My last four blogs have looked at the lessons we can learn from 2020, focusing on Marketing, Business, The Economy and Society. What’s very clear is that thousands of people, and hundreds of businesses, will sadly not survive, so we must look for green shoots and silver linings if we are to learn and to heal. This last year, horrendous as it was, provided a unique and incredible opportunity to get off the treadmill, look around and re-evaluate our priorities. So where do we go from here?
First a quick recap on some of the key take-outs;
- Brands always need to be built on a fundamental truth – in times of crisis you’ll rely on this more than ever
- Short-term tactics are worthless if they’re not underpinned by long-term strategy
- Look after your customers and the community you serve (whoever/wherever they are)
- Focus on the whole customer experience, not just what you’re selling
- Support causes that unite people and do genuine good – and whatever cause you choose, make sure you walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.
Business & The Economy
- Covid accelerated many of the changes that were slowly happening anyway
- We all need to adapt – the challenge is how quickly we can do it
- The pandemic exposed years of strategic complacency and dividend-boosting at the expense of investment in many big businesses
- Many of them only paid lip service to the mantra of ‘think global, act local’. They need to do more to genuinely connect with their local communities
- Government (at all levels) needs to stop prioritising big business over small – a clamp down on Corporation Tax avoidance would make a significant contribution to the national debt (if I have to pay it, so should Mondelez et al)
- We need to build a more social, caring economy, not continually invest in non-essential infrastructure projects.
- We lost the value of community as our lives got busier
- We’ve had a unique opportunity to be kinder and really get to know our neighbours and colleagues
- Video calling played a vital role and will remain hugely important, but is no replacement for the real human connections we make through socialising and travelling
- Our communities need more amenities if they’re to support the growing number of home workers
- Social Media has fuelled many divisions, and polarised many arguments, but at a local level can be a force for good
- Covid-19 has shown us that we’re all in the same boat and, as no-one knows how long this is going to last, it’s high time we all got along better.
Wow. What a lot has happened in just 12 months.
I’ve read a lot of opinion pieces that suggest our old ways of working are gone for good and we’ll never go back to the way things were. But business has always needed to ‘adapt or die’, and the pandemic just exposed the vulnerability of those that won’t, or can’t.
I believe the real risk is things will get back to ‘normal’ too quickly. People have very short memories. The danger is that, as soon as we’re all vaccinated, we’ll carry on as if this never happened.
The end of the last two lockdowns proved that people, many already struggling with the rules, are just desperate to get their old lives back. We can’t wait to visit our families and hug our grandparents, to meet friends in pubs and restaurants, to go to the theatre and the cinema, to travel abroad again.
Life will get back to normal, but things will look different for a while yet. New players will replace some of the old names, we’ll have to adapt to some new rules. The challenge for many is an impending recession and the lack of disposable income.
What we mustn’t do is lose sight of the few good things that have emerged and throw this once-in-a-century opportunity away.
Unchecked global capitalism has proved to be pretty poisonous to our environment, our health and our salaries. Obscene wealth never ‘trickles down’. A more local, more care-based economy is the real antidote to this ever happening again.
It’s been a horrendous week for the US, but in under two weeks Trump will be out and the new administration will start to rebuild. Both he and Brexit have been enabled more than four years of polar divisions, and simplistic, toxic, side-taking has extended to so many areas of our life. Let’s hope 2021 sets a new standard of discussion and consensus and the Americans can lead by example again.
As D-Reem might say, things can only get better… but only if we all make it happen.
Fingers crossed for a Happier New Year for all of us.