A large part of the Philippines went on general community quarantine (GCQ) effective June 1, 2020. All local and international media have been using the term “new normal”, referring to new realities, new ways of doing or understanding. What does this mean to marketers?
Allow me to share my 8- point perspective on this:
1. We are not going back to any of the old normal we’ve been adjusting to every time there is a crisis (political, economic or health), at least not soon, at least not until vaccines would be available. This means we need to acknowledge new consumer behavior – – increase mindfulness of safety, greater attention to health and wellness, preference for work from home, better eating, time spent with family, fewer non essentials, frugality, review of life’s purpose, and digital acceleration.
2. For lack of economic activities and consumer spending, the Philippines will have its first recession since the Asian financial crisis 1997-1998, with negative economic growth in both the first and second quarter of the 2020. Marketing will be amidst recession where value and value-for money instead of just price become much more important.
3. In terms of workforce, out of some 44 million labor force in the Philippines, unemployment before COVID19 was at 5.1% while underemployment was at 14%. NEDA anticipates a double-digit unemployment rate this year based on the 2.2 million people who already lost their job as of the first week of April 2020. If at 15% unemployment, an additional 4 million people will not have a job; at 20%, an additional 6 million. In the US, 26% of their work force, or equivalent to 41 million people filed for unemployment insurance as of May 28, 2020, with 2.1 million people filing for claims the week before. These unemployed will have to look for alternative income sources.
4. We can learn from countries who experienced the new normal ahead. Countries like Taiwan, Vietnam, etc. who, despite low COVID death rates, are not taking any chances until vaccines are available. The future of the Philippines is already happening elsewhere, as we speak.
- In churches, no holy water, no singing of hymns, nor saying of amen, and some even need to book “social distancing” seats ahead.
- In restaurants, thermal scanners are used, disposable plastic provided to store face mask, tables 5 feet apart and/or with dividers, plus no speaking while eating.
- In salons, and barber shops, plastic dividers everywhere, and magazines are no longer given to waiting guests.
- In beaches, sunbathing and water games are not allowed.
5. These new realities have changed the traditional key success factors on its head, and a strength had become a weakness overnight. For instance, restaurants and food kiosks which are unable to open hundreds or thousands of their stores, now have to compete with a lot of smaller providers who are tapping the power of delivery apps and the new found commercial role of Viber/Telegram. These online marketplace platforms also use purchase recommendations from community dealers and the regular members of the group.
6. Tweaking the business model is now the prime activity of businesses to survive. Marketers must be comfortable with words like shift, pivot, reset, and repurpose, looking at the bigger picture business model first before any good marketing can be executed (Note: A free video entitled “8 Things to Evaluate in your Business Model During COVID” is available at the Continuum Academy website) .
7. There will be winners and “losers” in the new normal, and the new normal can even be a better normal. Bounty Agro announced a 12% increase in sales and 448% increase in profit for the first quarter of 2020. Within one week’s time from lockdown, Bounty Agro launched over 100 rolling stores selling Chooks-to-Go and dressed chickens. They struggled at first but kept pivoting quickly until they got it right. They also sold live chicken as well as to local government units. (Note: In my online seminar on “Business Model Shift” also available in Continuum Academy, I cited Bounty Agro as part of 45 inspiring companies from 17 countries that pivoted their business model successfully during the COVID crisis)
8. This unprecedented new normal requires new leadership, a leadership that draws from one’s very core, a heroic kind of leadership. Understandably, people need to go through the process of loss – some are still at denial, hoping for things to go back to business as usual; some are releasing frustrations or even ranting in anger at being helpless, criticizing others who are trying to survive, perhaps to gain some semblance of control
To carry everyone in his or her team through this crisis and into the new normal, the leader we need at this time must remain positive and acknowledge new realities, learning the importance of critical thinking in the business model, and be action-oriented. Now is the time to be brave.
As we move towards the new normal, here are new realities that can help your brands adapt faster and better.
The 2nd Mansmith Brand Summit features 6 outstanding Mansmith YMMA awardees who will be sharing actual cases and experiences in brand strategy and management.
This is a virtual summit with live Q&A with the speakers, to be facilitated by Mansmith Chairman and Chief Innovation Strategist, Josiah Go.