Pivoting a Business Model: An Education Startup’s Response to the Pandemic
School closures, exam cancellations and loss of routine are all factors contributing to the mental welfare of young people. Amidst this breeding ground of stress, it’s these vulnerable minds that should sit at the heart of communication, now more than ever.
On Friday 20th March 2020, the final bell rang across schools, sixth forms and colleges across the UK until further notice, except for children of key workers and those vulnerable. This, together with the cancellation of A’ Levels and GCSEs was part of the country’s unprecedented response to this extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic.
The consequence? Working parents juggling childcare, homeschooling siblings, filling the gaps, whilst coming to terms with their own personal traumas. Whilst school can’t be replicated, pupils have found the sudden change to ‘distance learning’ jarring and confusing, manifested by existing exam stress and mental health issues that have seen an upward trend in recent years. Some pupils thrive, others struggle.
KCKD, a specialist teenage coaching provider, supports young adults and their parents through the major exam years to overcome self-doubt, to get the results they want using a bespoke toolkit based on sports & performance psychology, contemporary neuroscience & evidence-based science. KCKD provides online learning sessions, daily tips and motivational reminders with an accredited coach, to guide students through the crucial revision period.
As Boris Johnson delivered the devastating news that pupils may be unable to sit GCSEs and A levels exams in this academic year, KCKD had to pivot their exam revision product immediately (in the middle of their launch campaign) with the knowledge and responsibility that they provided a vital support network to those affected.
Overnight, KCKD shifted their own business model from driving sales to building a community, evolving their revision support product to offer a 56-Day Lockdown Challenge and free coaching to teenagers, their parents and teachers in times of stress.
KCKD Cofounder Dr Karen Wilson remarked, “The psychological impact of the virus on students and parents alike cannot be underestimated. Every student deserves the equal right and ability to achieve whatever they want, with the right support and not be left in limbo”.
Working in step with KCKD, The Runway Media immediately adapted the media and PR campaign, switching from digital sales activity to public service communications, driving awareness of the free coaching product and building the KCKD team’s already stellar reputation as credible experts in the education space, via interviews on BBC Radio and Talk Radio Europe as well as in national press.
The painstakingly thought out creative assets for Instagram & Facebook were quickly re-SHOT on the mobile phones of the KCKD ‘crew’ of teenage ambassadors, who filmed the new mobile-optimised ads from their homes whilst on lockdown.
Twitter & Google paid search were used to connect with journalists who were searching for content about supporting teenagers through these turbulent times. Remarketing underpinned every element of the campaign in order to re-engage and encourage participation.
As lockdown unfolded, organic social content on Facebook publicised free online coaching and a new Facebook Support Group acted as a forum for teenagers to anonymously and confidentially connect with each other.
In order to reach as many teenagers as possible, Snapchat was added into the mix, ensuring the message was disseminated to the audience, on their preferred platform.
CoFounder and Psychologist Jacqueline Weeks stated, “Communities have been brought together like never before, we’re taking proactive steps to relieve anxiety, increase interpersonal connection and provide a fitness toolkit for the mind’.
To drive publicity further, tailored content has been published giving tips on Home Schooling and Working From Home incorporating teenager’s unvoiced perspectives. Support has been cemented by LinkedIn articles highlighting teenage mental health in these times of heightened stress.
By the start of the 56-Day Lockdown Challenge, 5,000 teenagers had registered and 3,500 had connected with KCKD on Instagram. KCKD continue to pivot their business model and diversify their product offering to help teenagers take control back of their lives.
Observing trends, identifying pain points and offering solutions are key to building authentic brand communities. This consumer-first campaign, with a pivoted product is exemplary and has become more and more meaningful as it plays out. The deadly disease has put a moral onus on all of us to care for others, a reminder that, for better or worse, we are all connected.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Kirstine Newton.