Invest in strategising the new post-covid customer and reality

26 May 2020 Consultancy.uk

The UK is entering a new phase of the Covid-19 crisis – the post-peak stage. While leaders are focussing most of their efforts on survival mode, CEO of consultancy BrandCap Manfred Abraham says that they at the same time should take a step back and try to understand the new reality following the covid-19-induced disruption.

Speaking to Consultancy.uk, Abraham says: “For someone who enjoys nothing more than the great outdoors, it has surprised me just how much I am enjoying all this time inside. Many of us, myself included, are finding that we now have the time to really study our home environment and, more importantly, make changes.’ 

This includes “making it more the way we want it and better to live in.” He added, “This extra time has allowed for a better understanding of how we want to use our space. And whether we set about making these changes ourselves, or task someone else help us, our brief today is so much clearer than it could possibly have been two months ago.” 

So, what does this have to do with business? Abraham continues: “the fact is, if there is one thing we are usually short of in business, it’s time. We run at a breakneck speed, turning out as many initiatives, improvement activities, growth plans, debt restructuring, market penetration, human resource issues, channel management, stakeholder relations (the list is endless) as we can possibly handle.” 

Manfred Abraham, CEO of BrandCap

“If we are good leaders, we will have time built in to think and create strategies that drive the success of our organisations. But it’s rarely as much as we would like. Generally, we build our strategies on the run.” 

The last few weeks have seen many organisations fighting for survival. Tough decisions have been made about furloughing, redundancies, and other cost cutting actions that are essential for the future – actions that would, for many, have seemed inconceivable just a few months ago. 

Against the tide

Additionally, sales approaches have increased. Many articles have been published advising continued marketing spend based on prior experience of operating through adverse economic conditions.

On this, Abraham says, “I don’t think this approach is necessarily wrong. In fact, there are cases from previous recessions where taking this advice yielded fantastic results. But in my opinion, there are a few things that I think are worth doing first – like getting to know your customers and potential customers better than you ever have before.” 

“Take this time to truly ‘get’ them. Use the tools available to study and understand how they might have changed over the last few years. Has the current situation accelerated any of these changes? Customers have more time on their hands right now, meaning that there are opportunities to engage them in new ways. But to do this, businesses must talk to them, listen and learn.”

It is of course impossible to predict exactly how audiences will behave in the future, but engaging with them in a deeper dialogue – which the current surplus of time allows for – vastly improves a business’ chances of making the right decisions. 

Outside-in

Abraham also advises looking inwards: “Look around your business like you look around your home; see what adjustments will make it a more liveable place for every member of your team – from management to the interns. Do you have a clear strategy that helped your decision making during this time? Or were you left with empty words that didn’t provide the type of guidance you would have liked?”

Having a clear strategy that guides decision making during this time is critical, otherwise organisations are left with empty words that fail to resonate. This crisis will reveal whether an organisation’s purpose and values were clearly articulated and can be lived by or are just meaningless wallpaper. 

This is according to Abraham the time to study, think, consider, and adjust. “Use the tools available to you. Truly understanding the new reality is the only way that an organisation will be able to take an accurate guess at what comes next. With a reviewed and clearly articulated strategy, it is possible to see opportunities on the other side that might have been missed in the whirlwind of everyday business.” 

Abraham concludes: “Yes, I am an optimist. Yes, I believe in the power of imagination to overcome any obstacle. But this belief will help us come out stronger and fighting on the other side.”


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