Five questions to answer after COVID-19.
In less than a year, the world looks a different place. Clients are calling to ask what they should do next. The daily coronavirus news brings an infinite stream of numbers, trends and analyses. Gold diggers are spamming companies to sell their post-pandemic solutions. In moments like these, time seems to speed up, although we should do precisely the opposite. Take time to overlook. Take time to improve your business, your life at work and at home.
Back to normal?
Some businesses are planning to go back to normal as soon as possible. They believe shareholders, customers and employees are expecting a prompt restart. Only, how do you go back to normal if normal doesn't exist anymore? That's the paradox dilemma for business leaders and marketers — five questions to answer after the coronavirus crisis.
1. What are we doing here on this planet?
"Purpose" seems to be the magic word. It's good to realise a purpose-driven approach to do business and marketing will become more critical. However, the process to get there is long and full of pitfalls. Leadership will need to address the Why?-question on different levels: the company, the employee, the industry and the society. Companies that started reorientating towards purpose before corona have a head start. If you need some inspiration, read The Positive Sum Game from Herman Toch and Ann Maes (only in Dutch at the moment). Good for business and good for people, does not need to be a contradiction.
2. What has changed, and what not?
There are several possible futures, all dependent on how governments and society respond to the coronavirus and its economic aftermath. Hopefully, we will use this crisis to rebuild, produce something better and more humane. But we may slide into something worse. The only thing we can do at this moment is monitoring what changed and what stayed. As a business, you should analyse this on a glocal level. Try to see the bigger picture, but also what it means for your business, customers and employees. I think there was never a better moment to hire trend-watchers, business analysts and customer experience experts. There was never a better moment for Human Resources and Marketing to step up and play a more strategic role to keep up with the ever-changing world.
3. What did we learn during COVID-19?
How did your business respond on the quarantine? Did you react fast or slow? How did your digital channels respond? What were the questions you received from employees and customers? It's good to ask questions. It's even better to learn from your mistakes. I am not a fan of SWOT analyses, but this might be an excellent time to find a way to pinpoint your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. What's the outcome of your COVID-19 SWOT?
4. What's our post-pandemic marketing strategy?
At this moment, you should have a clear understanding of what's performing well. Digital, technology and customer experience are here to stay. And you need to accelerate in purpose marketing. But there are only limited resources and 24 hours in a day? You will need an interim marketing strategy. Steer on the current waves, hire temporary or freelance specialists and cut out the nice to have. Now is the moment to focus. Read your strategic marketing objectives and key results again. Do they still apply? If not, shift as fast as possible. If yes, start working on purpose.
5. What's the original content to get out after corona?
Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. Look in the mirror. Be honest with yourself. Are you a post- or a pre-corona business? If you are pre-corona, is it about surviving or reinventing? If you are post-corona, is it about speeding up or stepping up? There you have your content. And don't forget it's about the must-have now. Playtime is over. Take your time — but playtime is over.
Good luck and keep safe.