5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for the Post-Coronavirus Business World

Social distancing. Telemedicine. Self-quarantine. These are all words that at the start of 2020 weren’t part of our vocabulary, but several months into the new decade we are all hearing and using them daily. There is no denying that the coronavirus outbreak has dramatically changed just about every facet of just about every person’s life around the world.

From a business perspective, the stock market saw its largest one day loss and largest one day gain in history. The U.S. saw the largest job-loss report ever. We are in uncharted waters, and how long we will remain in them remains uncertain. However, there is one thing that we all know, and that is that this outbreak will change the lives of everyone for years or decades to come. Nearly 20 years after 9/11, enhanced airport security, no-fly lists and counterterrorism efforts are still the norm. The same will be true of the COVID-19 aftermath. Is your business ready for the five largest macro trends we are about to see?

1. The rise of enhanced websites and digital tools

Many nonessential businesses — including things like retail stores, hair salons, warehouses, factories and offices — had their brick-and-mortar locations offices closed and did not have the technical tools to survive with their physical locations shut down.

Our agency has seen a tremendous increase in businesses reaching out to us ready to make the leap into digital. It’s critical for businesses to be able to not just survive but thrive through enhanced websites and digital tools to serve their customers. Things like e-commerce in industries that never utilized e-commerce before, advanced product configurations, chatbots and mobile applications are in greater demand than ever as small- and medium-size businesses join in the new decade’s technology revolution.

These new tools are helping businesses stay afloat during the virus outbreak and will be a macro-trend that becomes even more important as social distancing becomes commonplace practice — not just for this outbreak but for potential future outbreaks as well.

2. Cybersecurity concerns take center stage

Cybersecurity is already an important topic to large businesses, and with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and other privacy laws, as well as countless news stories about the cost and impact of data breaches, it is something smaller businesses are being forced to confront head on. With the surge in employees working remotely during the virus outbreak, we have seen more and more data breaches and cyberattacks.

Employees using unsecured infrastructure and third-party tools are two of the leading causes of potential breaches. Combine this with data storage and access practices that violate privacy laws — for example, telemedicine on non-HIPAA-compliant platforms — and suddenly the need for secure solutions takes center stage.

Additionally, during this vulnerable time, we have seen an increase in overseas cyberattacks on many of our clients’ websites. Things like brute force attacks, denial of service attacks and other types of attempted hacks have increased, and the need for keeping website and web servers updated and secure is of utmost importance. More businesses will be forced to invest in technology that is secure, scalable, accessibly remotely and follows the onslaught of new data privacy and security regulations.

 

3. An increase in virtual meetings

The tremendous increase in virtual meetings is a trend we predict will be here to stay. Though there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting and handshake, for the next few years we anticipate the trend of virtual meetings to continue. And this won’t just apply to the traditional business world, it will apply to many other aspects of our lives — for example, virtually meeting with your doctor, therapist, banker and even hair stylist for a consultation. This will be a tremendous cost and time savings to all parties involved. This is a trend that already started prior to the virus outbreak and will only become more amplified as we continue in this new decade. Preparing for this trend goes far beyond having a virtual meeting space and software. Things like digital brochures, digital business cards, tutorial videos and enhanced website information will all follow in this trend and become necessities as businesses find it more difficult to physically hand materials to their customers.

4. Increased control in expenses

With the unprecedented business shutdown across America, businesses will be increasingly looking at ways to have a greater degree of control over their expenses. These will include businesses requesting shorter contract durations, emergency clauses and provisions in agreements, ways to have a more easily scalable workforce utilizing temporary workers and temporary agencies, and an overall desire to lower expenses, especially recurring expenses.

We have witnessed firsthand nearly every client of ours express the need to reduce expenses, not just as a result of the virus but also as a practice they want to continue into the near future. While this is a good business practice regardless, the pain felt during this economic downturn will create scars that will likely last years into the future.

Make sure your business has answers when your customers ask for ways they can be saving, reducing contract terms or protecting their business from future disasters and catastrophes.

5. Even more remote employees

 

Lastly, with the previous four trends is going to come the fifth — an even larger shift to remote employees. Many businesses that fought the trend of employees working remote are now realizing that in being forced to shut down their offices, remote employees are still efficient, effective, economical, and something millennials and Generation Z demand.

With more remote employees comes the increased need for all of the first four points mentioned. This trend is something that started over a decade ago, but it will continue to be amplified in this new decade and following the COVID-19 outbreak.

These trends will be relevant not just in 2020, but likely well beyond. Making decisions and positioning your company now for these changes in the business world will make sure your business is ready and at the forefront of the new remote, digital technology revolution.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/348272

 

 

                                                         

If part of your team who can’t do their normal tasks during the COVID-19 lockdown, here are some ways to still put these resources to use.

Many of us remember the post-9/11 shutdown, particularly those of us who were living in Washington, D.C. or New York City. This is completely different.

There is no set end date on our current shutdown. Numbers are scary, people are worried, and businesses are closing.

For those fortunate enough to be working through this crisis, it’s a period of change and readjustment. Our daily routines have been upset. Instead of deciding what suit I should wear to a meeting, I have to decide when—if ever—I  will trim my beard again .

If you’ve been on LinkedIn during the crisis, you’ve seen how many companies are struggling to keep up with the news and appropriate tone. Just about everything feels trivial unless you’re promoting a service or technology that directly helps people right now. Particularly when it comes to media coverage, there is little attention being paid to anything unrelated to COVID-19, and rightfully so. Your customers, both current and future, likely have far more pressing concerns than what you’re selling, unless it’s food or technology to help you work from home.

Now, active marketing campaigns and media pitching are impacted and require a more deliberate, selective approach. You might have a new solution or initiative that is ready to launch but is temporarily on hold.

Regardless, there is still plenty to do. There will be a return to an open market in the future, so the goal now is to take advantage of this window and turn it into a positive for your company.

Here are four things every marketing and PR pro can focus on:

1. Awards

How many times have you scrambled to finish up an award nomination because everyone was too busy to focus on it before the deadline arrived? This has been a constant source of angst during my career, both in in-house and agency roles.

Despite the onslaught of coronavirus, awards will not be going anywhere. Though deadlines might get moved and  live events celebrating winners might shift , the awards themselves are going to remain alive.

Take this time to source the information you need and get ahead of awards through the end of year. There are awards coming up in the second half of the year that you know about and can figure out what info is needed based on the previous year’s nominations.

2. Content Development

In normal times, developing thought leadership content can be pushed aside for more pressing matters, whether that’s events, media interviews or sales collateral. As with awards, this is a moment to engage your subject matter experts and gather a collection of thought leadership ideas.

Whether that’s a media op-ed, a white paper, blog posts, or graphics for social media, there is a wide range of potential for companies now that many people will have more free time from a lack of in-person meetings and live events. Even though this content might not be needed or desired from a promotion standpoint until the summer or fall, having it ready will remove an item from your to-do list when life starts to return to normal and the rate of business activities jumps dramatically.

3. Research

Every company does research. However, it’s tough to budget for and prioritize research during normal business hours, when so many daily items seem to take precedence.

This is the opportunity to have staff, especially those most impacted by shutdowns, focus on research. With some guidance, anyone can do research—and anyone can make an impact. Identify members on your team that might be short of work in the interim (i.e. staff members who focus on live events) and point them to completing research that will inform your marketing and public relations activities for the future.

4. Get creative

Even beyond the standard work hours, we are largely confined to our homes with our family. We are alone with our thoughts, probably far more than any of us have ever wanted. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Encourage everyone on your team to think creatively about their roles, about campaigns and about media narratives. What could you be doing better? What could you be doing differently?

These are the questions that we always want to ask, but rarely have the time to focus answering during the madness of daily life. If Shakespeare could write multiple plays, including King Lear and MacBeth,  during the bubonic plague  centuries ago, I’m sure our best and brightest marketing and PR pros can figure out a better way to do things.

Let your mind wander. It’s one way to  keep us sane , as we work through this crisis together.

 

Source: https://www.prdaily.com/4-things-every-marketing-and-pr-pro-can-do-during-coronavirus/