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So if you’ve read any of my blogs or posts, you’ll hopefully have picked up on the fact that I’m the glass half-full type. It’s one of the reasons my clients enjoying working with me and central to Adaray’s philosophy for ensuring success.
Of course this doesn’t mean I worry because of course I do, I’m human, especially of late during COVID-19, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to see the bright side of things wherever I can, turning negatives into positives and doing my bit to help. So I hope you find this blog interesting and of course useful!
Throughout history many positive things have risen phoenix-like from the ashes. World war two and the rise of our beloved NHS is just one amazing example. But what’s this got to do with business and where we are now? Well actually a great deal. As we emerge from lockdown and the pandemic, what will the future look like and which brands will emerge winners.
Here are some key factors that I think will be vital for success in the future:
1. WELLBEING: Practice good wellbeing. With everything to play for, ensuring the wellbeing of your team, both physically and mentally, is vital to the success of your business. Think increased productivity, performance, loyalty – to name a few of the great benefits that this delivers – and the domino effect that will have on your audience. A very wise man once told me that your biggest business priority should be looking after your people. Make them happy and the money will follow. He should know he is a millionaire. With several businesses from healthcare to entertainment online, his wisdom transcends sector and is the driving force behind his enormous success.
With challenges such as the fear of facing the crowds in the return to work and for some putting on a ‘brave face’ during zoom calls to overcome, we all have a duty of care to one another. So whether it’s:
- Ensuring you’re fully compliant with HSE guidelines
- Inspiring your remote working team
- Or measuring and boosting their wellbeing
There are many things you could and should be doing in order to come out well the other side, and maybe even better than before the pandemic. Make sure you create a physically, and importantly psychologically, safe environment for your people and reap the rewards.
Have to admit a shameless plug above for my amazing client Maria Paviour – founder of Cari Wellbeing. Who is now offering the essential services of Cari, an AI enabled online wellbeing super assistant free to everyone not just for COVID-19 but for life, she’s my kind of woman. Like to find out what your wellbeing score is and experience Cari’s support yourself, for free, please click here.
2. INTEGRITY: Act with integrity. Ok so we’ve all seen the devastating and law-changing effect this has had on brands who flout this basic value. Those brands that do not act with integrity are openly admonished and if they don’t lose their customers immediately, then it takes a lot of reassurance, pacification and money to get them fully back on board. Think Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. It makes much more sense to have integrity and do the right thing in the first place, especially when being authentic (true, open, honest and human) is so high on the agenda for customers wanting to engage with a brand, let alone becoming loyal and referring others.
As ever it’s about building a trusted relationship – for the long-haul, not profiting by taking advantage of people in need. Point in case the local shopkeeper who was selling antibacterial hand gel for an extortionate price. Guess who will be seeing a drop in business as a result. This went viral on social media and contrary to the old adage all PR is good PR, in this case it most definitely is not!
3. TECHNOLOGY: Embrace Technology. So we’re now into the 12th week since lockdown began. My goodness, where has that time gone? More importantly why is that significant? We’ll we’re now way past day 66 – which is the average time it takes to create a habit. That means that the accelerated tech adoption we’ve seen is here to stay, even if we do go back to some of our old ways (we are creatures of habit), the things that have worked for us during COVID-19 and we feel will be of benefit to us in the future, will be embraced and adopted into our lives ongoing.
For me this is great, I’ve always loved the way that tech not only makes things so much more efficient, but the fact that it’s a true enabler too. From working at home to undertaking discovery calls and client meetings on Zoom, to attending online events and webinars and all the while reducing carbon footprints too.
Not only have we been able to stay in touch with nearest and dearest, but reassess the norm in terms of how we interact and work. Tech being the number one enabler in terms of allowing people to work from home, really has been a game changer for a lot of people. Not all of them want to go back to being at their place of work 5 days a week and thanks to the mass test on remote working (albeit enforced), in many non-customer facing sectors they won’t have to either.
4. HOPE: Have faith and hope. Okay so the quote I’ve selected is a bit lofty, but it really resonated with me and I think that there is a lot to be said for taking this approach in general in business, so I hope you like it too. Think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and where the most successful brands sit on the triangle, hint – it’s not at the bottom!
“You are not here merely to make a living, you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
– Woodrow Wilson
US president and creator of the League of Nations post the first world war.
Having hope that things are going to get better is what drives us forward and helps us achieve what we are aiming for in those darkest times. Of course there is another very famous quote from Winston Churchill about the darkest hour being just before the dawn. And so on and so forth. Bottom line is, when things get tough, as they inevitably do for all of us from time to time, I think of this. It gives me hope and keeps me going even when I can’t see a way through right there and then.
Deep breath. So take time to revaluate your vision, is it still the guiding light it needs to be, are you still headed in the right direction. Do you need to tweak or even totally change it to ensure your business stays on track and not just survives coronavirus but thrives beyond it? COVID-19 has been a game changer, so it’s logical that you will need to change too in order to truly flourish.
5. COLLABORATION: Support collaborative working. It’s impossible to know and be an expert in everything. Sometimes we need a helping hand and when you need to act quickly to mitigate risk, pooling knowledge and specialist skills can be the difference between success and failure. With the nation supporting each other as best we can during these unprecedented times – whether it’s clapping for carers, protecting the vulnerable or simply checking in on someone in isolation, working together we can make a bigger positive difference.
Of course it’s the same for organisations. Whether it’s working on a global scale, like Mattel did recently when they invited families to #KeepPlaying with the launch of their new ‘playroom’ an online resource for parents and caregivers, helping keep children both entertained and educated throughout the pandemic; through to local businesses creating strategic partnerships to bolster their offering and generate more referrals – working collaboratively is another way of working that is set to stay – for the better.
6. AGILITY: Be agile. It stands to reason if you are light on your feet when someone throws a punch, you are more likely to be able to act quickly and move out of the way asap. In response to COVID-19 we’ve seen some amazing pivots. From restaurants becoming take-aways, to flower shops selling groceries and pretty much the world jumping online – relatively speaking overnight – I love and admire the great entrepreneurial spirit that lies at the heart of UK businesses – big and small. To survive. Actually scrap that – to thrive! We need to have our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the real world and react to it as quickly as we can. Not just right now, but always. I cannot stress enough how important it is to appreciate trends and what’s happening. Even if you ignore them and want to swim in your own lane, you need to be and stay aware of what’s happening out there.
I’m talking from direct experience here. With the inevitable drop in leads when COVID-19 hit, I employed my own pivot, based on marketing staff being furloughed and initially not being allowed to work. I’m now working as an outsourced marketing director for a client who actually didn’t have someone on furlough, but saw the value in this new service offering and the rest as they say is history.
7. RESILIENCE: Build resilience. Albeit yet another hot buzz-word that has been flying around for some time now, and with good reason too. This won’t be the last time that we face uncertainty and volatility, and while none of us has a crystal ball and can know exactly what shape or form the next watershed will be in future – be it natural disaster (climate change), fiscal (market crashes), tech breaches (cyber security) or right down to more localised events such as a personal business crisis – one thing is for sure, if it stops business, those that have some form of business continuity plan will be in a much stronger position to survive by either riding out the storm. Or better still, thrive by getting on top of it as quickly as possible and having a strong plan in place. One that identifies threats and new opportunities too (e.g., aesthetics clinics selling skincare products and tools online to create a new revenue stream).
8. ETHICS: Champion good ethics. Of course the word ethics covers a lot of ground, but in this instance it relates to doing what’s right both socially and for the environment. Of course, again we’ve been heading toward greater adoption of this for a while now. A great example of this from a brand perspective relates to the growing number of organisations actively pursing B Corp certification
Just like it has for tech, COVID-19 has definitely raised the profile of ethical behaviour, galvanising us into behaving with a social and environmental conscious that’s truly global. I look out for my neighbours and speak to strangers on walks more than I ever did before. I hear the bird song more acutely, breathe in the clean air and look up to an endless blue sky, devoid of plane emissions. Of course I know the traffic will return, but if it means that more of us will opt for electric cars sooner rather than later and choose flights which offset their carbon emissions, then that can only be a good thing in my book.
Upshot. Those brands that ethically during and post COVID-19 will be the ones that ultimately win the long game.
So, there you have it, my top 8 tips for bouncing back even stronger from COVID-19, rather nicely they create the acronym ‘with care’ and that’s just about sums things up nicely. Those that genuinely care about their employees, audience and the world at large will be the ones that ultimately secure loyalty and become the go-to brands of the future. Be one of them!
Not sure which way to turn and need to create opportunity through pivoting your brand and or offering? Need to create an authentic brand with integrity and resilience that will ensure you thrive, not just survive. Articulating and communicating it in a way that really engages (based on psychology).
Want to bounce back after COVID-19 even stronger. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, obviously I’d love to have a chat to see how I can help?
THINK SMART | Book a time for a complimentary 30 minute chat here.
Author: Jane Guest
Jane Guest is founding director of Adaray Marketing. Helping build and shape successful brands of all sizes for over 25 years, Jane brings SMART thinking from big business to SMEs, helping them achieve new heights with a progressive PsychTech approach to marketing. Dedicated to being the catalyst for positive change she’s on a mission to create success stories within the community, business and for individuals.
You can find and connect with Jane on LinkedIn.