Recently, we’ve been contacted by both large, family-owned enterprises along with national, publicly-traded companies, and everyone seems to be asking the same questions: given COVID, how do we get a digital transformation process started and how can we reimagine / reinvent our customer journeys for a digital-only world. Across all of our conversations, three themes have emerged over the past six months.

  • COVID-19 is disruptive and it’s not going away: Resiliency beats hyper efficiency. Build resilient digital pathways to communicate, experience, and purchase.
  • COVID-19 is an accelerant: It’s 2025, today. Even the most ‘resistant adopters’ have embraced digital, and trend adoption cycles have collapsed.
  • COVID-19 thrust CX to the forefront of brand strategy: Great branding is more about the actions of leadership and employees and the experiences they provide prospects and customers.

These companies and their C‑suite leadership understand that Covid-19 will continue to impact their businesses for some time to come and that there is a potential for intermittent disruption for years to come. We’re advising all of our clients and partners to plan for a W or jagged shaped recovery, and that they need to be able to sustain multiple disruptions going forward.

So what does that mean?

The Future is Now

Our message is simple: Covid-19 has collapsed 5–10 years of trend adoption into a 5–7 month period. These trends will not reverse. That is to say, if your company had an innovation and / or transformation timeline that advanced the company over time to 2025, that road map now needs to be collapsed. Solutions, technology, innovation, and digital CX adoption must happen today versus over the next 3–5 years.

Consumer Experience Trumps Everything Else

Covid-19 has altered current and prospective customer journeys, both to and from your brand. Discovery channels and path to purchase have been permanently altered. Digital adoption has grown strongly, even among the most “digitally resistant.”

McKinsey & Co: digital experiences will continue to grow in popularity once the corona virus is quelled, and companies that act quickly and innovate in their delivery model to help consumers navigate the pandemic safely and effectively will establish a strong advantage.

It’s no secret that we can no longer conduct business as usual. Many C‑suite leaders we’re talking to may never fully revert back to pre-pandemic patterns. Trade shows, sales conferences, industry events, professional training, customer appreciation, and user conferences are all on pause for the time being or moving virtual / digital. Two questions every business leader must ask: 1) are you capable of delivering a 2025 digital CX, today?, and 2) has CX been adjusted for the current environment (i.e. is it being transformed for future sales, marketing, and communications demands)?

Brand + CX = Growth

Brands that craft and deliver category-leading CX enjoy higher brand loyalty, greater growth through word-of-mouth / network effect, more efficient lead generation and sales, and most importantly, enhanced enterprise value (EV). Your online and offline marketing must now shift and adopt to focus on new strategies that drive CX. This is what many of our partner and client C‑suite leaders know, and it’s why we are in their offices reimagining the future of sales, marketing, communications, and brand strategy with them, today. To be clear, this is not a simple website or social media conversation. This is a brand strategy / positioning conversation that speaks to ‘Brand’ as a Balance Sheet Asset and a driver of equity value.