The Art of the Pivot

pivot usually occurs when a company make a fundamental change to their business after determining (usually through market research) that their product isn’t meeting the needs of their intended market. … Companies will continue to pivot as these needs change or the company discovers new opportunities for the business.

You probably never heard that both Facebook and YouTube started out fully intending to be dating sites, but pivoted to something more unique when they found that dating had already become an over-crowded market. Their pivots were early but real.

On HBO, Silicon Valley is a TV comedy series that follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush. 

The show explores their start up “Pied Piper” when they realize what’s appealing to customers and what isn’t, then decide to focus their efforts on what’s working. In many cases, they find that the product or service that’s clicking with consumers isn’t what their companies were originally founded on.

Communicating the pivot becomes a very important component of the plan.

Here’s how to pivot strategically and boost sales.

  1. Solve a problem. What your current customers have to say will help you to pivot your company and turn your solution into something that really solves a need.
  2. Segment your market. Know your audience. Target those who will benefit the most from your services.
  3. Turn your product into a service. In a product marketing, only 4 P’s of the marketing mix are applicable which are product, price, place and promotion, but in the case of service marketing, three more P’s are added to the conventional marketing mix, which are people, process and physical existence.
  4. Outline the plan. Focus on a product feature and tell people how this helps them.
  5. Become the solution. Communicate how you will guide them to the solution. A “brute force” communication of the new positioning with “relentless repetition.”
  6. Communicate what failure to use your service looks like as well as what success looks like. Demonstration of product or service is one of the best ways to promote it. Further, word of mouth also helps in marketing them.

Facebook was aimed initially at college students, later aimed at consumers in general, and more recently found a lucrative growth path with businesses. Pivots thus are a normal and necessary process in expanding the market, and recognizing cultural shifts as well as kick-starting growth.

Here are four local businesses to my Roswell, GA community that I helped pivot to a new model during this crisis.

I can help you now to create a new communications plan for life after COVID-19. Contact me so we can start work on brainstorming ideas.

Say “Thank You” With Sweets While Sheltering at Home

photo by: Dorie Griggs

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” … I admit that if you are getting a box of chocolates gifted to you, yes, you will not know what is inside. Life is a gift after all, so it makes sense.

Forrest Gump
This is what it looks like from the perspective of the subject. photo by Dorie Griggs

Special moments when you want to show your appreciation are so often done with a big gesture like a: Wedding Cake; Birthday Cake; and seriously, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love cookies?

Right now people are going beyond to help each other. A great example are those in the medical profession like nurses and doctors who are risking their lives with this Corona–19 Virus to save lives.

While New Yorkers are applauding their medical workers, in Roswell, GA people are sending cookies and cakes that “I Canita Cake” makes to their hospitals and first responders.

photo supplied by: I Canita Cake

One of the best ways to motivate kids who are all now homeschooling is snack time rewards. Canita came up with a special decorating kit for parents to use with any age kid.

People are putting gifts out for the mailman and Amazon delivery people that are helping them stay at home.

Canita says her customers are telling her how wonderful she is. This has never happened before.

photo supplied by: I Canita Cake

Gratitude is a basic human emotion that is about our ability to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation. According to leading gratitude researcher Dr. Robert Emmons, the idea of receiving a gift is central to the experience of gratitude. When we feel deeply grateful, one of the gifts we might feel like we are receiving is that of unconditional love.

Some of us find it difficult to be thankful, especially during this time of life challenges. During the most traumatic phase of any tragedy is exactly when we need to connect with each other.

“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

Brené Brown

Listen to what they are doing to serve their Roswell, Georgia Community in this video we did to help them remind they are still open for curbside pickup.

Why Call to Action is so important in Social Media

This week I have done three different videos for three different local restaurants in Roswell, GA. This was my way of giving back and trying to help their people stay employed and pay their bills.

I created very similar format videos for each restaurant and there are some differences, but overall they are all telling customers they are open for carry-out only.

I posted them to my Vimeo account and I can track how many times they have been viewed.

Adele’s on Canton

Let me first share the stats for the most successful video is at the moment based on those who have seen the video. That is the one on Adele’s on Canton. First here is the video again and then the stats.

The view rate for your video is simply your views divided by your impressions. We count an impression every time the Vimeo player loads your video, either on vimeo.com or embedded, and we count a view every time someone hits the play button on your video.

Slopes BBQ

Here is the video on Slopes BBQ and then the stats.

El Porton

Last is my video for El Porton and their stats

What makes one more successful?

Sharing is the number one thing that is determining the success. There is one particular stat that shows by URL. Notice how many are on nextdoor.com. Those are posted by other to nextdoor.

I have been creating websites for clients as well as for myself since 1995. One major problem most people have with creating content is they do not understand why people aren’t calling.

Your mailbox works just like your website, Facebook, YouTube/Vimeo or other social media. It is an address.

If you want to get mail other than junk mail and bills then you have to market your address to the world or some category.

If you have a Facebook account then you most likely have friends. These friends are like a email list you might have in your address book for your email program.

Every time you post to your timeline those who are your friends and have you marked as someone to follow will get a message.

If you look in your profile you can see how many friends you have. Click on the “More” and then click on “Followers” to see how many people actually see your content.

This is where groups are important. If you are following the group guidelines and they let you post certain kind of posts then everyone in that group will see your posts on their timeline.

If you want people to not just see your content but share it as well, you have to ask them. Also you must make the post PUBLIC and not PRIVATE.

You can change privacy settings on an individual post that you want to make shareable by clicking the “Privacy” icon next to the post time stamp and selecting either “Friends” or “Public.” Select “Friends” if you want friends to be able to share the post or select “Public” if you want anyone to be able to see the post.

Tips to get people to Share

  • Make it easy for people to share your content. Any more than 2 to 3 clicks of a button, and it’s too much work to share your content. 
  • Ask them to share it. Don’t make people remember that they could share your content, either. Remind them with a call to action. Pinterest pins with a call to action get 80 percent more shares. Tweets that ask people to retweet them get 51 percent more retweets than tweets that never ask.
  • Use images. Tweets with images are 94 percent more likely to be shared, and photos on Facebook get 53 percent more likes.

To get people to share your content you have to convince them first. Why should users do what you want them to do? Before a visitor is willing to complete a task, they have to recognize the need. 

My Post & Call to Action

My local Mexican Restaurant

[NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 51200, 1/250, ƒ/8, (35mm = 24)]

My car loves to go to certain restaurants and El Porton is just around the corner from our home. I love good Mexican food and the staff at their know my order.

During this trying time of the COVID-19 Virus and restaurants having to close their dining rooms, I wanted to help them to continue to pay their employees.

Here I am coaching Yadira Escobar for the video. photo by Dorie Griggs

During normal times we love to go out and eat to take a break from cooking. Now after self isolating for days many of us are wanting different food. Many restaurants are trying to stay open by offering carry-out and curb-side pickup.

Here some simple things to support your local businesses

  • Buy gift certificates – This is like buying stock in a company. They get to use the money now to pay their employees and you get to use the gift certificate in the future.
  • Buy merchandise – Buy T-Shirts and hats
  • Promote them – Give your favorite local businesses shout-outs on your social media channels
  • Volunteer your services – Maybe help pickup and deliver food to elderly
  • Use Credit or Debit Cards – When you do go shopping, use a credit or debit card instead of cash. Paper money and coins pass through so many hands and carry all types of germs. Limiting the amount of cash you use can help limit the spread of those germs, which is especially important right now.
  • Stay Home if You’re Sick – Don’t put others at risk if you’re sick.
  • Contribute to or start a GoFundMe campaign – Consider donating to an online fundraiser or starting one on behalf of a business whose sales have been wiped out.
  • Leave a Review – A great way to support small business owners is to provide review on Social Media

Do What You Do Best, Then Hire Someone To Do The Rest. Here’s How

Photo by Dorie Griggs

What gifts do you have that others would benefit from right now? I am not a cook. I am not a medical provider. I am a storyteller.

I know that most people could use help telling their stories. I also know that seeing is believing.

I am setting my camera on a slider for the video shoot. Photo by Dorie Griggs

The first thing I lead with on my stories is how these restaurants are solving the audiences problem. That problem is cooking meals at home. There is a point for most people these days that they could use a break.

The second thing most people are interested in is how they can get some of their favorite restaurants food during this crisis, since they cannot go the the restaurant and dine-in.

photo by Dorie Griggs

One of my good friends Greg Thompson talked about him being taught the lesson of do what you are good at and let others do what they are good at on a mission trip.

While in another country the team he was working with were doing some construction. Up on the hill watching them were what they learned were the local construction guys who could use the work. They took up money and paid the guys to work and Greg then did what he was best at doing and that was taking photos.

photo by Dorie Griggs

I am sure you have been in Greg’s shoes as well. I know many of my friends talk about how they tried to save money only to have to call the experts sooner or later to do it right.

Two things I hope this time of crisis is teaching all of us. First know what you are good at doing and help others using those gifts of yours. Second, hire those experts who do it better than you whenever possible.

It is together we do community. While we all need to practice social distancing we can still call and connect with our neighbors.

Time to Give – Not Take!

photo by Dorie Griggs

March Madness means something totally different for 2020. Just a few weeks ago all of our plans were so different than what we ended up doing for this month.

I am watching so many of my friends and neighbors feeling the stress of the uncertainty that CORONA-19 Virus has brought to our lives.

I think this is the best time to reach out and help rather than looking for every way we can survive.

I work with restaurants most of my time. These past two weeks I have looked at local restaurants in my town and could sense how they needed our support. So I reached out to Slopes BBQ where my family has been eating ever since I moved to Roswell in 1993.

photo by Dorie Griggs

I asked Bob White if he would let me do a video to showcase his restaurant and team.

I realized that the number one thing they do is provide a service that meets a real need for many people. Most people get cabin fever and need to get out and they also get tired of eating their own cooking. For some people they don’t even know how to cook.

Here is the video I did to help remind those near Slopes BBQ that they are still open for carry out.

Do me a favor and share the video to your social media posts if you live nearby. Hopefully this will inspire others to help your neighbor.

Proverbs 3:28 tells us “Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.” In this verse, a neighbor is someone who asks for help. We are taught here that a neighbor is to be helped quickly, immediately. It also implies that our neighbor is someone we see regularly.

COVID-19 CRISIS: Danger or Opportunity

Operator Selection, Talent, Human Resources [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 35)]

Nothing can inspire you more than a crisis. The Chinese word for “crisis” is frequently invoked in Western motivational speaking as being composed of two Chinese characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity” respectively.

I had already scheduled some photo shoots this week that I was able to keep, we just took the opportunity to show how my client was responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

My setup this week in my basement studio

I work most all the time with a formal shot list or I have done something so many times that I know the list by heart.

Labor Costs [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

I have had one list that is difficult. The team I am working with had this one category they called “Something that embodies”.

Labor Cost was one of those topics.

Labor Costs [NIKON Z 6, 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/25, (35mm = 60)]

I went online and Googled and looked for images that others had done on the topic. This inspired me.

Family [NIKON Z 6, 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/40, (35mm = 60)]

I wanted to get some small people figurines and thought of Hobby Lobby near me.

I called to see if they were open and they were. I went and found two sets of people. A Family and Young Adults was what I found in the store.

Auto Insurance [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/13, (35mm = 35)]

While there I went ahead and bought some matchbox style car and truck. I used them for the theme of “Auto Insurance”.

Auto Insurance [NIKON Z 6, 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/25, (35mm = 60)]

I then combined the two for other possibilities.

While shooting images is fun, the photos are not really all that usable without a caption and those important “Keywords”.

You can easily add keywords in Adobe Lightroom and here is a video showing you how to do this. Now when it is uploaded to an online library and someone searches, as long as I have created keywords in the metadata they are findable.

Vehicle costs like insurance or maintenance [NIKON Z 6, 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/29, (35mm = 60)]

So for the past couple days I have been being productive and shooting images that will be used by some of my clients.

Healthcare application [NIKON Z 6, 60.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/125, ƒ/18, (35mm = 60)]

This has really helped me keep my sanity and keep me focused. While many are just seeing the “DANGER”, I have chosen to see the “OPPORTUNITY”.

Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL with Nikon Z6

Haley Newbold, team member at Chick-fil-A Roswell Corners FSU, expedites an order to customer in drive-thru. The Dining Rooms are shut down during the Coronavirus outbreak. Paul Joubert’s restaurant Roswell Corners FSU is on their third day of the dining room closed. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/60, ƒ/5.3, (35mm = 98)]

I have really enjoyed working with the Flashpoint XPlor 600 HSS TTL to help with some of my tricky lighting situations.

Here you can see the two flashpoint xplor 600 hss ttl flashes I am using outside to help with the light. [NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/500, ƒ/3.5, (35mm = 28)]

By using the transmitter to change the settings on the flashes allows me to not have to stop shooting where I am standing and go and adjust each flash and then do more test shots. I can shoot and make the adjustments on the fly as they say.

The strobes allow me to keep the background, which is about 5 stops brighter than the subject not blown away. [NIKON Z 6, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/400, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

The canopy had a white ceiling that I bounced off of to get an even light to shoot these photos you see here.

[NIKON Z 6, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/80, ƒ/2.8, (35mm = 15)]

Behind the guys head is one of the lights. The other is near the passenger door of this SUV bouncing as well.

[NIKON Z 6, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/60, ƒ/4.5, (35mm = 48)]

On the other side of the building was the window to the restaurant for delivering food. I didn’t have the same size canopy and used more direct flash that did catch a small overhang to bounce down as well.

[NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/2000, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

At another drive-thru at a different restaurant they didn’t have the canopy. I just had my assistant man the off camera flash and stay about 45º from the camera angle. That usually meant I was on one side of the car shooting and the flash was on the other side.

[NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/400, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

I was shooting wide open at ƒ/1.4 with my 35mm and ƒ/1.8 with my 85mm. Since the flash is TTL it also is HSS. That stands for High Speed Sync.

I shot most all the photos on the overcast day with the strobes at shutter speeds of 1/400 up to 1/2000 with the flash.

Using Nikon’s software I can see how the camera was focusing. It was on eye-tracking. Here I zoomed in so you can see the focus point.

I love shooting at ƒ/1.4, but few images were as sharp as they are now with the Nikon Z6 mirrorless that has eye-tracking.

[NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/800, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

While shooting with the Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8 lets me blur the background which helps you make the subject pop. Using the flash helps get a catchlight in the eyes on an overcast day. It also helps increasing the dynamic range.

TIPS:

  • Use fill-flash
  • Use wide aperture like ƒ/1.4 or ƒ/1.8
  • Use eye-tracking to get that precise focus on the eyes
  • Use Dehaze Slider in Lightroom – Helps bring back detail in hazy BOKEH
[NIKON Z 6, 85.0 mm f/1.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/500, ƒ/1.8, (35mm = 85)]

More Self Isolating Photo Projects

Chelle Leary, Felicia Agostini, Lauren Baxter, Max Hipp, Thomas Beasley, Virginia Roulette [NIKON D4, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, Mode = Manual, ISO 1600, 1/8000, ƒ/5, (35mm = 24)]

“Whenever you go on a trip to visit foreign lands or distant places, remember that they are all someone’s home and backyard.”

― Vera Nazarian

I shot this photo in my backyard a few years ago. This is just to show you some of your best work can happen at home.

Testing of the Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 Art lens for setup [NIKON D750, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 100, 1/3200, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

Many times I am testing some ideas at home that I later execute some place else.

Fruit Stand on farm [NIKON D750, 35.0 mm f/1.4, Mode = Manual, ISO 50, 1/640, ƒ/1.4, (35mm = 35)]

I have spent hours photographing birds that visit our yard.

Red-bellied Woodpecker [NIKON D4, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4000, 1/320, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 300)]
Red-tailed Hawk in our backyard on our deck. [Fuji X-E2, Fuji 55-200mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/4.8, 1/400]

I have also photographed hummingbirds in our yard.

[Nikon, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, ISO 6400, ƒ / 10, ¹⁄₂₀₀₀ sec] [NIKON D4, 120.0-300.0 mm f/2.8, Mode = Shutter Priority, ISO 6400, 1/2000, ƒ/10, (35mm = 600)]

“You can spend your whole life traveling around the world searching for the Garden of Eden, or you can create it in your backyard.”

― Khang Kijarro Nguyen
Mushrooms in yard [NIKON D750, 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 2500, 1/500, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 300)]

Take your camera and just explore your house and yard.

Take your lights outside and have fun as well in your yard.

Pocketwizard AC9 Test

Try your small lights as well. See what you can do with all this time in isolation.

Testing the MagMod for headshots
Taylor Lalli

Something to shoot during self isolation

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1250, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 30)]

This was one of my favorite photo shoots. I loved the Dodge Viper for the lines and styling.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1250, ƒ/8, (35mm = 68)]

I recommend just having fun at your own house taking photos of some fun objects. I went to the local store and bought this car and then just had fun lighting it.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/640, ƒ/7.1, (35mm = 45)]

I even shot this on a super simple Nikon P7000 point and shoot camera.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1250, ƒ/7.1, (35mm = 41)]

I suspended one large 32″ x 40″ soft box above the car on a white seamless.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1250, ƒ/6.3, (35mm = 30)]

After shooting with simple lighting setup I decided to ad some color.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/640, ƒ/8, (35mm = 153)]

So I added some blue and then tried red.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1000, ƒ/7.1, (35mm = 119)]

This is so fun just to take a model car and just have fun seeing what you can do with just a simple light and white background.

Dodge Viper [COOLPIX P7000, , Mode = Manual, ISO 100, 1/1250, ƒ/7.1, (35mm = 41)]

I put this last photo in for scale. I don’t think the local store has sold out of car models. Next time you are buying toilet paper during our coronavirus social isolating crisis, pick up a car and have some fun with your camera and a simple one light. Use a white sheet or since the car is so small, maybe just a pillow case and create some fun images.