As consumers and businesses alike pull back on spending amid the coronavirus pandemic, 50% of CEOs worldwide say that diminished demand for their company’s products and services is the biggest obstacle to their business’ viability right now, according to June 2020 data from YPO.
At the start of this crisis consumers elected to use those businesses they could deal with via the internet because they couldn't go out.
For many others it was an opportunity to satisfy 'curiosity with intent' that could be leveraged by eCommerce businesses that up until now had a 'good enough' customer experience mindset.
This could just be a short term change in behaviour for some, alternatively it could have simply edged those undecided people closer to brands and businesses who seemed to serve them well and provide a good enough experience.
At the start of lockdown we all saw the panic buying with the apocalyptic supermarket shopping that took place. Since then supermarkets report a sense of normality and reduced trolley sizes but a sustained increase in online orders.
This could be a result of people slowly adjusting to the lockdown rules and messaging from government, but also an indicator of people being unsure around how long they need to make the budget last, so buying based on 'need' not 'want'.
Stating the blindingly obvious every business has been transformed by Covid.
I'm a brand and business transformation expert. That's not a boast, it's not an ego trip it's a well earned fact.
With the exception of Covid time after time I see that rapid decline in business transformation is a result of external forces being ignored, or delayed to fit with the internal narrative and balance sheet.
One of the biggest frustrations I have as a 'change and growth agent' is that often I've been called into work with companies and leadership teams when the problem has become a basket case. Without a doubt this crisis has now accelerated that inevitable process for many, and created unforeseen opportunity for others.
Recent data show that we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.
Let's be truthful - there isn't a business or person who hasn't experienced some kind of 'transformational' impact as a result of this crisis.
Because consumer behavior has already changed I would strongly argue that Covid has been the catalyst for you to get to grips with your post-Covid 'Why'.
So when you return to what will hopefully be your business and job my guess is that urgency of 'growth' in the next 2 months will be the biggest priority you and your leadership team will face because transformation has already taken place.
Clearly the management of inventory and finance will become even more business critical as will demand planning expertise and tools.
As such there are several things that business need to get to grips with, but in the new order post lockdown there are 3 things that require an agile focus;
- Consumer Behaviour
- Unpredictable Revenue Demand
- Remote Working
If you're one of those CEO's in dire need for sustainable growth and change and your looking for your CMO to deliver in order to 'freshen up' and 'reinvigorate' the post Covid strategy, direction, and leadership of the company perhaps you want to try a litmus test to see if they're as good a fit as the market needs today.
If it was me I would like to know if they really understand the strategic value of the medium pre-Covid they spent most of your marketing budget on.
1) FOMO - Why are they on Social Media? A lot of people use LinkedIn and other social platforms only when they are looking for a new job or to announce how important they are when they get one - After that NOTHING so how are they going to inspire the team and learn what's new? Do they know about 'TikTok' and do they talk about it, do they really understand the potential opportunity within social commerce and live streaming?
2) Check out their 'Social Proof' - are they a passive or active user of social media. Does it look like they 'show up' on a regular basis and engage with others, and what do they do on other social networks. Do they have a regular blog, do they produce and write industry articles. do they actively and proactively 'grow' their network. Are they seen as someone whose authentic, not just pumping out the corporate message.
3) Would you consider them as 'Social Influencer' - Do they 'actively' use social media to share knowledge and offer advice? Are they seen by others as someone to go to for advice, evidential knowledge. Do they 'listen' and engage in other people's post and articles. Are these not important leadership traits today?
With 3.8bn+ people on one social platform or another around the world simply handing social media to the guy with the beard, or the girl with the tattoo in marketing doesn't really cut it today.
Social media requires a strategy that sits across the entire business enterprise - WHY?
Because that's how today's social savvy consumer 'experiences' what you say you do.
Additionally, CEOs are feeling pressure to match changing expectations of both local government and end users of their products as they adjust to the new normal. Nearly half say they’re challenged by changes in consumer behavior and nearly a third are struggling to cope with operating restrictions placed on them by the government.