The leader of a Darlington-based web design and SEO agency has been championing local enterprise and the importance of community throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Zoom, the video conferencing software, has seen a growth of 535% in its user base since the start of the lockdown, whereas its rival Houseparty has witnessed a 300% growth.
Douglas Dinwiddie, owner and founder of White Digital believes that this focus towards digital during the lockdown has required companies in the area to find innovative ways to continue business and it fills him with confidence that a lot of the region’s businesses can bounce back stronger than ever.
He said: “One thing I have noticed throughout the pandemic is how impressive it is to see people figuring out these new ways of conducting business.
“A lot of digital marketing techniques, including the rise of video conferencing have ensured networking and businesses are staying consistent throughout this difficult time. I think that is admirable.
“I don’t know of many companies that have overly shut themselves down. Everybody has tried their utmost to keep things running at as high a level as physically possible.
“Seeing the positive steps businesses in the region have taken has really boosted my confidence levels and I think the market will bounce back exceptionally strong if not stronger than ever.
“There’s been a lot of realisation on what people’s values are. The importance of friends and family, and the importance of supporting local businesses over larger chains will be at the forefront of people’s buying habits.
“Businesses now have a real opportunity to thrive if they meet this difficult time head-on and expand into the spaces being left by their less courageous competition.”
Mr Dinwiddie also discussed the idea of local companies working together to ensure this newfound sense of community remains a key factor in the region’s regeneration.
He said: “We’re all in this together and I think social distancing has been a poor choice of phrase. It should have been called physical distancing as the business community has managed to stay so social in spite of the physical distance and it’s really shone a light on how important community is to everyone.
“If Darlington is to bounce back to a good place, we need to support local business as much as possible and support those local businesses to win support from outside of the area. That’s one of the only ways we can bring more revenue into the region.
“Whether that’s from different parts of the UK or from further afield. I suppose that starts by solidifying all of the local businesses to support each other as much as possible.”
In an effort to help anyway he can, Douglas will be looking at hosting a free webinar session offering tips for businesses in Darlington to utilise digital marketing techniques to prepare themselves for the new business landscape.