Update from ICON regarding COVID-19

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic blindsided us, the Australian economy appeared to be slowing, with bushfires, floods, and weak wages growth dampening consumer spending. At Icon Visual Marketing we too were thrown off a little, but we quickly refocused and drew on some great historical examples of business resilience to stay positive.

It would be really easy for us and many other small and medium-sized Aussie companies to pull down the shutters and ride out this period, But we’re determined to emerge stronger than ever and are committed to helping you manage your business in this crisis.

When we look back on other business downturns, we find some great examples of organisations that actually started when many companies around them were failing.

While Australia’s 2020 recession will likely dwarf those that came before it, we can use our business resilience and emerge stronger by understanding how to manage our business in times of crisis using both new and proven marketing tactics.

A few stories that have inspired us about business leadership during uncertain times include General Motors, IBM, Disney, and even technology behemoth Microsoft.


General Motors launched during a major business panic

The so-called panic of 1907 was recognised as the first global financial crisis of the 20th Century when the New York Stock Exchange plummeted by 50 per cent in just three weeks. The panic itself lasted just six weeks, but its effects were felt for two years and many companies struggled to stay afloat.

But rather than seeing it as a deterrent, William C. Durant saw it as an opportunity and used his business leadership to form General Motors in 1908 with the purchase of the Buick Motor Company. He then followed this by scooping up a further 20 automobile firms and turned his experience in making horse carriages into making cars.

In 2020 General Motors remains a very successful global organisation that’s demonstrated business resilience for more than 100 years. Its 2019 revenue reached US$137.2 billion, and today General Motors is even producing 50,000 face masks a day to help battle COVID-19 in the US.


Computer giant IBM launches amidst two-year panic

IBM, another US household name, also had its early days impacted by a financial downturn, this time in 1911. Originally known as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR), it was founded in June 1911 by Charles Flint.

IBM got its start selling commercial and business machines right in the middle of a two-year panic. While many industries experienced double-digit declines in activity, Flint showed amazing business leadership and CTR thrived, eventually changing its name to IBM.

Under its new IBM name, CTR went on to become the leader in technology that would support the digital revolution, making billions along the way. Today IBM is pioneering developments in artificial intelligence using its Watson platform and recently recognised three Aussie women for their AI leadership.


Everybody loves a fairy tale, especially when times are tough

The wonderful world of Disney started when brothers Walt and Roy Disney started Walt Disney Productions in 1929, right when the Great Depression which would go on for years, was gathering steam.

The brothers showed huge business resilience, and perhaps they understood that the world needed to smile more than ever before. When the rest of the country was deep into the Great Depression, Walt produced the first-ever full-length animated musical feature at the cost of $1.5 million. It appears as though the Great Depression was never going to curb Walt’s ambition.
Mickey Mouse's adventures buoyed Americans through the Great Depression and kept Disney's business afloat. In 1937, the studio released its first full-length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Today, Disney is a major player in TV streaming and could reach 200 million Disney+ subscribers by 2025.


Microsoft launches in the immediate aftermath of 1975 recession

While Bill Gates has received plenty of criticism for market domination, you can’t help but admire his business leadership. In 1973, an oil crisis coupled with a stock market crash led to a 16-month recession where the US economy took its worst hit in 20 years.

This significant economic decline didn’t stop Bill Gates and Paul Allen from developing their new computer software business, Microsoft, which launched in April 1975, just days after the recession was considered officially over. Within a decade, the company grew substantially and has continued to set standards around the globe for computer software and systems.


How will your business emerge from COVID-19?

At Icon Visual Marketing we know that we’ll look back at the COVID-19 pandemic and see business success stories emerge. There’s already been plenty of business growth with video conferencing, sanitiser manufacturing, and loads of online services, to name a few. But there will surely be plenty more, so watch this space. 


Icon Visual Marketing is a full-service marketing agency in South West Sydney. Call us on 1300 138 984 if you’d like to discuss how we can help with your COVID-19 exit strategy.