Get up to speed on how leaders are responding
Companies with direct exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic are taking a number of actions, including:
- Detecting demand patterns early and asking questions: Where is demand spiking? Where is it cratering? How is it different from geography to geography? Companies that can dynamically adjust their strategies based on these rapidly changing demand patterns will likely have an advantage.
- Enabling teams to adjust their strategy — particularly on the supply side of the business — to meet demand, and even help shape it through the use of promotion and customer engagement strategies.
- Making the health and safety of workers a top priority and quickly shifting to digitally enabled teams that can work from home.
- Reassessing strategy to anticipate what areas may go back to previous ways of working and what new tools can be adopted on a go-forward basis, creating the next “new normal.”
- Taking a strategic approach to expense management — protecting the core, investing in the future, reducing or eliminating low-value spend — to safeguard against potential competitive threats, position for whatever comes next and ultimately help strengthen the brand.
- Balancing social responsibility and shareholder value by making early moves that will positively impact the brand. Companies that are able to show empathy in their response to the crisis will likely see a more positive response from stakeholders and be able to build brand equity with customers, especially those in vulnerable situations.
While the ways some companies make money in the market are holding up, the ways of working are being fundamentally challenged. Under these new conditions, companies are focusing on reevaluating their strategies and communicating with stakeholders as things change in real-time.
Assess mid-term implications
As teams adjust to news ways of working and information gaps begin to fill, companies will begin to shift their focus back to growth. This will likely include the following:
- Protecting growth and profitability through actions such as scenario planning, more frequent financial modeling exercises to improve resiliency and dynamic models that incorporate economic impacts of past pandemics.
- Accelerating digital transformations as the shift to remote working reveals potential gaps in IT infrastructure, workforce planning and digital upskilling. Use this as an opportunity to get closer to both customers and employees by showing empathy and a united front.
- Quantifying the virus’ impact relative to each part of the business — both today and longer term — to determine hot spots to assess operational risk and business criticality.
- Identifying areas to triage, specifically in growth and profitable business units, to limit brand dilution or erosion.
- Articulating to employees and customers how the business has adapted to the crisis, and communicating how the brand is aligned with the company’s strategy and how it’s helping employees embrace what has changed.