Marketing guru Sharon Williams launched her company Taurus Marketing 26 years ago. Here, she shares the secrets behind growing your business during the pandemic.
Robyn: So I’m delighted to have Sharon Williams here today from Taurus Marketing. Tell us some of the lessons you have learnt in the last year?
Sharon: So marketing is always changing and I’ve been in business for a long time.
Robyn: 26 years no less!
Sharon: Yes, and I’ve seen a lot of change and this year has been a catalyst for more change than ever and the biggest thing for us as marketers this year was the importance of internal communication. Empathy is the new brand currency. Brands that were struggling to deal with Covid, cash flow, safety, families, and just trying to survive had to really show a much deeper understanding of empathy in the markets they were working with. It’s important to be empathetic to everyone, to suppliers to staff to office workers to everybody. That was really the main theme and what we have driven since Covid first hit.
Robyn: How have you done that? We were talking earlier about how you introduced tea time to meetings and sent roses and have just done lovely things that have lifted people around you and changed the way business meetings have been conducted.
Sharon: If you’re leading with empathy for people and leading with taking care of people, then ‘experiential’ suddenly starts to come back to the floor. So you’re looking at your breakdown of audiences and what they need at this point, and if you’re leading with empathy what you need to do is see how they’re feeling and most people have been frightened and concerned and worried and scared during that period, so what we led with was experiences to make them all feel better with whatever that was.
Robyn: How have you helped your own team and their mental health through this period?
Sharon: Yes, well they’ve been the priority. They were immediately sent home so they were safe, OH&S was contacted so we knew they were working in an environment that they would be able to sustain. I’m very lucky, I’ve got a fantastic team with me and we’ve been together a long time. And so immediate zooms, social zooms, buddy systems, connecting every morning at 9:30 for a team meeting and then yes taking care of them. So we’ve sent a pack of dog biscuits if they’ve got a new puppy, a Covid puppy. If they’ve got somebody in hospital or if they’re caring for an elderly parent then we just try to tailor our approach to them as we did with our clients and our network.
Robyn: I think one of the fundamental thing is also we’ve learnt to be more caring and aware that many people are going through difficult times and we don’t know what they are necessarily. I had a friend tell me his mother was on a ventilator, you just do not know what’s going on in some people’s lives. Like you, I agree we all need to be more empathetic and caring.
Sharon: And you just asked me about mental health and interestingly one of our clients whom we signed up during this time was a psychiatrist. He immediately got us into checklists and the environment of what we could do to make life better and it was really great to learn first hand what we would do for clients and team members and my own family. Our teams and family were our prime responsibility.
Robyn: So going forward, what’s happening for Taurus Marketing?
Sharon: I’ve been running Taurus for 26 years so my challenge is always is to never accept the status quo and to continue to blow it up and reinvent what we do. I’m really excited about looking at the bullseye methodology that I created and extending that out and seeing what that looks like for clients. We’re terribly excited to have moved our office headquarters to Barangaroo in Sydney.
Robyn: Yes that is exciting!
Sharon: It’s been the absolute highlight for us. I feel like the team and I have really stepped up, we’ve got an office in the clouds and it’s all so exciting. We want to maximise that opportunity, we’re in the most exciting part of town that is when we are out of lockdown. I’m looking to lift the game on every level.
Robyn: Just tell us some of the tips in your Taurus Bullseye, the things you really started 26 years ago that have been part of the values that have guided you right through your business to today. Explain to us more about that Bullseye approach.
Sharon: The Bullseye is like a dart board, so if you were throwing a dart you’d want to hit the centre and we always say to people we work with and indeed my own family and my own team, you ought to know where you’re heading and what success looks like and then identify that and work backwards so that the premise never changes. And it has been the same and consistent for all of these year and gotten us through global financial crises and it’s got me through, too.
Robyn: One of the things you’ve overcome is breast cancer, you’re a friend of mine but also someone I know that has a tremendous resilience and I’ve always admired that in you.
Sharon: Thank you Robyn. So that resilience has pulled me and my businesses through no matter what. So it was very exciting for me to look at the Bullseye this year and go yes crisis comms, internal comms, experiential, empathy, they’re all of the things that are going to be foremost for us to get through the pandemic. And of course elasticity, with resilience, you’ve got to have a half cup full look at life otherwise it’s pretty hard going.
Robyn: I’ve got to say you’ve always been a glass full person and someone that’s always been an inspiration to me. So thank you for talking to me today Sharon and best of luck with Taurus, I’m sure it’ll go on for another 26 years.
Sharon: Thanks Robyn, that’s lovely.