Firstly, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients, suppliers, and communities for all their help and support so far during the coronavirus outbreak. Like many others the pandemic has impacted our business, but we are very pleased that we are able to continue to operate and serve our customers from home.
As we navigate our way through our sixth week of working from our ‘virtual nests’, we also need to say a massive thank you to all the Swans. We are very proud of the way each of them has adapted to this new way of working. Those who have been put on the furlough scheme, have a full understanding of the process and appreciate why we have had to make some of our recent business decisions. We continue to work together very much as a team and enjoy catching up with each of the Swans, including those on furlough, during our team meetings and virtual social events.
As the lockdown is extended further, we will continue to do our very best for our clients. With ‘happiness first’ in mind, we will also continue to support one another, stay positive and try to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.
“Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things….curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” – Walt Disney
I read this quote recently (big Disney fan!) and it struck a chord with me. Why? Well we are in a position as a company and as a country where looking back is going to do very little to help us at these times. We need to look forward, to identify the opportunities available to us now, to build on the existing relationships we have and continue to look at new ways to engage with clients, suppliers and of course the Swans.
Having only been Managing Director for 12 months, this challenge has been put in front of me at the very beginning of this journey in my career. It could have been one, that scared, worried or even broken me. Whilst of course being nervous by all the change and the challenges ahead, I felt the best course of action was to be proactive and positive about the situation we are in.
I have had good days and I have had bad days. The constant throughout this however is the support of my wife and the Swans. My collective family have been there for me and for each other and we have combated this challenge together remaining tight as a team, continuing open and honest communication, and keeping the amazing culture of Indigo Swan alive. We have done so through daily challenges such as throwback Thursday, Celebration Wednesday and of course Virtual Drink Cart Friday. We communicate through 3 team meetings a week and even the Swans that have been furloughed get involved and are contacted throughout the week to see what new skills they have learnt, how far they have run or how being a full time parent (and teacher) has been going.
Our customers have continued to be provided our world class service. Our relationships with suppliers continue to grow and we continue to keep the channels of communication open and honest amongst all three parties, as we do with our Swans daily.
I am so extremely proud of every Swan, how they have tackled COVID-19, how we have been able to provide a business as normal service. I truly know that by looking forward and not backwards, we will be even stronger for it.
Marketing feels like it has become very uncertain ground for most businesses. Should we stop our campaigns? Should we pull budgets? Events needing to be postponed and a lot of uncertainty around when things will return to ‘normal’ – if at all! Yes, we have had to make some changes to our strategies since COVID-19, just like many others, but our message is still the same – we are here to help and serve our clients.
Collectively we do not feel now is the time to ‘sell’ what we do – although this has never been our focus. Instead we are using this time to offer guidance and positivity. For the time being we are focusing on providing interesting, informative, and useful content. Whether this is through our podcast, which we have been recording remotely, or written blogs on our website. We are also beginning to look at how we can hold some of our events virtually which is very exciting and something we have never done before! It will be a challenge but one we are welcoming.
Here at Indigo Swan we have an ‘unflinching commitment to finding a better way’ and never have these words been so prevalent. During this pandemic we have embraced new technology and methods to help us continue to spread the Swan word. We have reached out to the community to offer guidance and to see how we can help others. We all have the freedom to choose how we react to situations. For us COVID-19 has given us a huge opportunity to look at things differently and evolve our approach to marketing.
For me personally, I hope you have been enjoying the content we have put together over recent weeks and that there has been something you have found useful, even if only as distraction when most needed from everything else going on right now.
There is a thoughtful image doing the social media rounds of a sailing boat on the sea. The caption is “We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm”. I sent the image to a manufacturing customer who is having a tough time as their business cannot operate within the 2m physical distancing rules, so their entire operation is on hold for the foreseeable future. This is a business he has built from scratch and, with his wife, has sunk blood, sweat and a shedload of money in to ensure he can offer skilled jobs in an otherwise quite deprived area. He was so grateful that I had picked up on how he was feeling and offered an outlet for him to vent about his frustration and unfairness of the whole situation.
The main message that my team of Client Guides are communicating to customers is that we are here for you. We are here to help you during this confusing and difficult time, and we’re here to navigate the complexity of the energy market to ensure you are paying the most appropriate amount taking into consideration the individual needs of your business.
“Celebrate individuality” is important now more than ever. Every one of our customers is responding to the crisis in their own way. Some are seriously struggling and cannot see a way out the other side, others are thriving and will more than likely record their best ever financial results. Regardless of the position you are in, the Indigo Swan team are still available to answer any contract queries, capitalise on historic low wholesale prices and help steer you through these troubling waters that we are all in.
“Instead of giving up in the face of adversity, you should face it with a positive attitude and smile” – Anurag Prakash Ray
We made the difficult decision to furlough some of the Swans meaning a greater burden was placed on Sophie, Leanne and myself from a Client Services perspective. I could not be prouder with how the two of them have risen to the challenge and continued to offer exceptional service to our clients. Especially as suppliers have temporarily closed some of the channels we rely on for information and responses are a little harder to get. I also have a newfound level of respect for the guys who have been furloughed. Each week I catch up with them and they are so eager to get back to work and help their follow Swans and clients. I feel extremely lucky to be working with a company such as Indigo Swan during these strange times.
Personally, I have had mixed feelings over the last couple of months. I have really enjoyed working from home, but as time has gone on and holidays are being cancelled and DIY projects are slowly running out, the reality of this increasingly strange situation is slowly becoming apparent. This coupled with the growing uncertainty of when a degree of normality will return is currently cranking up the anxiety levels. I can imagine many of our clients and suppliers are in exactly in the same situation. For me, I am trying to focus on the small positives. For example, the newly promoted Colonel Tom Moore and the fact I am still able to add to my vinyl collection.
I love learning how innovative some companies have been over the last few weeks in finding new ways to deliver their goods and services. Seeing what some of our clients have done to adapt has been truly inspiring. We ask you to please get in touch if you would like a chat about your energy, or if you have a good news snippet or an idea to share! We are here to share smiles as well as help you out.
We pride ourselves on being open and honest, something we know our clients appreciate. Our transparent approach will continue throughout these times of uncertainty and we will do our best to make sure we keep you updated. In the same way we began this update, we could not end without another note of thanks. Thank you to all those who checked in with each of us, our clients and the suppliers we work with for being so understanding and for each of the Swans for being truly ‘aweswan’!
James, Jaime, Aimee and Tom
Head of Marketing