Op-Ed: From panic to purpose — How to turn pandemic fear into opportunity
The coronavirus pandemic has slowed the global economy in a matter of weeks and has led companies and brands with strong reputations and market sales to a state of panic.
Stock markets have gone to never seen before lows and companies have stayed in self-preservation mode. In times of crisis such as the one we live in, employees and customers look to the leadership of these companies when seeking reassurance in the midst of this worldwide instability.
Governments have failed to manage the pandemic since they were not prepared. How can companies emerge victorious from the pandemic or lessen the impact it may have on their operations, employment and image? How to resume business after a mandatory break and start from scratch?
Every crisis represents an opportunity. Once industries and businesses begin to open again, it’s time to rethink the brand’s mission or purpose. This is the time when companies and organizations need to ask themselves:
- How has the crisis changed my vision and purpose?
- Are we a purpose-driven brand? If the brand showed leadership in the market, it is not time to rest on it’s laurels and think that nothing has happened.
- What should I do so that my brand image continues to be a leader and/or stay at the top of the market?
- What activities (internal and external) show our purpose?
We have all seen how some businesses — of the few operating right now — have reinvented themselves seeking to maintain that leadership. The gradual reinvention of the business is of utmost importance.
Today we see how some supermarket chains have been able to maintain their leadership in the market by offering delivery services and increasing their fleet to meet the expectations of their customers in the midst of the crisis.
Most companies and organizations may also have to establish new benchmarks and forget about past performance indicators.
In this changing business ecosystem, it’s worth asking: Where is my brand going in the future? Many companies and large retailers will have to reinvent themselves in the face of a gloomy economic outlook.
People will no longer enjoy congregating in places with heavy human traffic. Studies from Harvard University indicate that it will not be until 2022 that daily life might resume its normal rhythm.
What steps will companies and industries take to communicate those changes with their internal and external audiences? What will those communication channels be? Who have been our allies in keeping operations afloat? Who are our stakeholders? What platforms allowed the business to continue operating, even if it was at a lower capacity?
We don’t control the future. This is why we must prepare for all scenarios with the lessons learned. After this pandemic, let’s move from panic to purpose with renewed vision. Let’s make the best of this pause!