This post will not end where you think it will based on the headline. So…
These two emotions have been at play a lot during the COVID situation. Individuals were fearful at the beginning as the situation grew progressively more hopeless. The health impact and death was going to be the worst in human history. Politicians blamed for doing too much or doing not enough. The situation changed on a daily basis.
Then the economic reality and impact resulted in disaster for countless businesses. Good friends saw their revenues plummet. Restaurants and food service closed. Hospitality got hammered. Wholesalers and distributors were caught with excess inventory. Contracts were cancelled or delayed indefinitely.
The bottom was nowhere in sight.
We were fearful and hopeless.
Lots of brilliant medical people and researchers were tasked with finding a way to stop the virus while we became “socially close and physically distant.” It seemed like this was how we could do our part
But the situation was changing daily. How can we overcome such a dramatic situation – worldwide, no less!!!
We switched the words and changed our mindset. Leaders took charge and made difficult decisions. Their leadership teams hunkered down and thought deeply about what was required.
Leaders and sales reps talked to clients more than ever. No selling – just questions, listening and compassion.
Marketers did real marketing – they learned about their target market, reinforced their company’s strength and differentiation, and created tactical responses to help their customers grow.
What did we flip?
We became FEARLESS…NOT hopeful.
We became like the Stoics. It is not what happens it is how you respond. Marcus Aurelius, led the Roman Empire through a worldwide pandemic. He led from the front. He met with the smartest doctors of the day. He was ever present in government making decisions. The disease lasted 15 years and eventually took Aurelius’ life before the end of this event.
Fast forward to today. It is no longer about what is happening to us, it is how we will react to the pandemic situation in all its areas. The creativity, thoughtfulness, support, and commitment that people display is unbelievable.
IT developers working almost 24 x 7 to complete an update to account for the federal government payroll support program. Winnipeg company.
IT developers working 24 x 7 to ensure that decisions on financing could be made even faster and provide support to manage the credit products was accomplished. Winnipeg company.
Looking forward and not living in the past. Thinking about what needs to change now, what will go back in the future and what the combination of virtual and real human contact will look like in 3, 6, 12+ months from now. Winnipeg companies.
All of this came from an understanding of their customer needs now and going forward (one week at a time). They were all acting like marketers because they asked and listened. They assessed and discussed these new insights within their companies. And they took bold steps to change and adjust and ADAPT.
Oh yes, there is a lot of anxiety. “What if” scenarios of good, bad and ugly allowed for grounding of expectations with an eye to what was going to be necessary to restart and expand when the governments lift restrictions impacting our economic engine.
And yet, we must soldier forward.
Experts, like CMC, can help guide businesses to adapt their business models and see their customer needs more clearly. Subject Matter Experts (SME) apply discipline and rigor to assessment and tactics.
Nobody can predict the future, so we must prepare for the options. Better yet, we can lead through the challenges and reshape important ways we conduct business.
At the end of the day it comes down to people. Understanding them is essential to getting through this. Bill Bernbach, legendary ad man said ““It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”
There will be adjustments – I cannot predict them. Think deeply about what Bernbach said and apply to your situation while you increase the knowledge of your customers and employees.
And do this fearlessly.