The COVID – 19 crisis will for a long time change the world as we know it
Social distancing will lift, international travel and trade will recommence (at some point) but it is going to fundamentally change the way businesses operate.
Here are 5 Key thoughts around what the “New NORMAL” post COVID – 19 might look like.
1. Consolidation & increased market share
Some smaller business as well as some of the weaker large scale players may not make through this situation, and no doubt those that survive will have seriously depleted balance sheets. Many businesses may need to borrow to rebuild, but borrowing constraints are likely on the back of large government hand outs and increased over all debt levels.
However with both businesses and assets likely to be on the market at low prices – expect some competitors to swallow these up and buy market share along with it.
2. Fewer physical stores
Flight Centre announced (400+) hundreds of their outlets will close and thousands of staff stood down and they are not the only ones. The list of businesses, big and small who are closing outlets and offices is long, and will likely get longer and many of those will never reopen.
This will likely be an opportunity for many businesses to reset and refocus and may well lead to both significant change in the physical retail landscape but also innovation across all sectors. E-commerce will become even more vital to business and not just while we are all under house arrest, this experience will change and develop habits that will become more and more entrenched the longer this situation unfolds. Take a look at this new online marketplace hastily produced by Westfield (Scentre Group) taking their malls online https://direct.westfield.com.au/centres/?_bc_fsnf=1&list_all=Centre
These sorts of innovations will likely remain in place and may in-fact change the nature of physical malls, just as the work from home (WFH) policies we are seeing during this period, might drastically change the physical office structure of businesses going forwards.
Our lives may in fact become far less tethered to physical locations so the online environment is going to become even more vital.
3. Local will become a valuable commodity
Over the last decade or more as the world has become more and more globalised and brands have become more and more international – we have lost touch with our local shops, suppliers and community marketplaces.
We have also been very focused on achieving the lowest possible price at all point along the line, from wholesalers, retailers and the end consumer.
This will change – people, by virtue of lockdowns and the perception of safety will for a long time after this situation passes, become more focussed on the value of “local”, not just their local stores and environment, but domestic brands and manufacturing will likely also become important as the nation seeks to rebuild and people look for quality not quantity driven by altered business and personal financial circumstances.
4. New hero’s
Adversity often leads to both innovation and growth but often with a solid dose of pain along the way. Expect some well known brands to fall and some challenger brands to rise.
At the end of the day, our need for products and services won’t be altered greatly by what’s happening – but our way of engaging with businesses and service providers will. For some brands this will be their moment to reshape their brand/business to take advantage of these changes, for others who take a business as usual approach – they may well be left behind.
5. Communication is KING!
In any relationship showing empathy and understanding for the other party goes along way to engaging them or reengaging them in the relationship. Right now, both the business itself and the community needs, have changed and rapidly.
As both sides of the relationship change to meet each other, there may well be some friction, change is always hard. So, businesses to clearly articulate both understanding of their customers situation but also sign post how they are changing to meet their needs will proposer.
Just as the physical ways in which the facilitation of business is changing so too is the is the nature of marketing communications. Businesses that establish strong and consistent communications during the crisis will come out the other side with a vastly more engaged consumer base and for some brands even a brand awareness and loyalty significantly above what they started with prior to the Covid – 19 situation.
How are we helping customers with this in mind?
We are a marketing a advertising agency focused on the digital environment. With clients across an array of industries we are seeing the impacts first hand and much like the virus itself we can see that for some businesses (sectors) this will be a mild flu, for others this will kill them.
What we are providing is cross sector insights and ideas and strategies to help business formulate a cost effective communications plan, but also aiding them in providing ideas for digital innovation, transformation and even pivoting.
Can we help you?