pounding the pavement to get their product established in the industry. 

But unlike most other brands out there today… Oatly had a very unique problem on their hands… how do you get people to choose oat milk in the grocery store… when they didn’t even know oats could be milked?!

How do you turn a completely unaware audience into loyal, and raving, fans?

If you guessed, crank out some killer marketing and blast Ads out all over the cyber-sphere… you are totally, completely, and utterly (get it? lol)… WRONG!

When you’re dealing with a completely unaware audience, the very first thing you have to focus on is… getting super specific with WHO your customer avatar is. 

Which is exactly what Oatly did… 

But instead of targeting their ideal customers directly and trying to stand out from the dozens of other lactose-free milks out there… they decided to wiggle their way into the hearts of their ideal customers in an unconventional way…

By adding going straight to the middleman… and using THEM to essentially sell their product for them… 

Yup, the local baristas at your trendy neighborhood coffee shops…

I’ll admit, I had my first Oat Latte at a disgustingly hip cafe in East London. Now I’m hooked.

Yup, Oatly created a Barista Blend specifically for cafes. it was thicker than other plant-based milks, which made it a great dairy-free alternative for baristas to create those cool designs in lattes and cappuccinos. 

Have you ever gone to a coffee shop and asked what their milk options are when ordering your coffee?…

And after the barista lists off about 16 options, you get super confused and ask… “Umm, okay well which one is best?”

And your barista says, “Oat milk works really well because it’s thicker and more like regular milk”… 

So you naturally agree to that one… AND PRESTO! You just became an Oatly consumer. 

You’ve now tried oat milk (something you probably NEVER would have tried on your own account)… and because it was made by your local cafe, you had a great experience… and feel super trendy. 

Making you more likely to order it again the next day, and even BUY IT when you see it on the shelf during your next grocery run. 

And THEN once Oatly had your attention… they started really slaying the marketing game and essentially taking over the plant-based milk world. 

Oatly is fierce and fearless in it’s marketing and they know exactly how to capture attention, gain engagement, and loyalty of their audience.

And this is more than just a ‘marketing stunt’. They actually back up their big talk with big actions.  

In Germany, Oatly petitioned that all food sold in retail should be labeled with the greenhouse gases emitted during production… 

And in Sweden, the company is literally at ‘Milk War’ with the dairy lobby…

They are persistent in their fight for a more sustainable world, and in the meantime customers are resonating with the brand’s mission and brilliant marketing… turning them into loyal, and lifelong fans. 

Oat milk is now widely referred to as “the king of plant-based milk”.

Which is a pretty boss title, if you ask me. 

#5 Dove

Now this is a brand that basically everyone on planet has heard of… 

Dove is a beauty brand that has been a long-leading trend setter in inclusive branding. They were promoting inclusivity and real beauty BEFORE it was cool.

But with more and more brands adopting this trendy “commitment to diversity”… how has Dove managed to stay ahead as the fore-runner?

Well, it helps that they were one of the first major brands to normalize representing real women in their advertising campaigns (back in 2004 with their Campaign for Real Beauty)… 

But they’re continuing to make waves and set trends in the beauty industry, even today… 

In 2020 they made a pledge that their advertising will always feature real women (not models), and that they will NEVER digitally alter their images or videos that are used to promote their products….

That definitely speaks to the growing demand for brands to feature real humans looking… well… um… human. 

Crazy idea, right?

But in today’s world, where more and more brands are becoming “cause driven”… Dove has to do more than just keep up with the latest trends and market demands (although that’s obviously super important)… 

What really sets one “inclusive” beauty brand apart from another “inclusive” beauty brand is, how they make their customers FEEL. 

And in an oversaturated market THAT is what will keep customers coming back again and again, as loyal and raving fans… 

In 2019, Dove’s Brand Relevance score was a staggering 35% higher than the category average. 

Which speaks volumes to the emotional connection that it’s customers feel towards the brand…

To put it bluntly, Dove knows and understands the pain points of its target audience, and they continue to boldly address those issues…

By showcasing inclusivity, diversity, and the representation of ALL humanity. Dove is a brand that is truly timeless and they’ve yet to let us down. 

Watch This Instead:

Now it goes without saying that there are A LOT more brands that saw massive success in 2020. And while the brands I featured in this video saw most of their success due to brilliant branding and spectacular innovating…

There were also a lot of brands that thrived solely because they were able to successfully identify and address market demands and needs. 

Thanks for reading! Remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

I’ll see you next time! Until then, I’m Alex, Ciao for now!

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