Create opportunities in times of crisis

Photo of the author: María Lucía Villegas

María Lucía Villegas


4 min read.

As a society, we are going through a historical moment in which we collectively started to reorganize our priorities, affecting how we consume products and services. For example, many of these new requirements or factors affecting our consumer decisions relate to the environment or physical and mental health.

This is because, during the covid-19 pandemic, some of these issues and how they affect us individually and collectively began to become visible. Consumers went through a time of fear and uncertainty that led us to implement short and long-term solutions to different social problems

A clear example of how consumer habits reprioritized after the COVID-19 crisis can be seen in 2020 in the popularization of start-ups, especially black-owned businesses. During the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, many ways in which the African-American population in the United States has been and continues to be marginalized became visible.

One of these problems was the difficulty people have in entrepreneurship because it is more difficult for them to get lines of credit, investors, or loans to bring their business to life. During the pandemic alone, 40% of African American-owned businesses were permanently closed. Thanks to this awareness, there was a wave of support for this community from consumers globally, buying and volunteering to support black-owned businesses.

This is one of many examples that illustrate this type of behavioral change in people's consumption.

Most trends that began to emerge from before the pandemic were accelerated by the chaos of 2020. Now they are here to stay. There are new needs that arise and which you too can take advantage of to grow your business and offer your customers just what they need.

Great companies are born in times of recession

Some of the most influential companies globally, such as Disney, CNN, FedEx, Airbnb, and Microsoft, took advantage of new opportunities created from crises to meet these arising needs. We will analyze the Disney case study, a company born during the economic recession of the post-war crisis in 1920.

In 1919, after the end of the First World War, all countries involved began a period of economic reactivation to combat the consequences of the war, amongst which were inflation, lack of jobs, and the accumulated debts generated during the war.

During the recession, the need for entertainment arose. Spaces in which people could escape from the economic crisis and the reality in which they were living. Thus, in 1920, Walt Disney began his first attempt at entrepreneurship, although he went bankrupt after a year due to a lack of customers.

After this, Disney did not stop, he dedicated the following years to study animation techniques and improve his skills to continue to pursue his dream. Another limitation that Disney was able to identify was the place where he was trying to start since he was in Kansas City, some of the opportunities he found were not suitable for the animation industry. So he decided to move to Hollywood, where he got a job in a production company in New York.

The following years continued to be complicated as World War II began. However, all these adversities shaped a defining moment for Walt Disney's career and the founding of his company. At this time, the need for entertainment resurfaced and its consumption increased as a form of escape; just as it had happened in 1920.

Although the situation was similar, it was not the same. This time the entrepreneur had strengthened his animation skills, had contacts in the industry and was located in the cradle of the world's audiovisual productions.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, and because of problems he had experienced in the production company where he worked, Disney decided to resign and open his own company. What differentiated them from other production companies was their ability to synchronize audio and image.

Four things we can learn from the Disney case in 2021

The key to success depends on your environment and your skills, so it's different for everyone. Here are four lessons we can apply in 2021 to find opportunities and take advantage of the change in the consumption of our potential customers.

The first is to explore, learn and adapt to your environment. Disney would not have been possible without its founder's ability to observe his surroundings and understand that his location also affects his business, which is why he decided to move to a city where it would be easier to achieve his goals.

In addition, Disney was clear that to achieve his goals, he needed to strengthen his know-how. He took some time to learn about animation, work in places where he could put it into practice, and acquire knowledge about the industry.

Another important point is to know your allies. When founding the company for the second time, Disney had his brother, who also had industry experience, and his former boss, a producer of animated commercials in Kansas City. He assembled a high-performing team, without which it would have been impossible to apply the winning formula to run the company.

Finally, do technology surveillance. One of the main problems faced by the big companies was the synchronization of audio and image when it came to animation, which is why the short films produced at the moment only included images. However, Disney managed to find a way to innovate and solve the problem thanks to the tech support he obtained.

Don't know where to start?

In Axiacore, we have a multidisciplinary team that differentiates itself by helping you apply these four skills in your company. Together we generate digital strategies according to your needs and those of your consumers. Working as a team, we find opportunities and create high-impact solutions. Great entrepreneurs are born in moments of crisis!

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