It’s fair to say that the pandemic has globally impacted every single industry. Though this impact has expressed itself differently in each industry and continues to develop as we head into recovery, change has been universal. In the UK we are still in the earliest stages of easing lockdown restrictions and have a long way to go before we truly understand what the post-COVID19 landscape will look like, but…
As lockdown measures were first announced on 23rd March, in 12 weeks certain trends and hits and misses have been noted. During this wild and woolly time (our alternative to unprecedented – you’re welcome) each organisation has approached the situation differently and for many, it has been a learning curve. So while we’re keen to leave behind some of the more eccentric hobbies, in this post we’re going to talk about some of the lessons and business practices we’re going to hold onto post-coronavirus.
1. Remote working works
Remote working isn’t a new concept. However before lockdown, the Office for National Statistics found that just 5% of workers in the UK worked mainly from home. Lockdown has seen this figure rise dramatically and with positive affect. Not only do staff report that they are more productive when working from home, but employees score their happiness 8% higher than those based in the workplace. Furthermore the Working from Home survey conducted by Engaging Works, found that the ideal working week for 60% of recipients, would be one split between remote and office-based working.
But remote working has benefits above and beyond employee happiness. It enables businesses to recruit further afield increasing the talent pool, potentially reduces financial costs attached to an office space, and perhaps most importantly, also has a positive impact on the environment. We certainly expect to see many businesses making more permanent moves towards flexible remote working.
2. A thesaurus is not just for university students
It might be just us, but it felt like the pandemic came with quite a lot of vocabulary lessons. Phrases we’d never really heard of became normal run of the mill. For instance flattening the curve, and R-nought. While certain terms are necessary, there are a few words and phrases we’ve grown a little weary of. For example: unprecedented and the new normal. When words are overused they lose their effectiveness, and from a reader’s perspective variety is appreciated. So it’s worth coming up with a few alternatives to keep your customers’ attention.
3. There is such a thing as over-communication
Okay, so this one may not be a new lesson. But it is always worth repeating. A recent YouGov study highlighted that not only did 51% report that they felt brands were over communicating with them during this time, 43% also felt brands’ current messages and advertising is inauthentic. Authenticity has become a bit of a buzz word in recent times, but ultimately not all topics and trends will be relevant to your brand or product, and audiences can tell when something has been shoehorned. Whenever you are planning a campaign or comms strategy, ask yourself 3 simple questions:
- Is this relevant to my brand and / or product?
- Is this relevant to my audience?
- Will the content of the comms add-value or interest my audience?
This is where segmentation works wonders. For instance, the answer to question 2, may not be the yes across your entire audience. But by utilising segmentation you can ensure only those who a piece of content is relevant to, receive it. Customer engagement will always be valuable but there is definitely a right and wrong way to achieve this.
4. It pays to know your audience
KFC’s recent “We’ve missed you too” campaign has received glowing reviews. The advertisement features images from the brand’s social media campaign #RateMyFKC, which encouraged individuals to make their own version of the chicken dishes at home to be rated by the brand. The video showcases the varying degrees of success, before ending by reassuring customers that they will take it from here.
The advert has proved popular among both the KFC audience and the public in general. This slightly more tongue-in-cheek approach may have been considered a little risky in the current climate, but following research which found that customers had grown tired of empathy from advertising, the brand were confident it would be well received and they were right. The campaign serves as an important lesson of how important it is to know your audience.
5. Video calls will never replace face-to-face
Video calls are great. They have enabled businesses all around the world to continue to communicate and innovate. However, nothing will ever fully replace face-to-face interaction. Zoom fatigue is a new term which scientists have coined to describe how individuals are tiring of video calls. There are many reasons for this but to highlight just two:
- 93% of communication is non-verbal and unfortunately not all of these cues are available on video calls
- It’s not the norm to be able to see a large version of your face during a meeting. And if we’re honest, we’re hoping it stays like that.
So yes, video calls will always have a very important place in business but so will face-to-face interactions.
6. Community spirit still exists
The weekly ‘clap for carers’ has been a highlight for many during lockdown. It has seen neighbours, who previously may have never properly spoken, connect on a weekly basis. And it has been lovely. The same premise has also been adopted by some brands who have used this time to drive their marketing efforts into turning their customers and members into brand ambassadors. Creating that community feeling among your customers and members is a great way to achieve this and has been particularly successful for businesses in the fitness industry.