“It’s not the strongest of the species nor the most intelligent that survives, but the one most responsive to change.”  Charles Darwin

 

The theory of natural selection seems fitting for today’s economic turmoil. Maintaining business continuity at the same time as shoring up the future depends on how responsive and agile we are on both fronts.

 

CASH FLOW IS KING TODAY

For now, day to day operations like service delivery and cash flow are king. However, survival or failure throughout will depend a lot on how much you help employees adapt to current circumstances too – especially if you have been forced to manage teams working remotely.

IM’s own remote working experience (now 12 months old) became the catalyst for increased efficiencies and improved service.  By adopting new habits fast, we found the increased productivity that comes from individuals working flexibly with less distraction, fewer meetings and no commute time is felt on the bottom line. The Gallup Survey citing 20%+ increase in productivity from remote working is proving to be correct.

If anyone asks, we offer 3 simple rules for keeping remote employees engaged:

  1. Make all communication meaningful
  2. Believe in the power of trust
  3. Keep things simple

 In short – connect often, enable open discussion and never underestimate the power of personal voice connection.

However, now that we’re four weeks into lockdown, it’s not just about the day to day communication. It’s about adapting for the future too.

 

POST CRISIS BRINGS A NEW “NORMAL”

For business founders, brand owners, marketers and strategists the focus has to be on preparing for the expected change in market conditions and consumer demand in the wake of this massive disrupter. Potentially the largest we’ve seen in our lifetime. It may not end simply with creating a remote working structure for your employees.

 Could the next ‘normal’ evolve from Asia?

 

As companies in parts of Asia resume activity they may be the world’s first to shape the “next normal.”  – McKinsey April 2020

 

What will that look like? McKinsey goes on to cite four dimensions as a framework for re-thinking: social contracts, work & consumption, speed & mobilisation and regional vs global priorities.

De-risking will be high on the agenda, however it’s the agility and adaptability of leaders to opportunities that will make the difference.

Remote working should provide the head space to revisit brand purpose and business goals. it’s an opportunity to realign both and ensure best market fit.

In particular your brand purpose and how it may need to adapt to meet societal changes, locally, nationally and in the global sense.  Will it be aligned to the new mood? Does it already stand for a higher purpose than business goals?

To do that, use your time now to gain better customer understanding through research, competitor analysis and an in depth look at the changing consumer habits rather than surface trends.

This way you will be ready to align your business brand vision, brand values and brand positioning with the post-Coronavirus ‘zeitgeist’ and the new customer needs that evolve, both B2C and B2B.

 

TAKE YOUR WORKFORCE WITH YOU

Where possible, engage your teams in exploring new opportunities and sharing the journey of change too, so that managers and employees alike emerge a lot better equipped to reconnect in the right way with customers and benefit from the immediate return on investment.

Given that habits can take as little as 3-6 weeks to take hold, our temporary confinement means priorities and consumption behaviour will certainly be different when things first start to return to a new kind of normal.  The immediate changes may last or they may not.

Some economists, including global economist and author Roger Bootle speaking at the Hospitality Tomorrow conference this month thinks we will see a sharp recovery – a V-shaped graph; however we won’t regain the previous level on the far side of the V, but growth will continue the level it would have done.

Whatever the long term outcome, if, as we keep being told. ‘the only constant is change’ then agility and responsiveness will be invaluable.

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If you need support to optimise your brand or assess how to adapt for the future, we’re here to help. Drop us a line at hello@imlondon.co.uk or message us on WhatsApp.