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How an Airport, a Fly and a Urinal Can Help Your Business Change for Good

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Covid-19 has turned our world upside down. But at Positive – more than ever – we’re determined to be “Change Architects for the Good”. Here’s a word from our Chief Exec, Julian, on how we’ve adapted our working ways and have continued to work closely with our clients to provide integrated solutions to their business problems.

 

"Waiter there's a fly in my..."

 

 I’m sure you’re thinking of the next line.

 

“....there’s a fly in my soup, what’s it doing there?”

 

“Breaststroke I think sir”

 

says the waiter.

 

But, in this case I’m going to say, “Waiter there’s a fly in my urinal!”.

 

I know, a bit different hey? But, there’s a reason. Did you know when they refurbished Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, the architects etched the image of a black housefly into the urinal bowls?

 

Apparently, men tend not to pay too much attention to where they aim which can create a bit of a mess, but if they have a target, attention and therefore accuracy increases. In fact, so much so that a study conducted in Schiphol found the fly etching reduced mess by 80%, making the toilets far more pleasant to be in and reducing the cleaning costs significantly.

 

Why on earth am I writing about such things in such times you may wonder? Well, I have a point, I promise. In my newly isolated evenings, I have been reading some of those ‘good for me’ books which I’ve bought over the years but found their way to my dusty, must read sometime shelf. This is where I came across the fly story – in the book ‘Nudge’ by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

 

According to Thaler and Sunstein, people in all walks of life are, possibly without realising it, “Change Architects”. Looking at everyday things in slightly different ways – small rather than wholesale change – can make a huge impact on what we can achieve.

 

Let’s face it, all our lives have changed beyond what anyone imagined could or would happen, and some of this change may be forever; some hopefully more temporary. As such, we have all become “Change Architects”. We’ve changed the way we interact and socialise with one another – either 2 metres distance, or separate rooms; families isolated apart and together. Who here has had a Google Hangout over dinner with friends yet? If you haven’t you should try it, it’s great fun.

 

Of course, we’ve also changed the way we work – the way we are holding meetings, pitches, the way we are communicating, travelling (or lack thereof), shopping and consuming media.

 

At Positive we’ve had some clients forced to cut some or all their spend. Others have chosen to get on the front foot and spend to support existing business, taking advantage of new and unexpected levels of interest and sales. Or, just to make sure that when we pull out of this crisis, they will be the first brand customers turn to.

 

Changing spends from acquisition led PPC to relationship and brand led social media, display and email for example is helping us keep our clients in touch with their customers.

 

Letting customers know what this all means for their favourite brands and services, and that they will be there for them one way or another is a way of managing this change.

 

And of course, pivoting your content plans to strike the right tone can help shift the world’s growing scepticism of brands and brand communication, to rebuild trust. Surely, it’s times like this that gives us all a chance to become “Change Architects for the Good.”

 

At Positive, we are more than ever determined to be “Change Agents for the Good”.

 

We’re helping Turn2us, one of our charity clients and one of the UK Government’s recommend Benefits Calculator partners, keep their website stable whilst their traffic quadrupled after numerous media articles and being featured on ITV.

 

We’re providing clients with free video brainstorms to drive new and situation relevant thinking on how to beat this crisis when budgets are on hold.

 

We’re helping clients fix their houses by rechannelling media spend into attending to all those wobbly shelves and squeaky doors in their websites whilst we have the time and the redirected budgets.

 

So, remember the fly? It doesn’t have to be a huge thing or spend to create real change. It takes great ideas, willing people and minds open to change. If we all work together, we can make these changes for the good.

 

To try and help with this, we’ll be sending out a regular note to provide some ideas and resources for change – either generally or specifically – that will hopefully help us all through this. You can also keep an eye out on our social channels as we are preparing new content to keep us all smiling, inspired and learning.

 

If you want to email or better still just pick up the phone to call us/me about how we could help, you then be our guest. We’re not going anywhere.

 

Positive thoughts to you all.

 

Julian

 

Chief Exec, Positive