In my column last month, I emphasised the importance of adaptability in this time of tumult and great market change. That said, it’s essential that the innovations companies are looking at to steer them through the coming weeks and months are not in conflict with their fundamental business principles.
An inescapable facet of all of our lives right now, Covid-19 has been leapt on by marketing teams. There is no precedent for how to react, so we’ve seen a mixture of responses. I read a surprising report recently into how big businesses are promoting themselves currently. It appears that those who have meddled the least with their campaign plans are actually having more success than their rivals. Those that have completely transformed their communications are not performing quite as well.
Why? I have a suspicion that people are crying out for business as usual. They feel reassured when they see a campaign or brand untroubled by prevailing conditions. The business as usual approach is playing so well because people are craving a return to a semblance of normality.
The constantly revolving media cycle on the crisis commands people’s headspace. Unrelated advertising at this time then, that may have previously proved to be an annoyance to the general population, may actually be serving as a route of escape and welcome relief. A reminder of the past and of what the future will hold.
We’re in our 25th year as a business, which is something to celebrate, whatever the context. We’ve seen many highs and faced some challenges along the way. Not least in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, with the understandable reluctance of businesses to hire and train people. Events such as these not only make me consider the methods we need to reach for to push through; but also to reflect on what we have built.
Many restaurants have switched exclusively to take-out service to survive. But they have not lost sight of what their business was built on - they’re still focusing on making delicious food. Similarly, while we are successfully changing the way we deliver our services, we still find, place and train the very best graduates, apprentices and senior executives for our customers. Build and adapt - don’t forgo one for the other, no matter the circumstances.