2020 is at its close and while we might be ready to ring in 2021, we also want to look back at what made this year a unique one for picnic social and other small businesses. All in all, it’s been a wild ride with a lot of high and lows. However through our review of the year we recognize how much we’ve witnessed – and even accomplished – during what India’s prime minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, coined “the year of internal discovery”.
- Helped small businesses pivot during the pandemic.
- We supported causes that mattered and engaged politically.
- Rebranded from SNAP to picnic social strategies.
- We expanded to a full-scale marketing agency with the mission to help small businesses grow and thrive.
You might be wondering how we managed to do all of that while keeping our own business afloat. It wasn’t easy but our values Innovate, Elevate, and Collaborate, became our North Star to drive success for us and our clients.
Read below on how we put our three values into creating an incredible first year for picnic and what we can expect for in 2021.
1. We changed the name of our business
At the start of January, we wanted to expand our former company, Snap Social Media Strategies, into something bigger and more tangible. To do that we recognized our name needed to reflect our new values. Snap was providing quick and efficient services to a variety of small businesses already, however, as we came to grow, the more we realized how important team collaboration was to us and our clients’ success.
The idea of a picnic where everyone came together to share ideas, conversation, engagement, and traction matched our new values. Thus we donned the plaid blanket and out of the basket, picnic was born.
2. We taught ourselves and small businesses how to pivot
Remember spring and how popular the word “pivot” was? It was the theme during the start of the pandemic and touched on the shifts small businesses would need to make in order to continue working in 2020. picnic was no different and we relied on the guidance from a trusted team of experts to pivot our own agency into this new time.
Big thank yous go to our business advisor, Chris Aconley for building our company goals and action plan for the year. Thank you also to Gisele Forge of Workshop Creative for designing our new brand and aesthetic, and Mahdi Sahebnasagh of Twelfth Dream, for carrying out our brand onto our new website. Lastly thank you to the team of picnic for envisioning the future of our company through our team values and mission.
How we helped our clients pivot
We also helped our clients pivot during these interesting times. We highlighted Good Space Plans Online’s full scale online renovation packages. As well as did weekly takeovers of other small businesses in Vancouver to support the community.
We helped create for Thuja Wellness a marketing plan to educate women about natural fertility options for women in their thirties and forties and supported the transition to online services during the pandemic.
picnic worked with Ushi Mart to create a holiday market for small businesses around Hamilton and got them featured in local media.
We worked tirelessly to support Vancouver local businesses this year and keep our own clients successful. We’re proud to say that not a single client went out of business in 2020. Better yet, we’ve doubled the number of clients since we started this year! For that, we’re eternally grateful.
3. We supported causes that mattered and engaged politically
The George Floyd protests began the day picnic’s rebrand was launched. There are times when we must take a step back from our own platforms and listen to the causes that matter. It gives us the insight and knowledge from there to support and enact meaningful change through effective means.
Therefore, rather than talk about it, we took the time to donate and provide support to local #blacklivesmatter initiatives. picnic also assisted our clients who wanted to share their platforms and financial support for protests and causes throughout the year.
We thank Good Space Plans Online and Bombay Brow Bar in particular for speaking out and speaking up on social issues, including the farmers’ protests in India. We are honoured to be working for businesses that believe in human rights and justice for all.
4. We created a holiday market for Ushi Mart and Hamilton small businesses
This year picnic wanted to go beyond digital marketing and foray into public relations. Where most businesses would shudder at the thought of creating in-person marketing during COVID-19, however, we saw it as an opportunity to help local and lift spirits.
The Ushi Holiday Market started on November 28th and was a huge success.
- They had over 50 vendors of local businesses from Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area join them.
- We kept people safe through strict COVID safety measures.
- We got the Ushi Holiday Market to be featured in The Hamilton Spectator, CFMU Radio, and CHCH TV.
- The full price of the tickets to the market went to Wesley Urban Ministries.
picnic will be using this market as building blocks for other PR opportunities for our clients! Meanwhile, follow us on our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep up to date with our latest projects we have planned in 2021.
What to expect for small businesses in 2021
Expecting the unexpected is a major theme we’ve learned from 2020. While we can’t predict everything that’s going to happen, we can share hindsight with what we’ve already seen. Here are some clear signs to be prepared for.
Social media to rise and retain
This winter, social media budgeting in the US was 13% higher than last year. The trends for social media will continue to rise even in 2021. You don’t want to be left in the lurch in the digital race to come. For just $100 a month, you could see bigger ROI from a good content plan and ad spending.
Want to expand your reach and find more success in 2021? Find out about our digital marketing plans here.
Availability and access are key differentiating features
According to McKinsey, the main reason why consumers may switch brands is due to availability. This year many small businesses began to compete with big name brands like Amazon. The ones that are successful are the ones that provide easy access and availability to consumers. Adding value to your digital store like free shipping, free tool-kits, and better quality are the best ways to keep consumers loyal to your product.
Increased brand-to-brand collaboration
A big reason why small business clients, like Ushi Mart, are so successful is because of their collaboration with other small businesses. Brand-to-brand collaboration, social media takeovers, joint partnerships, and promotions are all efforts small businesses can make towards increased awareness and interest.
Want to start a small business in 2021? You may have to look at more alternative ways to gain startup funds for their small business. Crowdfunding, government grants, blockchain technology, and other alternative routes will be areas of navigation for entrepreneurs in 2021.
Purpose and social issues
More than ever, young people want to work and support a company that has strong purpose and social engagement. Businesses that fail to show a strong ethical purpose may fail to attract younger audiences that are entering the workforce. It’s important that companies begin to reflect on their values now so they can be ready to show that in 2021. Being eco-friendly will also be an important expectation now for small businesses.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offer a huge silver lining and eventual decline of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. But don’t expect remote working to go away any time soon. Many companies have seen the benefits of remote working as cost-effectiveness and efficiency. picnic has always had remote work even before COVID. Read about how we keep our team accountable, connected, and collaborative even when working remotely.
2020 has been about the power of small businesses
When we look back at this eventful year, we’re filled with pride to think of the strength and resiliency of small businesses. Even through some tears and anxiety, their passion and perseverance has kept us motivated. 97.8% of businesses in Canada are considered small businesses. We keep the gears in motion for our local economies, jobs, and communities. We are essential.
2020 has cemented the fact that picnic is at the service of small businesses. Just as India has been through a “year of internal discovery”. It was through the challenges and successes we faced in 2020 that led us to discover our unyielding passion for small businesses and entrepreneurship. We can’t wait to continue that in 2021.