written by
Tom Schwarz
Tom Schwarz
Food for Thoughts

Crisis minus Fear = Opportunity

Crisis minus Fear = Opportunity

The Chinese symbol for crisis has two components: one which symbolises danger, the other opportunity. If you take the opportunity out of the crisis, it becomes a danger. But if you take the fear out of the crisis, it becomes an opportunity. Let us concentrate on the second component, because nothing accelerates development and change more than a tangible crisis. These were exactly the ingredients of the German economic miracle in the 1950s. We are going to need a second.

Hand on heart: what do you think has been the strongest driver of digitisation in recent years?

CEOs, CTOs, internal change programs or a worldwide pandemic that has forced each and every one of us and not least the entire global economy to rethink things overnight.

Phrases like social distancing, travel ban, curfew, contact ban, working from home and home schooling are now part of the common vernacular. What previously seemed inconceivable has become possible at the push of a button. Corona has not only unleashed the disrupters of the future, but has also forced us to consciously confront our own digital culture. Whether it's working from home in the kitchen, Skype sessions with the grandchildren, first conversations with Alexa or exercising to a fitness app, the lockdown has made consumers ready for digital services.

In the short term this has meant a shortened customer journey as people's lives have shifted into their own four walls. Digital assistants, delivery services and subscription models are booming and changing established sales channels. Here we are talking about consumer 4.0

In marketing skills like agility, dynamism, speed and creativity are now more in demand than ever. Certain learned processes are being rethought and it will be those service providers who can react flexibly and innovatively in a volatile market and who are also able to offer as much as possible from a single source that will be in demand. We are seeing quite clearly that innovative and creative productions create a high level of attention and thus a corresponding advertising effect with the audience. This requires a great deal of courage and instinct because no one is able or willing to afford major test phases at the moment.

We have to get used to the new normal. Brands should ask themselves the central question of meaning, because consumer behaviour and expectations of brands is going to change as a result of the crisis. Customers want to know precisely about the origin, supply chains and resources of products. Transparency, authenticity and honesty are the order of the day.

In short:

Brands should first reflect on their values and their DNA. Then show empathy and listen so that they are able to help and support people in the best possible way. In general: less talk, more action. And finally, use smart data to boldly anticipate the future instead of just reporting the past. Only then can opportunity arise from crisis.