'Be valuable to your customers right now'

COVID-19 and global lockdowns have forced consumers to change their behaviour. Understanding the shift – and responding to it – is key


“What is so interesting about this time from a business perspective is that consumers – the audience at large – have changed their behaviour,” TouchNote CEO Dan Ziv (MBA2014) observes.

“We went from a world where we’d wake up in the morning, take the kids to school, commute and work in an office for eight hours to a world where the entire family remains in the same building and where work and life have to be compartmentalised in the same space.

“This has fundamentally changed our behaviour. It’s changed the way we use streaming services, changed the way we use social media, and it’s also changed how we use e-commerce. The challenge is to understand how your customer has changed their behaviour as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions and lockdowns that we’re seeing globally. It’s then about how you react to that to make sure you can play a valuable part in that customer’s life as they’re living it right now.

“I think that’s where the opportunity is and that’s also where the biggest challenge is.”

Watch: Dan Ziv says he is enormously proud of the levels of engagement and commitment his workers have shown despite current challenges

TouchNote is a creative communications app that allows users to turn their personal photos into greeting cards to send to friends and family. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping loved ones apart, the app has had to scale up rapidly to cope with a surge in demand over the past few weeks. 

This is certainly a good problem to have, but it has meant Ziv, a London Business School Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence (EMiR), and his Board have had to make sure they have the IT and cloud infrastructure in place to cope with the extra pressure to fulfil orders.

Ziv’s top tip for businesses forced to deal with disruptive lockdown measures and an uncertain trading environment? 

“Try to understand where your business is most vulnerable and then try to find contingencies. These can be in the most unexpected places. If you’re taking orders on your website and it goes down, what’s your fallback?”

Ziv was speaking to Gary Dushnitsky, Associate Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, as part of a series of interviews conducted by London Business School's Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) to support founders trying to navigate this very difficult time. To watch more films in this series, follow @LBSEntrepreneur or #LBSResilientFounders.

The views in this video are his own and are not representative of the IIE or London Business School.

Dan Ziv joined TouchNote as Chief Product Officer four years ago. Before that, the M&A lawyer created a restaurant booking app called Uncover with London Business School classmates. Uncover was bought in 2015, nine months after it launched, by payment service Velocity.


Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital

This article was provided by the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital whose aim is to inspire entrepreneurs and investors to pursue impactful innovation by equipping them with the tools, expertise and insights to drive growth.