As I consider what businesses face in the year ahead, I keep coming back to two key concepts. First, the common refrain, that “things will get back to normal,” is inaccurate, and two, this leaves us with aggressive preparedness as the best stance through the remainder of the year.
Let’s unpack why the first concept is valid. I’ll borrow from Ralph Wado Emerson to make my case. “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
All our experiences have been stretched in critical ways. We demonstrated that information workers could work remotely with actual improvements to productivity. We learned who the essential workers are. We also learned how important our homes are to us, how much we long to explore and travel, and how much we miss connecting with others.
These experiences will drive fundamental changes in how businesses and employees balance their lives and careers – which will, in turn, have direct impacts on the organization of our cities, our neighborhoods, and our patterns of living. We will not go “back to normal.”
We also won’t stay living like we are. People will socialize more, go out to eat more, travel more and appreciate all the little things we have taken for granted. However, we won’t let go of the newfound appreciation for on-demand delivery, drive up to pick up shopping, and all the new conveniences that we enjoy due to adaptations businesses have made in the past year.
Considering all of this, the NEW NORMAL will be a hybrid – embracing what we learned in the past year while filtering out things that don’t serve us anymore.
How this NEW NORMAL impacts us as consumers is yet to be seen, but we can expect a demand for more connection AND more convenience. Brands that can implement strategies that simultaneously provide more connection AND more convenience will rise to the top of their categories.
For many businesses – this can be a tall order. Converging in-person connection with digital convenience can be a tall order for any organization.
We help businesses bridge this divide, both by developing strategies to create more meaningful connections and implementing digital infrastructure and messaging to deliver more convenience.See Also