How Businesses Are Figuring it Out: An Interview with WTIC and Rebel CEO Bryn Tindall
Rebel Interactive Group CEO and owner Bryn Tindall recently joined Ray and Joe D. of WTIC’s morning show for an interview to explain how businesses are adapting to life in the pandemic. Listen to the interview here: https://bit.ly/2x4kyCc or read the transcription below.
Ray: All right. So this is kind of an interesting proposition actually, that we’re discussing.
Joe D: Normally Wednesdays at 8:20, we had been doing the CT biz now series, in which we met some great people. One of them was Bryn Tindall. He’s the CEO and owner of Rebel Interactive Group, and he joins us now.
Bryn: Good morning. How are you?
Bryn: Good morning. Nice to talk to you guys again.
Joe D: Bryn, Just to refresh the listeners, memories, explain Rebel Interactive Group.
Bryn: Yeah. Sure. Thank you. Rebel is a digital marketing agency located in Southington, Connecticut.
Joe D: So how has the pandemic impacted your business?
Bryn: Well, it’s interesting: if you go back to 9/11 to when we lost power, we set out to restructure Rebel. So we were more distributed and moved everything into the cloud and basically tried to set up as best as possible for a situation like this.
And I think we did a decent job with that. As we navigate all this, we’re only as healthy as our customers. And so, you know, we have to make sure as much that as we were set up for this, we try to help our customers get there, too.
It’s been really interesting to watch that emerge.
Ray: By the way, their website is rebelinteractivegroup.com. I’ve been looking at your website. You have some pretty impressive clients. Are you finding, because we’re into the telecommuting, and it’s certainly more intense now than it was, let’s say, three weeks ago, have you gotten more business out of that?
In other words, are people saying, look, we’ve got to organize so we can work at home, kinda like you.
Bryn: Yeah. What’s happened is companies are scrambling to figure out how to do what you’re doing on this very call here. You continue to stay in business yet in an innovative way, and almost all of it has moved to digital.
If you’re familiar with the software program, Zoom, which is video conferencing, the stock has gone through the roof as people are scrambling to implement solutions like that. And it’s been really interesting watching the more blue-collar businesses. You know, take roofing as an example.
They’ve implemented drones that can fly by your house. They call ahead, you stand outside, they use e-signature, they send you a video quote with video cards. Everything has moved and it’s moved rapidly. It’s really been interesting to watch people do their business in line with the times.
Ray: Crowley automotive, you know, is basically a digital Superstore and the fact of the matter is their website’s pretty good. You can see some pretty good deals there. So, you know, that’s another way to keep business going.
Bryn: You know, to your point, we bought a TV over the weekend at a Best Buy and you know, you buy it on the internet, right? You just can’t go in you: they tell you when you can come by to pick it up. They text you, you text them as you get nearby, they come out, load it in your car and they disappear.
These services are almost like concierge services that are being rolled out for people for this age, and I see many of these are going to continue when we get on the other side of this.
Joe D: Talking to Bryn Tindall, CEO and owner of Rebel Interactive Group here in our CT business segment on WT.
Do you have to reach out, bring to clients and let them know that you’re fully operational and that they can avail themselves of your service? Or do they pretty much know
Bryn: We immediately got as close to the customers as possible. We wanted them to know that despite what they’re reading, you know, because the way we’re set up that we’re here and we’ve got their backs.
If you think about it, this has become a communications challenge. And if you think about how you communicate with your customers and your audiences and so forth, most of that has moved digital. So we’ve really had to help step up and help them communicate, let their customers know what they’re doing right or wrong,
Ray: How many of your employees telecommute?
Bryn: Well, you know, we were set up that way. The way we set it up is that folks had to be in the office a couple of times a week. You know, normally the rest of the time they were set up to work from home. Obviously now over the last three, four weeks, all of them are working from home.
Joe D: And I think Bryn, I think you made a great point. I think when we get through this, and obviously we will no telling when, but when we get through this, I think this is going to change the way we do a lot of business in our country.
Bryn: I think travel is an example. I mean, let’s just take the RFP process, you know, for both companies where they force you to respond and then fly out and go meet with them.
It’s already shifted to digital interviews and if you think about the thousands of dollars and days lost, just flying someplace for a meeting that could just as well be conducted, honestly, over a zoom-like platform. I don’t see that changing. I’m not saying that the need for human interaction is ever going to change, but you’re going to really second guess yourself moving forward: so, could this be done this way, or do we physically have to get together?
Ray: And I just wonder too. I mean, day to day operations: you’re paying rent, you’re paying utilities. You know, if you’re renting an office or office space, that may be a business that’s really going to be affected because — do you really need an office?
Bryn: You make a great point, and that’s been something that’s been coming for a while. You see large corporations that’ve been hellbent on this. Finally allowing people to work from home is going to be interesting when they get on the other side of this when they go back and say, okay, we want you to come back in.
And people will be saying, ok but look how efficient I was while I was home so it can be done. So you raise a great point and I think that is going to be coming as well.
Joe D: Are you doing the same volume of business that you did before the pandemic or that slowed down a little bit?
Bryn: We tried to accelerate going into this, not because of the pandemic, but because of what I thought was going to be a recession in the first quarter here in America, just based on what you read. So we tried to hit it with a full head of steam. And I think that’s continued from a lead flow point of view. What has begun to happen as customers get increasingly nervous and they have to sort of tighten the belt?
They’re asking for leniency on when they can pay or can they cut back a bit and so forth. And we have tried to accommodate where we can there, but in many cases, in many industries, this is not the time and place to be cutting back. I honestly think this is the time and place to be stepping up with your presence in the marketplace and communicating with your customers.
Ray: You know, what’s interesting is we have a lot of advertisers now. We’re saying, okay, we’re a paint store. We’ll deliver your paint. Connecticut lighting now has its virtual showroom where they’ll actually show you what. You can browse the store. So more and more it’s a way for you as a business to actually stay in the game and maybe even improve the game.
Bryn: I think many companies are going to come out on the other side of this being sharper and more focused. I would suggest most businesses spend what downtime they have right now, sort of organizing the back end and getting themselves configured in this way. I do believe this is the new norm. I think it’s one of these things with your customers: they get used to it. Amazon life treatment: you know, why would they want to go back once the pandemic rolls back? I think this is a great opportunity for a lot of people to begin to reconfigure themselves to address the new norm.
Joe D: The website is rebelinteractivegroup.com. Bryn Tindall is the CEO and owner. Thanks, and it was great reconnecting with you.
Stay safe. We’ll talk to you again soon.
Bryn: Thank you, guys.