Covid-19 Is an Accelerant vs an Agent of Change

At the start of the crisis I saw this brilliant meme: “Who led the digital transformation of your company? a) CEO; b) CTO; c) COVID-19.”

Covid-19 Digital Transformation

There is an element of truth to the image that just captures what has been taking place in business. It feels like everything has been in a state of change:

  • Projects are moving faster.
  • New systems and technology are being implemented.
  • Companies are transforming.

The irony is many of these projects were already happening before the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study by Tech Pro Research, 70% of companies already had a digital transformation strategy in place or were working on one.

Covid-19 didn’t cause the digital transformation, it accelerated it.

With stay-at-home orders and forced closures, companies had to move — fast! This ranged from implementing new IT security to establishing systems and tools for remote workers to even how companies serve their customers.

For example, companies flipped the switch on ecommerce projects in a matter of days and weeks.

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Central Smith — one of Canada’s largest ice cream manufacturers and a Sticky Branding client — transformed their retail business within a few weeks.

With the closures of restaurants across the country, Central Smith had an overstock of product. Meghan and Jillian, two employees, suggested putting up a Shopify site and offering curbside pickup.

The duo launched the site within a week, and then reached out to the local Chamber of Commerce and a few food bloggers to help get the word out.

The response was nothing short of overwhelming. The first week the site was live, Central Smith’s online sales exceeded a normal month in the retail store. And it has grown every week since.

Ecommerce wasn’t a new idea, but Covid-19 and the lockdowns accelerated the process.

The crisis is also accelerating the demise of many businesses. Hertz, JCPenney, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, and Gold’s Gym have all filed for bankruptcy. These companies didn’t even make it eight weeks into the crisis!

These “zombie companies” were gorging on debt well before the crisis, and did not have the ability to weather a storm.

It’s heartbreaking. These were once strong brands that served their customers well, but through mismanagement and greed all of their futures were consumed. These companies were the living dead.

Across the board, the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating change.

This moment may be the greatest entrepreneurial gift of our lifetime. You have absolute authority and ability to innovate and push forward your ideas:

  • Your customers want you to succeed.
  • People are open minded and receptive to change — from customers to suppliers to employees.
  • There’s a collective desire to fight and survive.
  • There are lots of available funding programs.

Most importantly, this is a shared experience and the playing field has been leveled. Every person and every company from around the world is going through the exact same thing at the exact same time. You don’t need to explain why your company is changing or trying new things. You can reference covid and everyone gets it.

Today is the moment. Accelerate your change.

This has been a big part of the Crisis Marketing work I have been doing with Sticky Branding’s clients. We have viewed strategy through two horizons:

  • First, how to recover the customers and revenue taken by Covid-19.
  • Second, build and implement a “Slingshot Strategy” to launch out of the crisis stronger than ever.

In 8 weeks, we have seen companies recover 50% of the revenue taken by Covid-19 and achieve cash stability. This has propelled them to act on their Slingshot Strategies.

As we look into the fall, I am anticipating growth rates to exceed anything we accomplished B.C. (before coronavirus).

What’s happening in your company? Has Covid-19 accelerated change?

In a Crisis, Strategy Is Everything

As the economy reopens, the opportunities for “Green Shoots” and growth are immense. Learn how to create a “Slingshot Strategy” to come out of the crisis stronger than ever. If you’re interested, call me (Jeremy Miller) directly at 416.479.4403, or check out our Crisis Marketing services.