future proof your business

4 min read |

The companies that have survived and will thrive in the future are those that focus strategically on remaining agile and more resilient.

Why? For the simple reason that, regrettably, COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic – so whether nature induced or tech (think cyber security) we live in an ever changing world, where things can change overnight. We need to be prepared.

But what are the characteristics of being agile and resilient, moreover what lessons can we learn from a marketing perspective?

According to global strategy experts McKinsey there are 5 common characteristics that make an organisation agile and resilient.

Here, Adaray explores each characteristic from purely marketing viewpoint, providing practical guidance for every type of business.  


  • Principle 1: Cultivating a belief in your ability to cope.

BRAND: We’re not just talking blind belief here, we talking about belief that comes from having a strategic plan that’s SMART – specific, measurable, agile, realistic, time-bound. Notice that I’ve swapped out ‘achievable’ with agile as the former is indicated by realistic and it adds way more value in a fast-changing tech enabled world.

Principle 2: Staying connected with sources of support.

CONTENT: Whether it’s your employees, strategic partners or your customers staying in touch with clear and relevant information is vital to building a trusted relationship and maintaining support.

Principle 3: Talking about what you’re Going through.

COMMUNICATION: Being honest and transparent with your people and respecting the ‘mood of the nation’ in your communications and actions will help create deep lasting relationships.

Principle 4: Being helpful to others.

BRAND: With the rise of social media, calling out negative brand behaviour has never been more visible. Being authentic (not just paying lip service) is these days not a competitive advantage, but fundamental to good will and business success. Afterall, what goes around comes around, eventually…

Principle 5: Activating positive emotion.

MARKETING: A big fan of creating positive emotion in communication, after all who loves hearing from a mood hoover…everything has a place and when it comes to direct selling, tapping into basic fears (e.g., business survival) pain outweighs gain 10 to 1.

Principle 6: Cultivate an attitude of survivorship.

MARKETING: To be a survivor you can’t stick your head in the sand and hope that everything will blow over. If you don’t have a plan with clear goals to help you establish sustainable growth and profitability, then your chances of survival in the long run are slim to say the least.

Principle 7: Seek meaning.

BRAND: People need and want something to believe in, so make sure your company has a clear brand purpose and values to motivate your people when the going gets tough and ensure customer loyalty.


Much like resilience, agility can be broken down into a set of 4 key characteristics.

Characteristic 1: Fast-moving and flexible.

MARKETING: Reviewing your plan every 3 years just isn’t enough in 2020, you should actually be doing this every year, and even more during times of crisis. Making sure you keep on top of things and  adapting to the current climate not only ensures you survive, but throws up opportunities that help you thrive in the future.

Characteristic 2: Rapidly respond to obstacles.

MARKETING: Even better than rapidly responding to any barriers that arise, conduct a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) to get ahead of the game, rather than wait for it to happen.

Characteristic 3: Lead change.

INNOVATION: From pivoting to creating new products and services, this is can truly be the lifeblood of your business, creating competitive advantage, winning a new audience, delighting your existing customers are just some of the reasons why this should always be high on your marketing agenda if want to stay ahead. After all nothing changes if nothing changes, right?

Characteristic 4: Be ‘in touch’ with customers.

BRAND: Understanding who your ‘ideal’ customer, being in touch with their needs, behaviours and psyche, then creating a brand that acts as their most trusted and liked ‘best friend’ is a fundamental determinant of business success. If you haven’t nailed this already then you won’t be optimising any of your marketing and wasting opportunity.

Characteristic 5: Have continuous competitive advantage.

BRAND: Ah the holy grail. So we all know that having a competitive advantage is key to helping drive your business – but only if it resonates with your ‘ideal’ customer and aligns to your brand. Little point in pushing ‘cutting edge tech’ to an audience of technophobes!  

Characteristic 6: Have a flat organisational structure for quick communication.

COMMUNICATION: Don’t worry if you operate in a more traditional hierarchical fashion, the key here is quick communication…there’s an instant messaging Slack channel for that. But being super clear on your strategy – what, how and where you say things is crucial to the future success of your business.

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 unleash full potential within the community, business and for individuals.

You can find and connect with Jane on LinkedIn.