As businesses, individuals and families continue to wade through these unprecedented times; it’s important to try and focus on what you can control. If you own a business, then this will no doubt have been a very difficult time for you, and as this pandemic is not yet over and no one knows what the future holds, all you can do is try and adapt in the best way possible.
PR agency Sinclair wrote in a recent report: “Actions taken by brands during difficult times will be remembered for years to come…The unprecedented crisis that we are currently experiencing is forcing businesses to adapt to a new reality.”
While businesses need to follow the guidelines set out by local authorities, you also need to be prepared that this new normal may not be temporary, and will gradually become a permanent change to our lives. So, how should you react and adapt to this crisis and enter into the new norm?
Embrace it and do it quickly
Rapidly embracing the new normal is hugely important right now. Whether this means quickly shifting your business model such as many restaurants did at the beginning of the pandemic or updating your website to accommodate virtual office visits and updating your brand messaging from promotional to educational and to include the new normal things like social distancing and wearing masks. The key here is to be quick, as soon as you know about something, act on it. New government strategies for companies can be overwhelming at times and can slow you down, but you can always seek help with these things. The real key to success is strategic planning so that your business can quickly embrace change and scale up its new approaches effectively.
There’s no point in adapting to the new norm but not telling anyone about it. It’s essential to get the word out across all your channels in compelling ways. It could be social media campaigns or advertising, but as well as getting the word out, make sure the messaging is right. It will need to be appropriate and sensitive to changing needs and times. It’s important to consider fresh approaches and find creative ways to meet people’s new needs.
Do some good
When you adapt to the new normal, it isn’t just good for businesses; it’s also often good for society. By serving new needs in new ways during this time, it’s possible to help ensure the effectiveness of important public health measures such as social distancing. By adapting to changing conditions, your business will be able to serve the greater good.
Listen to your teams and customers
Now more than ever, it is important that you listen both to your teams and your customers. You need to hear their experiences because while many people have said that during this pandemic everyone was in the same boat, that is untrue; everyone was in the same sea, but we were all in totally different boats. If you weren’t already gathering feedback regularly from your employees and your customers, then it’s time to start now. Everyone is adapting to a new version of normal too, so it’s important to hear what other people are going through and what their needs are.
Retain a sense of togetherness
If you and your employees are going to continue working remotely, then you must retain the sense of togetherness. Don’t go back to your old ways as it’s very important, now more than ever to empower and support your employees. While the novelty of Zoom calls with the family seems to have worn off, it’s important to continue it for your business. Video calling at least gives a sense of face to face contact, so continue to hold these either for one to one meetings, team meetings or even social catch-ups.
Don’t be afraid to seek new ideas
It’s likely that you will have already implemented a lot of new changes, so don’t stop there. As the world keeps changing, the guidelines keep changing and people keep changing, make sure you continue to move with the times and seek out ideas, not just within your own industry but also beyond. Ask your staff for ideas too as they’re all living in the new norm too.
Give it time
Don’t expect changes that you make to just take effect overnight. The changes that you made over the past few months came about because of necessity, but you may have seen unexpected benefits. Whether these changes stick around and become part of the new norm or are gradually phased out remains to be seen, but when you continue to make changes now as you gain more knowledge about the pandemic, just give them time and see what works and what doesn’t. If you decide simply to go back to your old ways, you’ll likely face challenges.