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One year on: How businesses have survived COVID-19

Following the past few months of Covid-19 community outbreaks in Auckland and as the anniversary of the first lockdown passes, thought leadership studio Intelligent Ink share insights into why some businesses have come out on top, while others have failed to thrive during the ups and downs of riding out a pandemic.

"Businesses that have thrived are the ones that have focused on building real relationships," says Christina Wedgwood, owner and founder of Intelligent Ink.

"The last year has made us all more human – Zoom calls during lockdown gave us a glimpse into each other’s homes. We connected as people, met each other’s pets, and had the inevitable interruptions of children.

"However, where those interruptions might once have signalled that we didn’t ‘have it all together’, during lockdown it was a reality check into what each of us were juggling, reminding us again that business is about people. Businesses who are doing well now are the ones who have run towards this new found vulnerability within their teams, not away from it," she says.

When business went online suddenly a year ago, many had to change the way they deliver their services or expertise – workshops and resources moved online. In many cases, this change involved capturing in written or video format things that might have been previously shared in person

Christina says the businesses who dared to go there found huge value in creating these assets, which could then be repurposed for different channels, lifting their reputation and building greater awareness for their brand in the process.

"As a nation, we have been encouraged to approach the challenges COVID-19 has thrown at us with kindness and we’ve seen many businesses display this within our communities.

"More businesses are sharing their ideas with their peers and followers, using thought leadership to generously use their robust thinking to provide value for others. Whether fuelling a spark of insight, driving conversations, or progressing their industry, thought leadership makes a positive impact.

"That’s why this last year has been so encouraging. Kiwis’ natural instinct for helping bodes well and we’ve seen more and more Kiwi business leaders step up and share their expertise generously and with significant positive impact. Not only positively influencing businesses around them, but growing their client list in the process," says Christina.

Now, Intelligent Ink are working to empower more New Zealand thought leaders to follow in the footsteps of these successful businesses. Their goal is to inspire better thinking and intelligent conversations in New Zealand.

"The whole concept of thought leadership for businesses is still relatively new in New Zealand," says Christina. "But more businesses are understanding the value in evolving their thinking and sharing their ideas with people who might not even be their customers.

"After 2020, New Zealand businesses are ripe for more strategic and people-centred ways of working, as well as opening themselves up to new opportunities to build their reputation and position within their industry through thought leadership. Our aim is to help get them on that journey," she says.

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