Over the past several weeks, businesses across the United States have faced previously unimaginable challenges. COVID-19 has caused enormous disruption to the economy, and many business owners and leaders are now thinking about how it will create a “new normal” in the future.
Think about it - a disruption of this magnitude hasn’t happened in generations. While many businesses have been quick to adjust, it’s important to consider whether these changes will be temporary, or if they shape a new normal as you get your business back up and running.
In this blog, I’m going to discuss my belief that this upheaval will impact the future and create a new normal, and what you can do to make sure your business is on track to survive – and hopefully soon thrive – in the midst of unprecedented and unusual change.
Although we are increasingly surrounded by technology, the need to communicate digitally rose exponentially when the U.S. population was ordered/encouraged to stay at home during COVID-19.
What does this mean for the future? With untold weeks of staying at home, workers and consumers expect that technology will play an even larger role moving forward.
The need to be able to communicate at any time through a virtual connection will never go away. Now that workers have experienced this type of communication, they’ve become dependent on it.
Whether it’s employees working from home, doctors incorporating more telehealth options for patients or event halls doing video tours, many people have found virtual communication to be extremely advantageous.
Of course, businesses have the option to offer only in-person experiences (the old normal). However, by adding new technology options, businesses may provide higher levels of convenience and a better customer experience than ever before.
Rather than trying to transition back to the old normal we knew before, there’s power in offering new methods for customer engagement that complement the in-person experience.
Due to the quick onset of COVID-19, you may have implemented changes intended to be temporary measures. While they helped for the time being, it’s crucial to think if these changes should be permanent or how can they be adjusted to suit your business better.
Let’s take an office setting, for example. Before COVID-19, if all of your employees were required to be in the office daily, would you now consider offering some employees to work remotely? Would this help or hinder your business as you get back up and running?
Of course, some business types require physical presence, but you’re still able to make optimizations based on your experience. What systems can you update, and how can you make work processes more efficient for employees?
These are all decisions you will have to make as we start to figure out the next normal.
Did Marketing Change?
Like I mentioned earlier, digital use soared higher than ever before when workers and consumers were forced to stay at home. Not only did we see a spike in technology, but also in online marketing.
Businesses everywhere needed to shift their strategies quickly to reach consumers at the right place and right time. You even saw big brands such as Toyota, Hyundai, Hershey and many others make adjustments to their marketing.
Because traditional marketing was out of the question, many businesses turned to online marketing during this unknown time. That was (and remains) the right way to reach people.
Not only did businesses need to switch where they were marketing but also the message of their marketing.
For example, Hershey had a commercial before COVID-19 that had people handing out Hershey chocolate bars in Central Park, which also included giving hugs. During a time of social distancing, Hershey pulled this commercial as it was perceived as insensitive given the new context.
Many other brands followed suit and created campaigns to match the situation. While these brands have the funds and manpower to adjust their marketing quickly, small businesses were faced with a challenge and unsure where to even begin during this unusual time.
With marketing your business online, it’s essential to have a partner that understands the digital landscape and can make suggestions and improvements while keeping your business’s best interest in mind.
The online world is changing every single day, even before COVID-19 hit. As we transition to a new normal, digital marketing won’t subside. As an already booming industry, local business owners have recognized the impact of marketing their businesses online and why they need it to reach customers everywhere.
Changes happen all the time, but some changes cause a ripple effect. Think of COVID-19 as an inflection point for improvement.
Without this disruption, would your business be operating the same way? Would you have ever made an effort to become a part of the digital landscape?
As we’re all still figuring out a new normal over the coming weeks, don’t be afraid to question what your new normal should look like. Ask yourself if it will help your business or what additional improvements can be made as you reopen your business.
This is your moment to define your new normal. Are you ready?