preloader image

Paris-based designer-maker Wendy Andreu uses materials as a means of communication, experimenting to find surprising outcomes that can be translated into functional design proposals. She collaborated with performance fabric manufacturer Sunbrella to create a new innovative material from its waste selvedges – the woven or knitted edges of textile rolls that are usually discarded.

Tell me a little bit about your childhood, education, and background in terms of how you first became interested in creativity, design, and sustainability.

I was born in a rural area of the South West of France. Growing up with a father who was a technician in an aeronautic factory and a mother who was an insurance agent, I felt that my perspective there was quite narrow. I wanted to explore art and culture, so at the age of 14, I decided to study applied arts at a boarding school in the Basque country. There, I discovered the potential of the creative industries and knew what I wanted to do with my life. At 17, I moved to Paris to study metal craftsmanship at the Ecole Boulle, gaining a traditional and technical education. In 2012, I was accepted into the Design Academy Eindhoven. There, I was able to be a craftsperson as well as a designer – making and thinking all at the same time. I was really inspired by that approach and pushed out of my comfort zone to try things I would never have thought about trying. I graduated cum laude in 2016 with a collection of rainproof accessories made with a textile I had developed myself – and won the Dorothy Waxman textile prize and the public prize for fashion accessories at the Villa Noailles, Hyères.

How would you describe your Solid Selvedges collaboration with Sunbrella

Sunbrella makes performance fabrics for awning and shade structures, as well as marine canvas and upholstery for both outdoor and indoor applications. I was introduced to them by The New Order of Fashion [formerly Modebelofte – a  platform for interdisciplinary collaborations with emerging fashion talents] with the idea of sustainability and tackling waste in mind. Most of Sunbrella’s products are made with solution-dyed acrylic, a high-quality textile fiber that provides long-lasting colors and strong products. During production, the selvedges (the edge of a fabric – usually woven or knit so that it will not fray) of the textile rolls are discarded. Focusing on these selvedges, I created a composite material in which the discarded fiber from Sunbrella could become one of the raw materials.

What inspired this project?

I experiment with materials to understand their potential – I like to understand traditional techniques and then re-think how things are made. I am also very interested in small scale craftsmanship and I am very proud to produce only a few pieces each year, working with European suppliers and manufacturers. Sustainability is linked to how we produce goods – and this is a question that I ask myself every day. Which design choice will lead to the least waste? Which choice will create less pollution? By carefully thinking through all the options, applying knowledge and creativity, the best design outcomes can be reached. This particular research project was inspired by the material itself. The acrylic waste, once coated with a resin to make it waterproof, cannot be recycled, so I had to think about other ways to step in. I went to Lille to visit the Sunbrella factory and to understand the processes. I researched acrylic and acrylic properties. I spoke with people from the factory and try to understand the context and how this waste product be related to the same context? I was also inspired by carbon and glass fiber techniques, in which fibers are used to reinforce a resin – and I decided to give the Sunbrella fibers the same function. I didn’t want to use harmful transformation processes such as burning or melting, or use hazardous resins such as polyester or epoxy.

What waste materials are the products made from, how did you select that particular material, and how do you source it?

I limited myself to the selvedge. By focusing on a single type of waste, I was able to be efficient and precise in my research. Each waste stream has its own potential that can lead to its very own beauty. The key is to understand where the beauty stands, dig it out and translate it into a tangible proposal. Then waste becomes valuable. The Lille production site generates 70 tons of selvedges waste every year, so there is huge potential.

When did you first become interested in using waste as raw material and what motivated this decision?

I designed my first piece with waste as a raw material in 2018 in response to a brief from Laura Houseley and James Shaw to make a textile piece using plastic for the Plasticscene Exhibition they curated for LDF the same year. I contacted my rope suppliers, the Société Choletaise de Fabrication, and asked them if they could send me discarded polyester rope. I received a random selection of hiking boot laces in a diversity of colors and patterns. I bonded these laces together with a black polyurethane paste in order to create a rug. The use of waste always involves the randomness of the leftover and it was interesting to make a piece without being totally in control of the colors – I like to take advantage of this randomness as it always generates unique objects.

What processes does the waste material have to undergo to become the finished fabric?

The Sunbrella selvedges are cut into tiny squares and then reduced to fine fibers. These fibers are mixed with water-based, solvent-free acrylic resin to create a hard material. The acrylic fiber makes the material stronger by bonding with the acrylic paste – and gives the plaster-like resin a color. The resin can be poured into molds or coated onto existing forms. This process transforms soft and colorful textiles into a stone-like building material, extending the spectrum into which the Sunbrella textile can be applied. At this stage, the project is only a promising research project, but I would like to be able to push it further.

How did you feel the first time you saw the transformation from waste material to product/prototype?

I work step by step, so the first tests were small, flat, samples. They were promising as I liked their materiality and tactility. I was very keen to create molds as they allow production without waste. I designed molds in aluminum and kept the objects interesting, light and yet very abstract so people could envision many more possibilities with them. Everything worked out pretty well and I was very happy with the result. You can see and guess the fibers stuck in the resin – and some details of the colored fibers are quite beautiful as they layer in a very lively composition. It is very important to me that the designs I make are appealing and desirable.

What happens to the products at the end of their lives? Can they go back into the circular economy again?

Neither of the materials (the original waste selvedge fibers nor the resin) is biodegradable and neither can be recycled, unfortunately. However, I have turned a waste material which couldn’t be recycled into something that is made to last and won’t be destroyed easily, extending its lifespan.

How have people reacted to this project?

People were intrigued first and curious about the material – lots of people expected it to be much lighter than it is. It is interesting to notice the new aesthetics that can be created with waste – people could envision them for retail environments, interior design, objects, furniture… They also were craving to touch the material as it is quite tactile. I think these type of alternative materials are increasingly sought after as people become more and more interested in working with them. Companies big and small – be they manufacturers, retailers, or the fashion industry as a whole – will soon have no other choice but to think about their environmental footprint. Customers, then politics and laws, will push industries in this direction. In my opinion, the companies who don’t respond will decline fast.

How do you feel opinions towards waste as a raw material are changing?

The idea is still disgusting for many people, including designers – waste and garbage are not the most appealing things in the world. However, with a little bit more education on materials and how things are made, perhaps people can better envision products made from waste. It is the role of designers to create positive interpretations of waste or discarded products in order to create beauty. I wish that more industries and manufacturers would be open-minded enough to hire designers not only for their main objects, but also to think about their waste. It could be profitable for them on an ecological and economical basis. It is important to create appealing products and not make too much of the “trash aesthetic” that is often associated with waste.

What do you think the future holds for waste as a raw material?

Waste is the result of the Anthropocene. The amount of garbage is growing while available natural resources are becoming more and more scarce. Waste barely exists in the natural environment as nature works in cycles. Each element has a role and the outputs of one process simply become the inputs for another. It is easy to foresee a future in which waste becomes a raw material and an available resource. Waste is one of the materials of the future. In France a new law against overproduction comes into force next year: manufacturers and companies won’t be able to throw away or destroy their unsold products anymore. These products will need to be either donated or recycled. These very clean waste streams might be the beginning of a new perspective for materiality and production.

Business Achievement Awards

During Bill Clinton’s first term as President, the 104th U.S. Congress undertook a long-needed effort to overhaul telecommunications laws that had been on the books for over 60 years. Although the bill had a significant impact on phone, television, and radio services, the biggest outcome of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was nothing less than the blossoming of the Internet.

Now, as the country begins reopening the economy following the largest public health panic in a century, the U.S. government has a chance to take similar actions on another emerging technology: blockchain. Like the Internet, blockchain technology will change the game again.

The COVID-19 pandemic paused the development and implementation of many products built using blockchain technology, but the great restarting is the perfect opportunity for companies to embrace the power of the technology. Far from being just a niche interest for developers, real-world applications built with blockchain already provide secure transactions that benefit people everywhere, from agriculture to land management to mobile voting.

However, as the momentum around these projects picks back up, many companies will find themselves once again in gray areas where government reach is ill-defined and sometimes clarified only through after-the-fact enforcement. Collaboration between all stakeholders—including government agencies—is essential to the future adoption of blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology can be a vital driver of the new normal as industries and economies recover from the pandemic, but the government’s role in regulating blockchain technology must be understood. Creating clear policies that protect consumers and building a framework for cooperation are some of the government’s most vital tasks in the coming months as more companies and other organizations explore the unique benefits that applications using blockchain technology will bring.

It’s important for the government to take a hands-off and clarifying role in the development of products built using blockchain technology. As legislators create policies to help guide developing blockchain technology, their primary concern should be ensuring that all businesses in the industry behave responsibly and have fair access to customers and resources.

At Medici Ventures, we invest in organizations that are using blockchain technology to solve real-world problems exacerbated by the pandemic. GrainChain, for example, secures trust across the entire agricultural supply chain, ensuring that the most vulnerable people—the farmers—are paid. Evernym helps everyone from individuals to companies control their identities. Voatz helps people exercise their right to vote in a safe and secure way.

These companies—and all others developing blockchain technology—should be able to operate on a fair and equal playing field, without giving any group or organization an upper hand thanks to unbalanced regulations. Perhaps most important of all, the government should remember that consumers are generally in a better position than regulators to determine what businesses they want to support—a point that was made perfectly clear in the early development of the Internet.

Cooperation will be key to success in the future. Companies need the freedom to develop blockchain technology without onerous oversight, especially as they seek to escape the economic shadow brought on by the pandemic.

As it did in the early days of the Internet, this freedom will lead to creative products and solutions. Blockchain entrepreneurs have barely scratched the surface of the power of blockchain technology. The government needs to let the innovation continue.

It is also crucial that the U.S. government moves quickly. China is urging its financial institutions to support blockchain, which could prove very problematic for the U.S. if we do not match or exceed China’s efforts. The overwhelming benefits of blockchain technology—being able to transfer digitized assets without friction, for example—are already coming to fruition. Without taking a position of leadership, the U.S. risks both slipping further into a potential economic recession and losing its position as the global hub for technological innovation.

The world is moving forward with developing blockchain-based applications, and the post-pandemic economy is a perfect environment in which to embrace new technology. If the U.S. is not careful, we will lose the opportunity to be a blockchain leader.

Blockchain technology has incredible potential. It will grow best in a free environment, unfettered from needless and unclear regulations. By understanding and limiting the government’s role, we can give companies the power to establish a new normal while offering consumers the confidence to invest in and use new blockchain-based products.

Jonathan Johnson is CEO of Overstock.com and president of Medici Ventures.

More opinion in Fortune:

  • Why is 10,000 steps a day the goal? Fitbit’s CEO has some answers
  • How companies can celebrate intersectional diversity in a remote-work world
  • America, you’re making a big mistake on immigration. And Canada thanks you
  • When should you sell your stocks? Only in these cases
  • Semiconductors are the engine of the global economy—and America isn’t making enough of them

Business Achievement Awards

Bernhardt Design is welcoming two fresh collections this summer – Terry Crews’ Becca Modular Lounge Collection and Océane Delain’s Gallery Collection. The Becca Modular Lounge Collection is an extension of last season’s Becca Collection of sofas and club chairs, comprising nine pieces in all to accommodate a variety of seating and aesthetic needs. The Gallery Collection is full of poufs, ottomans, and benches with three differing color-blocked sections that invite designers to create.

The Becca Modular Lounge Collection is the latest collaboration between Bernhardt Design and Terry Crews, or rather an expansion of the tailored sofas and club chairs they previously created together. The addition of modular pieces adds an unparalleled versatility to the collection through nine interchangeable pieces. Every possible combination remains cohesive, with graceful lines and a continuous saddle stitched welt around the form. Creating the perfect space has never been so easy.

Crews states, “I loved the idea of comfortable lounging on pieces that are irresistibly cozy but still deliver a sleek, modern appearance. I began by drawing modular sections that could coexist with Becca, aspiring to provide enhanced comfort without sacrificing clean design. In our changing world, Becca works just as well at home as it does in a commercial space.”

Three welt choices are available: standard, the option of using decorative trim, and a bespoke welt in a material selected by the customer. The collection is available in any Bernhardt Textile fabric and leather or the customer’s own material.

Terry Crews

Bernhardt Design and French designer Océane Delain worked together to bring the Gallery Collection to life, with Delain making bold moves like turning the usually innocuous pouf into a more expressive piece capable of creating signature looks. She kept the lines clean and striking through the use of high contrast colors and interesting patterns on each of the three sections.

“I was inspired to change the mood of the piece by taking advantage of various color palettes. Playing with bold colors and materials gives Gallery a carefree vibe and distinctive personality. In more restrained fabrics and tonal contrasts, the design can look very elegant,” Delain said.

The Gallery Collection is available in three sizes of round ottomans, and also comes as a single unit or in two- and three-seat capsule-shaped benches. Choose mobile casters for effortless moving or nylon non-marring glides for stationary use. Vertical seams are saddle-stitched, and the top seat panel is top-stitched. Upholstery options are available in any fabric or leather from Bernhardt Textiles or the customer’s own material.

Océane Delain

The Gallery Collection and the Becca Modular Lounge Collection are both available at bernhardtdesign.com.

Business Achievement Awards

Just because we’re all still stuck at home this summer, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the fresh air and warm weather. Whether your idea of a fun time is relaxing with a well-crafted drink in hand or playing games with family, we’ve come up with some of our favorite ways to enjoy a stay-home summer!

>>> Games >>> Heat Wave 3′ Mega Jumbling Tower
We’re all familiar with jumbling tower games, but we love this one for its colorful twist! Not only is it bright and rainbow, but it’s also made with mega-sized blocks for an even better tumble at the end!

>>> Music >>> TYKHO Bluetooth Speaker + FM Radio
What’s a great summer without some music? That’s where the TYKHO Bluetooth Speaker comes in. It’s easy to use, making it great to grab and take outside. Plus, its minimalist aesthetic looks great sitting between your patio chairs.

> Sun Protection >>> SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
You’ve gotta stay protected when you’re out in the sun — that means everything from sunglasses to sunscreen. SALT & STONE’s lotion is our go-to this summer. It blocks UVA + UVB rays, it’s water resistant, and it’s not greasy, which is a huge bonus!

>>> Outdoor Furniture >>> Drum Table
Bend Goods has a creative, eye-catching collection of outdoor furniture. This table is just one of our favorites from it. An intricate wire pattern makes it into a simple shape that’s perfect for holding drinks, books, and a speaker.

>>> Lighting >>> Carrie Portable LED Lamp
One of our favorite parts of summer are late nights spent outside having good conversation. A portable lamp, like this  LED one, is designed to go anywhere with you. That way you don’t have to go inside when the sun goes down.

>>> Drinks >>> Porter 15oz Glass
One essential for a stay-at-home summer is delicious drinks. W&P is always one of our go-tos for this because their products are portable, functional, and well designed. This 15oz Glass is perfect for a cocktail on a hot day — especially when you throw some ice from one of their molds in it.

>>> Barbecue Essentials >>> Essential BBQ Tool
When we think of a perfect summer day, one of the first things that comes to mind is barbecue. Izola’s Essential BBQ Tool is designed to be multi-functional, which is why it works as a spatula, fork, brush, corkscrew, and wine opener. You want this on hand whenever you’re standing at the grill.

>>> For more Stay at Home Summer ideas, visit the Design Milk Shop here! <<<

Through September, we are donating 1% of the Design Milk Shop sales to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Click here to read the Design Milk Mission for our commitment to donations, diversity, equity, + anti-racism action.

Business Achievement Awards

The actor, director and all-around force of creative nature on the power of collaboration.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.


5 min read


There’s no right or wrong way to combat the isolation and anxiety brought on by the times we live in. (Well, OK, we can probably all agree that plowing through a Costco shipment of Oreos in one sitting isn’t the most ideal way.)

But research shows that there are two vital ingredients to maintaining mental health and wellness: human connection and the feeling of doing something positive. And both of these come into play in the process of creating something with other people. A study in the journal Art Therapy found that after just 45 minutes of art-making, participants’ levels of cortisol (a chemical in the body associated with stress) were reduced dramatically.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a star in movies like The Dark Knight Rises, 500 Days of Summer and Inception, has long understood the positive power of creating alongside others, which is why he founded HITRECORD, an open online community for creative collaboration. Since 2004, HITRECORD has been connecting creators — experts and beginners alike — on passion projects. And this month, Joseph is releasing a six-episode miniseries called CREATE TOGETHER, which showcases the outcomes of those connections and the people behind them.

For an upcoming episode of podcast, I spoke with Joseph about CREATE TOGETHER, and about the more general joy that comes with making something out of nothing. Below are some edited highlights of that conversation. Read it — then go create something!

The joy of making stuff up 

“During this strange time of quarantine and isolation, I found that it’s been really helpful for me to just stay creative, to do something creative every day. But it can be hard to do that alone. To just stare at a blank page and be like, ‘Now I will write!’ Or, you know, ‘Now I’m going to make a song!’ I grew up in collaborative environments on movie sets and shows and I really feed off the creative energy of other people. Years ago, I started this community that’s all about creative collaboration called HITRECORD. And so we decided to just make a show documenting it called CREATE TOGETHER for YouTube originals.”

The movie biz vs. biz biz

“I’m actually getting a really big kick out of building this company, HITRECORD. It is quite different than making a movie or TV show. Sure, there’s some overlap, but building a product or service is different than making a work of art where you put it out and then you never change it again. Businesses are constantly changing, evolving. They’re never done! We’ve gotten amazing advice from great business leaders at places like Casper and Masterclass and Postmates, and we’ve honed our business over the years. It’s been really fascinating, fun, challenging, daunting — and sometimes frustrating. But I’ve really enjoyed it. And yeah, it’s different. It’s different than making art.”

Social media doesn’t have to be evil

“Asking for people to collaborate is different than making something and putting it on social media and saying, ‘Hey, look what I did!’ For me, social media is kind of a recipe for anxiety. I find it to be sort of angst-ridden. We all know what it’s like to put something out there and not get any likes, but I’ll tell you, even when there are a bunch of hearts and likes and retweets, it still doesn’t feel good. For me, I’m just like, ‘That’s all? There should be more! That guy over there has more than I do!’ This is all poisonous to the creative spirit. So our platform is all about collaborating, not just reacting to a finished product. I love getting to make movies — the making part. It’s the being on a set with other people and figuring something out, having a challenge. It’s those moments of the process itself that I really love — finding creative solutions.”

The ultimate reward

“I can say from my experience, it’s never really satisfying when you’re lucky enough to be involved with something that is a ‘hit.’ I have never have felt like, ‘Oh, OK, great! I made it! I’m satisfied!’ That kind of success is never like the satisfaction I get when I take my focus off those external results and put my focus on the inherent rewards of the creative process itself. That’s when I get really jazzed. I’m trying to make something and then I find it and like, ah, there it is. That’s working. And for me, that happens a lot better when I’m doing it together with other people.”

Business Achievement Awards

Over the past few months, coronavirus lockdowns have impacted cities and communities all over the globe in dramatic ways. This has raised the question: Is there still a place for cities?

The answer is not simple; it requires us to learn from what has happened over the past few months and rethink how we leverage technology to reimagine what cities can be, and the critical role they play in our collective future.

What has COVID-19 taught us?

  • Reimagining work. The recent shift to work-from-home workforces has major implications for our cities, businesses, and individual health and happiness. At the start of the pandemic, businesses within cities were focused on getting their employees working remotely and securely, with access to the appropriate tools. As the reality of the pandemic as a long-term shift sets in, businesses will need to learn how to sustain a remote working model and manage a hybrid (home- and office-based) workforce. We’ve also seen telehealth and distance learning take giant leaps forward, potentially making health and education more accessible to a wider population. Technology is playing a key role, as the World Economic Forum has observed. While initiatives like the Connected North program, which provided remote learning for far-flung Inuit communities across Northern Canada, were underway before COVID-19, post-pandemic access to remote learning, medicine, and employment will be much broader. 
  • Glocalization: Governments and the private sector are working smarter and more closely together. In cities around the world, COVID-19 has forced renewed attention to health and wellness, and put a premium on connectivity, collaboration, and public health data. While different towns, cities, and states have taken multiple strategies and approaches, the bottom line is that we have worked together as a nation and a world to curb the spread of the virus. Together we are researching vaccines, and innovating in new ways. This teamwork can and should shape how we move forward. We were on our way to a smart, connected future before the pandemic; this has shown us we need to get there faster. 
  • Cleaning up the environment. Data from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), and other sources indicate dramatic reductions in nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants around the world. From China to India to the U.S., the world is experiencing air pollution levels not seen since the first half of the 20th century. That is so far back in history that many have never even seen this level of clean air. Prior to COVID-19, some cities had been using technology to shift traffic patterns, drive down pollution, and improve life for people. But this growth has been slow and unevenly distributed around the globe.
  • The importance of human interaction: Connection with people is an inherent aspect of our human society. We seek out and lean on human interaction when we are experiencing the stress of life’s challenges. This biological programming drives us to gather in groups, usually shielding us from mental and physical harm. Today, we are faced with a community challenge. The new threats of COVID-19 and political unrest challenge us to be creative in how we maintain our social connections and manage our mental and physical health. As we start to open up our cities again, we will all need to adapt our social distancing strategies to ensure we meet our basic human needs of physical, social connection and interaction. 

Redefining our post-pandemic cities

We are now faced with an unprecedented pivot to address what we have learned. And technology is helping us to redefine post-pandemic cities. The challenge is: How do we work together to manage that pivot? Over the past six months, one thing has become clear: Even though this is one of our most trying times as a global community, it also has the possibility to be one of our greatest moments. The progress we’re making as a collective in fighting the virus and rethinking our way of life is something many didn’t think possible at the beginning of 2020. In effect, I see one possible future—a future where people, powered by innovation and technology, pull together to improve our cities and communities.

Now more than ever, the world needs brave solutions

The fight against COVID-19 is far from over, but there is already a premium placed on “smart” initiatives that leverage innovations such as quantum computing and digital twinning for solutions like smart street lighting and automated water meters. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the climate crisis to the well-being of all life on earth, I believe that technology holds the key to solving some of the world’s greatest problems.

Lessons for global leaders

Leadership now needs to increasingly focus on long-range targets, as well as on achieving short-term quarterly profits. For example, business leaders looking at achieving the UN Development Program’s 17 goals for sustainable development now have reason to renew their efforts. Those who have previously dismissed such efforts as unrealistic or aspirational have reason to reconsider their objections.

This is a departure from traditional thinking and a challenge for conventional leadership. As we emerge from this pandemic, it’s important that we learn from the bold commitments and brave solutions the world has undertaken over such a short time.

Reimagining our cities of the future

As our cities reopen, we have the chance to reimagine them. I absolutely believe that cities will continue to be our social centers, our cultural hearts; but now we have the chance to make them cleaner, safer, smarter, and more innovative than ever thanks to the promise of technology. Our evolving relationship with cities will require increased computing power as we continue to process exponential amounts of data, and require better connectivity and more advanced networks.

However, we will also relieve pressure on the environment, as the supply chain linked to the relationship we once had with cities is redirected. We will preserve what we love about cities and build upon the lessons we’ve learned from the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has created a significant challenge for all of us, but it has also shown us what we as a human team can accomplish working together—a better world and cities that give more than they take.

Jason Goodall is global CEO of NTT Ltd.

More opinion in Fortune:

  • Why is 10,000 steps a day the goal? Fitbit’s CEO has some answers
  • How companies can celebrate intersectional diversity in a remote-work world
  • America, you’re making a big mistake on immigration. And Canada thanks you
  • When should you sell your stocks? Only in these cases
  • Semiconductors are the engine of the global economy—and America isn’t making enough of them

Business Achievement Awards


7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Covid-19 has wiped out dreams, created a psychological nightmare, and torn a country apart, with individuals questioning what is the right, or wrong, thing to do. The result? Nobody has been untouched.

But, like any crisis, there are lessons to be learned. In the business world we had to rethink employee communications, crisis strategies, technology capabilities, messaging, external communications, new business strategies and business operations – all practically overnight. We had to have all-hands-on-deck and we had to take an honest look at what was in place, what was missing, and what we had, but was no longer relevant. We had to take a solid look at what happened and where we landed to fully understand how we could successfully ride the storm and move forward, with the least amount of destruction. But there can’t be any blinders on. It’s a time for truth. And it’s not always pretty to look at the holes and the lack of strategies that were in place. But it’s real. And now is the time to truly reflect and get the “house” in order if you have not done so.

The bottom line is that we must do two major things:

1. Reflect on our communication. What were we saying and how does that need to shift? What methods were we using and is that still relevant? Who was our audience and has this changed?

2. We need to generate more business to replace what has been lost. Things are not the same therefore our tactics should not be the same. It’s time to shift the mindset.

Here are the top suggestions to communicate better and, through marketing, to rebuild what was lost:

5 Ways to improve communication and marketing

1. Increase video

If there was ever a time to use video as part of your communication strategy, now is that time. The visual element doesn’t allow for sugar coating like the written word does. We can look at your eyes and see your body language. It’s all there. In a situation like this, that’s a positive because we need to see the human side. Use it to share your story. What has your business gone through? Be vulnerable. Take time to create a video calendar that isn’t about your products or services. Talk about how you felt. Talk about missing your customers. Talk about your amazing employees. Talk about what will be new and why you’re going down that road. People buy from companies because they have a need or because they believe in a brand – but they also purchase because they like you. Keep this in mind and remember to keep it real through the use of video.

Related: How to Minimize Risk and Protect Your Money During Times of Crisis

2. Introduce repetition

You must be consistent in your message. If you don’t have one, create one. Then, share across all your channels, often. Use infographics, videos, blogs, newsletters, eBooks, and emails. But the message should be the same, just a different format. Share across your website, create content that gets published into third party outlets, and use as content for social. The point is consistency and frequency. You have a lot to say – now is the time to get your message out there.

3. Insist on the truth 

This is not the time to sugar coat your communications. Your employees need to know the lay of the land and your clients and vendors need to know where they stand. If you fell hard, be honest, and share what you are doing to pick up the pieces. If you have found a way to diversify during these difficult times, let them know why things are changing and how they will be impacted. If things are going well, give them a sense of hope – which is so needed right now. This is not the time to sweep your communications under the rug or to minimize what is going on behind closed doors. Be transparent as respect builds loyalty.

Related: How the Legacy of the Pandemic Will Reshape the Future of Work

4. Improve timeliness

Look at what you had in place. As we were hit by Covid-19, did it hold up? Was something missing? Were the right people informed? There must be a plan in place, for next time. It may not be a pandemic and it may not be this catastrophic, but there will be a next time that communication is imperative, and employees, clients and vendors want and need immediate information. Therefore, time is of the essence. Who will be impacted? How will they be impacted? How long will the changes last? Will there be new policies in effect? Don’t keep those that are invested waiting or you may lose those that mean the most to you.

5. Invest in creativity

Everybody always talks about this element. But few do it well, or at all. What do I mean by this? Simply, stop selling. Many may be thinking, “What is Doreen talking about?” I mean that your customer knows when you are selling something. That is why earned media works better than advertising – though both have their place. It is simply more credible. In a time of crisis, credibility is king. Find a way to get your brand out there and get your message across – with creative concepts. Some of my favorite ad campaigns never mentioned the product, until the end. As an example, a Renault Clio commercial kept me watching. It was relevant. It was emotional and it tied in social concepts that are real in our world today. We practically live in our cars – so, why not tie the commercial to real life? They did that and brought me into their sales funnel, without beating me down with their brand and without “selling.” Not everything has to stay the same. Nor should it.

Related: 12 Business Leaders on Rebuilding in the Post-Pandemic Economy

5 tips from pros to generate business

1. Help your customers

Tolithia Kornweibel, Chief Marketing Officer at Gusto, said “Resist the temptation to preach about how much you care. Just do something to help your customers. In times of crisis, if your future customers spend one second with your marketing that isn’t giving them help or value, you’ve failed.”

2. Build a win-win deal

Justin Halldorson, Managing Partner at Shift Capital, said “People love to say ‘just go buy Facebook ads’ or ‘get serious about social media,’ but that simply doesn’t work in times like these. There are a ton of opportunities for joint-ventures and partnerships right now. Find a way to build a win-win deal where you both benefit. A lack of cash can be made up for with an abundance of creativity.”

3. Shift your strategy

Kevin Dinino, President of KCD PR, said “There are three things you can do to generate lost business: 1) Reevaluate your customers’ needs and desires post-COVID and adapt your services and products to address these critical elements. 2) If you are selling anything online, consider offering payment plans to reduce the immediate financial burden for your customers and create a reoccurring revenue stream for your business. 3. Take advantage of declining ad prices.”

4. Double-down

Kevin Walker, SVP of Marketing at Issuu, said, “It’s likely other companies competing for your customers’ attention will reduce their marketing spend during an economic downturn. Now is the time to double down on your own marketing efforts and take advantage of a ‘quieter’ marketplace.”

5. Understand needs

Emily Pederson, Sr. Account Manager at Leighton Interactive, said “Retention is the new acquisition. Don’t forget about your loyal customers. While you may be hungry for new business, it’s extremely important to make sure you are servicing existing customers and making sure they are safe, happy, and healthy. Think about upsell opportunities when identifying what your customers need and work to identify ways you can be a guide during this post-pandemic world.”

Business Achievement Awards

Coronavirus has significantly impacted the entertainment industry—with virtually all film and TV productions halted in mid-March and thousands of crew members temporarily furloughed. California recently greenlit film production on June 12, and New York last week entered Phase Two reopening for limited pre- and post-production work. Big movie studios are still weeks and months away from actual film shooting, but these moves are big steps toward reviving the entertainment industry after more than three months of shutdown. The box office could still face up to a 60% loss compared to 2019, with global loss in box office revenue projected to be as high as $17 billion. At the same time, the demand for streaming services continues to surge as people seek new content to be entertained at home. Further, the release dates of major movies have been pushed back, from the latest James Bond film No Time to Die to Top Gun: Maverick.

It’s challenging enough to film with traditional methods while social distancing. But for many studios, the virus has also made it difficult to make creative decisions before the shoot, such as casting, set, and costume design. The same goes for post-production tasks. These are all highly collaborative processes involving hundreds of professionals—from editors to sound engineers, foley artists, colorists, and more during the marketing and promotion stage right up to distribution. Last-minute editing or approval change in one small scene could impact every version of the trailer and movie poster that follows.

Until now, many movie studios have never made these types of decisions before while working remotely. Now they have to.

It’s time for Hollywood to innovate 

The entertainment business has been one of the last industries to fully leverage the shift to remote collaboration, which is now being dramatically accelerated by the coronavirus. There were good reasons for Hollywood’s reluctance. High-definition video and audio take up a lot of bandwidth, which can stall or freeze while working over the Internet. Collaboration tools are good for messaging and virtual meetings, but for visually complex development exercises like storyboarding for film sequencing, there were few quality options available.

As a result of past practices, Hollywood, for all its global reach, has frequently worked like a small town. While certain contributions to content creation have begun to be performed on a global basis, creative teams have tended to cluster in Los Angeles and, to a lesser extent, New York. And even when creative teams cluster in these production hubs they often endure commuting in hours of traffic, resulting in more Los Angelenos quitting their jobs because of commute times than residents of any other metropolitan area. They see less of their families and have heightened feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Hollywood is embracing digital transformation

We’ve seen what happens when filmmakers embrace digital transformation. Previously, teams used to spend time in one room for months on some of the simplest tasks. New virtual workspace technology is enabling leading Hollywood studios to make progress toward the goal of working 100% remotely, allowing them to complete pre-production, post-production, and marketing and promotion at rates that are significantly faster than the prior way of working. (Peter’s company Bluescape is a visual collaboration platform that could financially benefit from increased remote collaboration in the film industry.)

Other shifts that may significantly change how Hollywood works post-coronavirus include:

  • The studio will increasingly be a mindset versus a physical location, as talent becomes less tied to geography. This will result in talent that is more dispersed, more productive, and cheaper to hire. We’ll also see more low-touch workflows, in contrast to studios who have people lined up in a control room doing the traditional editing and post processes.
  • New video storytelling forms will emerge. People are already getting creative with video, whether it’s virtual concerts or episodes of Saturday Night Live filmed completely at home. Even top TV shows are adopting videoconferencing. For example, NBC took it a step further in creating a Parks and Recreation reunion using Zoom.
  • The model for seeing movies may change, as demand surges for new content. Even before COVID-19, the industry was having heated conversations about video on demand and its impact on theatrical distribution. This will continue as Hollywood seeks more flexible solutions to adapt to increasing stay-at-home consumption. Universal Pictures, for example, recently launched Trolls World Tour online, grossing $200 million in retail fees without a theatrical release.

The pandemic is posing significant challenges for Hollywood, but the opportunity for creative industries to work differently will endure. Technology will solve broader challenges related to talent diversity, proximity, and inclusion, and usher in a new era of creative innovation—one with collaboration at scale. Those achievements are the type of movie magic we fully applaud.

Peter Jackson is CEO of Bluescape. Prior to Bluescape, he co-founded Ziploop Inc. (acquired by SNIPP in October 2017); served on the boards of Eventbrite, DocuSign, and Kanjoya; took Intraware to IPO; and was president/COO of Dataflex following its acquisition of Granite Systems.

Kenneth Williams currently serves as executive director and CEO of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. He spent 18 years with Sony Pictures Entertainment—including treasurer of Columbia Pictures Entertainment and executive vice president of Sony Pictures Entertainment—culminating as president of Sony’s digital studios division.

More opinion in Fortune:

  • Why is 10,000 steps a day the goal? Fitbit’s CEO has some answers
  • How companies can celebrate intersectional diversity in a remote-work world
  • America, you’re making a big mistake on immigration. And Canada thanks you
  • When should you sell your stocks? Only in these cases
  • Semiconductors are the engine of the global economy—and America isn’t making enough of them

Business Achievement Awards

Last week, Isola Design District concluded their 6-day virtual festival, Isola Goes Digital, to celebrate new designs and designers featured on their digital platform. If you missed any of the events, you can still e-meet a selection of the designers, studios, and brands on the platform and learn more about their projects and collections. In the coming months, even more designers and projects will join the platform, as well as live-streaming events organized by international guests.

The platform is such a fun way to discover designers and their projects, take an inside look at their creative process, and even purchase items! Here’s a few featured designers we think you should check out:

Studio Thusthat – This Is Copper

Youngmin Kang – Aff Collection

Gianmaria della Ratta – Maccheronextrusion.obj

Prachi Dikshit – Glints Of Algae

Peyton Fox – Grounds Leather

Re:flex – Transformable products

Cohors – Trouvé Table Lamp

Isola Design District will also take part in Dutch Design Week, from October 17-25, 2020, with another digital format to come. Stay tuned and visit isoladesigndesigndistrict.com to learn more about upcoming events!

Business Achievement Awards


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


We’re now realizing that encapsulated awareness months alone aren’t enough to dismantle systemic discrimination or marginalization. Don’t get me wrong, pride month is incredibly important to us LGBTQ+ folk. But it often feels like after June ends, the “Love wins” messaging that businesses bombarded me with all month goes away too. Why is that?

You’d actually capture more total market share by appealing to us throughout the year. In the book Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne use the terms “blue ocean” and “red ocean” to describe market competition. Red oceans are bloody, crowded and saturated with other predators; blue oceans, by contrast, are pristine, full of untapped potential and devoid of competition. Most importantly, blue oceans are rife with high-growth opportunities.

Related: Promoting Inclusivity Beyond Pride Month: Why We Should Support the LGBTQ+ Community Year-Round

Every June, marketing to and for the LGBTQ+ community is important. But it’s also a red ocean for the month (And it’s a fabulous shade of red, trust me). Why not appeal to us throughout the year? We have $3.7 trillion in buying power and aren’t afraid to use it.

Here are three ways to continue capturing LGBTQ+ market share after pride month ends.

Leverage other awareness days throughout the year

Most pride swag drops in May in early June — so much, in fact, that the commercialization of pride has become a serious concern.

So when menswear maker Chubbies dropped an entire pride collection last year on September 10 to raise awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day, it caught everyone by surprise — and was blue ocean strategy at its finest. By releasing the line in September, it essentially had no competition from its usual retail competitors.

Not only did the campaign shine light on a real issue impacting the LGBTQ+ community — the fact that queer youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-queer counterparts — Chubbies used the launch for good and announced its charitable giving arrangement with The Trevor Project.

There are LGBTQ+ awareness days and causes being celebrated nearly every month of the year that you can align with and support, and a short list of campaigns to get you started is here.

Related: This Is What LGBTQ Customers Actually Want to See During Pride Month

Afraid of making a misstep in your language? Don’t be; we need your voice. And to ensure your messaging is accurate and respectful, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has a media reference guide that you can download for free. 

Declare your position clearly

June saw a burst in anti-racism activism, and many companies are recognizing that putting their positions on human rights front and center is important. A company statement on where you stand can go a long way.

Tomboy X specializes in gender-neutral underwear, and it’s certainly not the first company to have its products worn by more than one gender. I don’t have to wonder where gender-neutral underwear company Tomboy X stands on gender identity though, because they lay it’s all out for me in an overt company statement. When you stick your neck out and take a risk in expressing your opinion, you get our attention, because this risk is what marginalized communities deal with each and every day.

Normalize our existence

I tear up a little when I see an image of a couple that looks like me on a billboard or in a commercial, especially outside of the month of June. The continued rise of LGBTQ+ representation in entertainment has helped to accelerate year-round visibility.

Software companies are getting the memo, too. Pexels, a free stock photo company, recently tweaked its algorithm to have same-sex couples appear in results for search terms like “couples” or “holding hands”. 

This seems small but is actually a huge step forward for our community. At the end of the day, we don’t want to be on a pedestal all the time; what we really want is to be showcased as normal and part of everyday life, because we are. 

Related: The LGBTQ+ Community Has $3.7 Trillion In Purchasing Power; Here’s How We Want You to Sell to Us.

Want to get your creative gears turning on other LGBTQ+ stories and marketing? A selection of past pro-LGBTQ+ campaigns and commercials (mostly produced by larger companies or agencies) has been cataloged online for reference.

With most pride marches having been postponed or cancelled this year, the doors are wide open to create new virtual campaigns that support the LGBTQ+ community. Get creative, get informed and don’t be afraid to appeal to us outside the month of June. Remember: We’re gay 12 months a year.

loading…

Business Achievement Awards

Business Achievement Award

Copyrights © 2020 Business Achievement Awards All Rights Reserved.