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How to Navigate the "New Normal"

Published: Oct 15, 2020

The year 2020 has been marked by uncertainty and change. Individuals, businesses, even governments have found themselves under unprecedented strain as they struggle to adjust, and readjust, to the “new normal” that COVID-19 thrust upon us all.

Planning months or years into the future doesn’t help when circumstances could change tomorrow or next week. Your business needs to absorb new information quickly and pivot when it counts. Here are a few tips for finding your brand’s  “new normal” without jeopardizing your long-term goals…

 

Know where your customers are (physically and mentally)

While the impact of COVID-19 has varied by location and industry, many consumers day-to-day lives have drastically changed. Not only are people working (and playing) at home more than ever, but many are struggling to adjust to a more isolated, less social way of life, at least in the short term.

These emotional and physical shifts need to be accounted for as you market, sell, and support your products and services. Look for ways to connect with customers, and when possible, way to allow customers to connect with one another. That can mean hosting online events like webinars, user group sessions, or online meetups—anything that puts a human face on your brand, and gives your customers a chance to feel like they’re participating in a social activity—not just passively consuming content from behind a screen. Even casual interactions build a sense of emotional connection that, for many, has been sorely missed.

 

Plan to pivot

It’s almost impossible to predict when COVID-19 will die down or undergo a resurgence in any particular area. But it’s safe to assume that it will continue to cause upheaval and uncertainty for months to come. Building space for change into your business plan is one of the most effective ways to survive this turbulent time.

 As areas come out of lockdown and lift social restrictions, a pattern of increased consumer spending has emerged. People who have been at home for weeks or months are invigorated by their newfound sense of freedom. Spending can be a way to both celebrate and reclaim a sliver of normalcy. However, the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus crisis hasn’t hit home for many businesses and consumers, and it’s likely that there’s another major dip in spending on the horizon. With multiple countries and companies working on a vaccine, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but responsible businesses are still planning for months, if not years, of inconsistent recovery.

 

Stay consistent with your brand

During times of uncertainty, people feel a natural urge to acknowledge the unusual circumstances impacting them and offer one another support. Businesses may also feel pressure to avoid an off-putting “business as usual” tone in their communications, since for most customers, there is nothing “usual” about this year. This is a good instinct.  At the same time, it’s important to avoid dramatic shifts in messaging or tone that may not ring true to your brand. Consumers today are savvier than ever when it comes to spotting faux-humanistic messages in advertising and customer communications. If you decide to reach out with a tone of empathy and support, it shouldn’t start and end with a newsletter or ad campaign. Be sure your corporate values align with the message you’re sending customers. That can mean investing in industry initiatives, community outreach, or acts of corporate philanthropy, as well as supporting workers whose health and financial security have been impacted. 


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