Act savvy during the crisis and emerge as winner
The Covid-19 pandemic came with a punch. From one day to another, our everyday life as well as our work life changed in ways we were all largely unprepared for. For businesses, this situation means that strategies which were good at the beginning of the year do not necessarily work anymore.
It took most companies a while to accept the new situation, to adopt operational processes ensuring business continuity. Meanwhile, we all realised the fallout of the crisis is more impactful than anticipated and that some of the changes we are facing will remain.
From our perspective, now is a good time to revise the overall strategy and develop a plan to exit the crisis as a winner. But what exactly does that mean? In our definition, as a winner, you should not only get your business back to former performance levels but actively make use of the situation to lift your entire business onto a new level and grow it over-proportionately.
Never let a good crisis go to waste!
That is of course easier said than done. However, the decision to actively manage the process is a conscious one. Looking into different companies, we often see that instead of a strategic approach rather reactive measures are taken to get back on track. Often, all different departments are asked for their contribution, which in most cases means ‘how can we cut costs’? Furthermore, some tactical marketing measures are defined, such as special offerings or price cuts to foster consumption and purchase. We believe this can only help to ‘stay in the game’ during the crisis but it cannot help to generate value and to put your company onto a sustainable growth path.
To achieve the latter, a more strategic and holistic approach is required, which could end-up in fundamentally changing your go-to-market or even business model.
The good news is: the rising pressure enables corporations to change things a lot easier and more effectively than in normal times – even hard decisions which were unthinkable in the past may find acceptance these days.
So what to do? To navigate through the change process, the savvy company developed a 3-step process blueprint to help you navigate through the process.
1) Understand the change
The first and maybe most important step is to identify how customer needs and behaviours have changed. Find out, which of these changes are lasting and how much they are impacting your business.
We recommend to set-up an insights task force to identify the right tools and methods to deliver a useful perspective. In this situation, companies should take the opportunity to look into quick and novel ways to keep a pulse on the consumers’ sentiment. Pico jobber surveys, social media monitoring or listening to the own frontline employees might be interesting alternatives to traditional research techniques which require operational effort and precious time. But do not compromise on quality – it is always essential to ensure the chosen methodology is delivering robust answers to your questions instead of delivering pseudo results which might trigger completely wrong actions. Applied the right way, the task force may be a way to re-focus the entire insights function of your company to their most important task: helping the management to make the right strategic decisions.
To complete the picture, we also recommend to keep an eye on the competition and intensively monitor market dynamics. On the one hand, this delivers valuable insights on the strategies of your competitors. On the other hand, this exercise can visualise trends in customer behaviour as well. Thus including market intelligence into your insights task force will leverage the overall output.
Last but not least we want to encourage you to understand the internal perspective. Ask your employees how their lives and especially their work lives have been changing over the past months. In the recent weeks, most companies were undergoing the biggest change processes ever – oftentimes without an internally set-up change program. So the question is, how did the past weeks impact your overall capabilities and which new opportunities arise from that? If you manage this process actively, this can become a booster to your productivity as well as to your capabilities.
2) Re-calibrate your offering
Obviously, the insights gathered are invaluable when your company can leverage them to better target the right consumers with their propositions.
So, as a starting point we recommend to analyse if the value proposition still matches the altered consumer needs. If you discover gaps, it is certainly a good idea to close them as quick as possible to guarantee business continuity.
However, if you want to emerge from the situation as a winner, we recommend to go one step further: identify opportunity areas to develop your value proposition further or even to develop new business models and sources of revenue. Make sure that these opportunity areas are aligned with your business strategies and capabilities.
In this situation time is the critical factor: the sooner companies can cater the needs of their customers during the crisis, the better off both will be. Therefore, we suggest to invest in agile innovation methods if you have not done it yet. From our experience especially for larger companies it is rather difficult to change established innovation processes, as there are many departments involved and various personal targets impacted. However, the current situation can be used as a trigger for change.
Companies that master that approach will create value for consumers in high-priority areas and an environment of increased competition.
3) Optimise your spend allocation
Once it is defined how your target set-up looks like, which products and services you will go to market with, which channels you focus on etc., it is time to turn to your spending. As a third step, we therefore recommend to revisit your budget allocation and radically adapt it to the needs of your strategy. The knowledge obtained in the prior steps will enable you to make smarter operational trade-offs, based on what matters most to customers.
For example, you might learn that customers require more digital self-service processes in the changed environment. Focusing on these digital self-services will improve your customer experience and your efficiency at the same time. As a result, you will have the required flexibility for your future growth.
We hope that this small guideline will help you navigate through the crisis successfully and that it will help you to prepare your business for the next level. “Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Winston Churchill once said. At the savvy company, we believe that there is a lot of truth in this sentence. Companies which take the crisis as a chance, accepting the altered reality and using the opportunity to consciously drive change have a good chance to emerge from this as winners.
Implementing such a program is obviously a difficult task but with a clear strategy as well as the right skills and toolset the process becomes viable. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, the entire program can be executed within 4-6 weeks.
Get in touch, if we can help you define your customised program and more importantly get it into action.