COVID-19 has hit us and it has hit us hard. But in between all the negativity and crippling worry, it’s important to look at some semblance of a bright side with the creativity that is being produced by many South African businesses and brands.


Businesses that sell non-essential goods have been hit particularly hard as they can no longer operate, yet expenses such as rent and salaries continue to build up.

Many such places are offering vouchers and asking people to purchase vouchers that will be valid when they are able to open their doors again.

One such place is The Book Lounge, an incredible book store that has been the venue for many book launches and has an amazing collection of books.

They are appealing to customers to continue supporting them with vouchers and, whether you get for yourself or as gifts for family and friends, it is a great way to show support.

Online Courses

With many people stuck at home, more time becomes available and offering courses is a good way to reach customers and get them to visit your website and explore your content.

Yuppiechef is offering their cooking school courses for free during lockdown. It adds value and, if you think about it, it’s a great way to increase loyalty and trust in the brand.

Plus, if you need something to make one of the recipes, you’re already on their website! Win win!

Live Shows

This point is relevant to musicians who are unable to hold concerts and have moved online to offer free live shows. Goldfish (is it cheating if they live overseas?) and Jeremy Loops have been hosting live concerts on Instagram and YouTube.

It’s a good way to stay on top of mind and ensure that fans remember to stream your music and support you in any way that they can digitally. It offers a different type of engagement, such as Goldfish’s Swim Team on Zoom.


With the above mentioned free time, some brands have been offering challenges. Two that come to mind are Nikon and Orms.

They’ve been putting forward photography tasks and challenging people to follow the brief for the chance to either be featured, in Orms’ case, or win a prize, in Nikon’s case.

It’s a great way to generate buzz and social engagement online. If people are talking about you on their own platforms, it can only encourage their followers and friends to visit your social pages to take part too. An important and fun part of community building!


As someone who has done a lot of Nikon workshops in the past, I have been doing some of Nikon’s webinars – free and paid – that I have found to be incredibly valuable.

My favourite one so far has got to be by Emma O’Brien focusing on how to market yourself as a photographer. Incredibly interesting and a great way to get people to practice their photography and in turn keep your products in mind.

The temptation to get a Macro lens is incredibly strong. This shows the power of these webinars and how they can have an impact on your purchasing decisions – whether intended or not.

A photographer holding a camera
Source: Nikon School


I’ve been enjoying NOMU‘s daily recipes for each day of lockdown. They send a daily email (as well as sharing to social media) and it’s a great way to keep in touch with customers.

The recipes do include some of their products making it a great tool to show people how to use their products and encourage them to try them out. They are luckily able to still operate under lockdown and have been offering discounts to further encourage their customers to support them during this time.

Online Shopping

Takealot had a big struggle with trying to get their website and app “essential goods” friendly, which did take a while although it’s understandable with the sheer volume of product that they offer.

Bottles, an app that focused exclusively on liquor, adjusted incredibly well by pairing up with Pick n Pay to sell groceries online. A smart move considering alcohol is not exactly on the essential goods list.

Many brands have been quickly trying to make the jump to online shopping during this time. Online shopping has, quite rightly so, increased in popularity and it will be interesting to see how this influences shopping trends in the future.

Final Thoughts

With so many creative ideas that we can use to keep on top of our customers’ minds, keep creating and keep putting your brand out there. The power of social and online media is incredibly strong and taking advantage of its power is a good way to remain in touch with customers and keep their loyalty during this time.

Unfortunately, the world is in a state of turmoil that, at this stage, has no end date in sight. If you are able to, try and support small businesses – now at this time and afterwards too. As consumers we have incredible power.

Stay safe everyone. By looking after yourself and self-isolating, you’re helping your community, friends and family in turn.

Feature image from Pixabay.