Empathy and a spirit of ‘we are in this together, so let’s get out of it together’ needs to be communicated back
Vinod Nair, MD, Network Advertising
Having gone through a tough year where virtually no business has remained unaffected, 2021 will be the year where a lot of time and effort will have to be invested in reviving relationships that have become strained due to business pressures. This is especially true for consultant businesses like advertising agencies, where there will be a need to display new competencies to deal with the new uncertainties that have crept up in the post-COVID world.
Though brands have always benefited from dealing with agencies offering integrated services, this has become even more crucial with the layers of complexity that have been added in trying to woo consumers who are a lot more demanding. No longer are pat solutions based on what has worked in the past applicable. It is absolutely crucial therefore to have a holistic view of branding and communication and offer solutions that are right for the needs of the brand, rather than those that are easy to offer.
Coming out of a tough year, it is quite evident that spirits of people all around are quite low. This applies as much to the clients as it does to the employees. It is quite vital for the leadership of any organisation to be the source of positivity and actively spread it. There is enough doom-and-gloom out there and the only way that it can be lifted is with a ray of sunshine of spirit. Constantly encouraging every person one meets will go a long way in actualising a positive turn to the business environment.
This focus area is direct fallout of the previous one. Communication channels have to be opened wide. Constant and frequent talks must be an area of focus. Two-way communication is of utmost importance. There is a need to understand the practical and emotional issues that people are facing. At the same time, empathy and a spirit of ‘we are in this together, so let’s get out of it together’ needs to be communicated back.
This is normally not a focus area for most businesses in a good year. However, the best businesses never lose sight of it, no matter how well they are doing. The COVID blow to business can be turned into a wonderful opportunity to step back and assess leakages in the system that lead to a waste of resources. The businesses that stay afloat are the only ones who will rise when the tide turns. This is the time to lose the dead weight. This is the time to think about how one can stay afloat and the only way to do that is to lose dead weight.
COVID-19 is not the first global crisis, nor is it likely to be the last. Somehow or other, economy and businesses always bounce back. But it is in the good times that successful people never forget the lessons of the hard times. Right now, we are hopefully at the cusp of a turnaround. And it is only by going back to the basics and applying them will we be able to make this into a reality.