It’s fair to say that the pandemic upturned our lives in ways we couldn’t even imagine seemingly overnight. March is just around the corner and with it, the UK marks one year of restrictions and other measures used in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not pushing aside the unbelievably harrowing scale of the human loss of life, March marks one whole year of staying home, hand washing, not seeing friends and family, home schooling and for some reason still unknown to most, baking banana bread.
For most of us, we moved to fully remote working overnight, businesses continued, some flourished, others changed direction and sadly many ceased to be able to operate. It seems crass to suggest there are winners and losers in such a huge global devastation but I am sure the folks at Deliveroo, Amazon and Netflix aren’t too worried about their bonuses this year…
So as the one year marker comes into view, there are also the first green shoots of optimism for a very long time. It’s still difficult to imagine now, but the coronavirus lockdown will end. One day, when the numbers tell us it’s safe, we will leave our masks at home and return to the streets, revive the economy and re-establish our routines.
But the question is will we re-establish all of those same routines?
Do we want and need the same things in a post-pandemic world? This is the conundrum both our business and our clients' businesses are facing, and we are working with them hand in hand to guide them through this challenge from a communications perspective.
Whilst there are many positives – I don’t know anyone who isn’t dreaming of that moment they can safely hold their loved ones again, take a holiday or enjoy a meal that doesn’t taste of hand sanitiser. There are many areas we have fallen out of love with – two hour commutes every day on a packed train, I am looking at you…
The lessons learned during lockdown and the fight against Covid-19 have to encourage change. From a communications point of view, many brands are finding themselves with a staff and customer base who now have very different wants and needs. Most of which they are absolutely not shy about demanding.
Even though the pandemic is temporary, it’s lasting long enough to turn temporary behaviours into big structural shifts. At the end of the crisis, some things will return to the way they were, some things will look very different and some things will simply not come back. The trick for brands is to be able to identify the short-term solutions from the more permanent.
Transparency, flexibility, tech-savvy, eco conscious, a GOOD business, a fair business – the list is endless and will continue to evolve as we move through what is hopefully the final instalment in this trilogy.
As comms professionals, guiding clients through the maze of changing wants and needs from their customers isn’t new – but few of us can say we have had to pivot to such an extent as what the last year has driven. The PR industry was certainly not immune to the fundamental shifts Covid made to every aspect of our lives.
Customer insights on behaviour, buying patterns, wants and needs should be at the forefront of all brands thinking. Those with the greatest insight on their customers have always won when it comes to targeting them with what they want exactly where they are.
Here at Siren Comms, we have worked closely with many clients who are planning for a return to ‘normal’ in the post pandemic world.
From supporting Uber Boat By Thames Clippers on their return to service, to supporting Rabbie’s with the restarting of their small UK based tours and The Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company with its at-home lockdown cheese bundles. We also worked closely with many start up food and drink businesses including Holy Island Gin and Pilgrims Coffee House to identify where they needed to be, why and quickly driving incredible results for all involved.
COVID might be taxing our systems and patience, but it’s also building our resilience and allowing us to develop new and innovative solutions out of necessity.
In a post-COVID-19 world, let’s hope we all take the lessons handed to us by our time dealing with the virus and put them in to practice.
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