We’ve all scrambled to form practical ways to adapt; balancing efficiency with effectiveness along with looming budget constraints. But change is not finished with us yet. With each new cycle of reopenings, the landscape shifts again. Many ask us, “How do I stay in business?” But the real question isn’t how do I keep my head above water, it’s how do I plan to reach the shore.
First, let’s talk perspective.
In order to understand how to adjust and cope with recent shifts, let’s take a quick step back. Remember Occupy Wall Street? Customers wanted businesses to be authentic. What about Black Lives Matter? People needed businesses to speak out and take a side. When change occurs in our society, consumers expect businesses to respond, have a personality and connect with them. And although the pandemic does bring uniquely significant change, understand that whether or not you’ve realized it, we’ve been adapting and adjusting to big shifts like this already – which means we can do it again.
5 Ways to Adapt to the New Normal
- With Less Trust, Offer More Truth
As surveillance-based marketing and third-party data and cookies fade from our grasp, we need to ensure consumers continue to share their information with us, but now, they must do so willingly. Start by offering them something of value and providing a connection they can trust by being authentic and empathetic. But you may wonder, are they even listening? Although overall trust is at an all-time low, according to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, business has become the only trusted institution when compared to the government, NGOs and the media.1 So, the most important suggestion we can give you is to create a message of truth that builds trust because customers are listening.
- With Less Patience, Offer Sharper Content
We’ve all lost some patience over the last year, haven’t we? Maybe it’s the insecurity of waiting for restrictions to lift or the frustration of having your plans demolished as the latest numbers are announced each morning. You and your business are not alone – your audience has changed as well. What used to be important to them may not be. Their scale of priorities has changed just as quickly as yours including the consumption of products and services. Take the time to reevaluate your audience, understand their new needs, new routines and new pain points and provide marketing content and service offerings to match.
- With Less In-Person Interaction, Embrace the Digital Evolution
According to a McKinsey Global Survey, executives believed it would have taken more than a year to implement the remote working models they use today – in reality, it took an average of 11 days.2
Within the first few months of the pandemic, technology adoption and digital solutions evolved years. Since then, we’ve become more accustomed to these adaptations and are even expecting them. We recommend meeting customers where they are – online. Another McKinsey study reported that 90% of sales enablement has moved online and 50% of those surveyed believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used pre-pandemic.3 Below are few additional ways to embrace the digital evolution.
Cash is in the Past: With businesses and consumers cutting back on expenditures, make it easier to make purchases. If they want to pay their bills online or use no-touch Apple Pay, create the portal and adopt the technology to make it possible. Don’t lose business because you’re not easy to do business with.
Update Your Online Presence: So many customer relationships start with a search, especially now. Don’t forget to update your Google listing and provide the transparency they need to feel safe when doing business with you. Are you successful, even during this crisis? Did you implement safety features? Consider using adjectives like, “sanitized” and “clean” to address current persisting concerns.
Increase Visibility: One-quarter of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) are investing more time and funds in social media use, according to a recent survey by PayChex.4 Why? Because they need to maintain visibility, spread their authentic message and continue to build trust and loyalty. You should keep customers updated on the steps you’re taking to maintain operations, ensure reliable solutions and expand your digital offerings – and it all starts online.
- With Great Change, Consider Changing Your Business Model
From redesigning supply-chain operating models to significant shifts in consumer pain points, businesses must adapt to stay relevant. A year ago, would you have imagined scanning a square sticker on a restaurant’s table to get your menu would be commonplace, let alone requested? Elevate your presentation and your product to fit the needs of your audience. Make these changes memorable, make them personal and make them shareable. Look at your brand and your business critically and compare your offerings, prices and processes to your competition – because your customers already are.
- With a Candidate’s-Market, Invest in Your Team
It’s a classic story of supply and demand. There are now more opportunities flooding the market and workers have options. Plus, the cost of labor has increased and your competition is adding on perks with their offer letters. In this candidate’s market, work-life balance, advanced technology, remote work and flexible hours are king.
If you’re looking to hire, find new employees that offer high value for their high cost by investing in your hiring process. In fact, McKinsey gathered data from HR leaders who believe their profession has transformed during the pandemic.5 After years of pressure to automate and digitize their roles, they now believe human interaction is essential to finding the right candidates.
Invest in your HR resources so you can justify the expense of paying a high premium for your employees. Then, once hired, invest in your staff to ensure they stay around for the long term. Prepare them for change by offering transparency. Create a sense of community with collaboration and an open-door policy. And invest in the wellbeing of your entire team, including yourself, because more change will come.
For help staying agile during and after the pandemic, contact us at 973-809-5466. We bring coaching and consulting with a strategic eye and a modern approach to help you do far more than just keep your head above water.
1Edelman Trust Barometer, 2021.
2McKinsey Global Survey, October 2021.
3McKinsey & Company, April 2021.