While some industries and companies have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic and are facing steep revenue losses, others are scrambling to adjust their operations just to try to keep up with demand.
Many organizations fall somewhere in the middle of the two. They are being forced to make critical decisions with imperfect information, and postponing these decisions to wait for more information to become available may not be the answer in today’s uncertain times. So how can businesses think proactively, and develop strategies to lead through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond?
To answer this question, ExecOnline teamed up with Professor Michael Wade, Director of the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation at IMD Business School. In our live webinar event, Find Your COVID-19 Superpower: Key Principles for Thriving Amid Disruption, Professor Wade explored strategies, principles, and examples of how you and your organization can thrive amid the disruption caused by COVID-19.
The webinar began with Professor Wade asking attendees where they think their organizations stand amidst today’s crisis. Have revenues drastically dropped? Has business taken off, with demand now surpassing supply? Or is your organization in-between the two, and every decision you make today feels as if it will ultimately dictate whether or not you come out on top? See what attendees reported in the webinar poll chart.
No matter where you stand, here are three proactive response strategies that you and your organizations can explore today:
Proactive response strategy #1: Same products, different channel
Ask yourself: Can we sell our products/services online? Are there other channels we could sell on? How do we adapt our products/services so they create value?
For example: The most common example is transitioning from selling your products from offline to online. While many companies have done this, the organizations doing this most effectively have some kind of a twist to make what they are doing more exciting than typical e-commerce. For example, Nike is now offering multiple formats of workout classes, coaching, motivation, nutrition guidance, and training tips via their app. This is in addition to special promos online.
A less obvious example of moving your products/services offline to online is live commerce – this is when you demo your product live online, typically with a celebrity. China has seen a lot of success with live commerce, as it is one way to make the online experience more exciting.
A final example of products/services moving offline to online is education. Schools and even organizations did not have a choice in moving education online. Things needed to move quickly too, so we are finding a large variance in the quality of these online learning experiences.
“ExecOnline is an organization that has really been doing this since the beginning, and we see other organizations trying to catch up.” – Michael Wade
Proactive response strategy #2: Same infrastructure, different products
Ask yourself: Can we use our existing infrastructure to create medical or health products/services that are in high demand due to COVID-19? Can we use our existing infrastructure to create medical or health products/services that are in high demand, but this is not related to COVID-19? Can we lease our existing infrastructure to others during the crisis? How should we adjust our infrastructure to create these products/services? Can we use partners to help us?
For example: Organizations around the world are coming up with innovative ways to deliver their resources. Some noteworthy examples being:
- Companies developing medical or health products/services linked to COVID-19.
- Hotel chains have pivoted and are now using their infrastructures for medical workers taking care of COVID-19 patients.
- The return of drive-in movie theaters.
- Some restaurants and cafes have become grocery stores.
Proactive response strategy #3: Same products, different infrastructure
Ask yourself: How can we expand our production/ delivery capacity?
For example: You have a great product/service and you simply can’t meet demand. Think Amazon, grocery stores, etc. You have options:
- Hire additional capacity to meet the demand.
- Divert resources to in-demand areas – some grocery stores have restricted the times they are open to offer more slots for delivery.
- Reduce quality – Amazon and Apple are reducing streaming quality to lessen broadband strain in Europe.
Now it’s your turn. Use the decision tree below to proactively and strategically think through the potential COVID-19 response options for your organizations.
Want to hear more tips and actionable advice from Professor Wade and ExecOnline? Watch the full webinar on-demand today in the ExecOnline® resource center. We understand that today’s crisis calls on leaders to step up on multiple fronts. To help guide you through this challenging time, we are continuing to update our resource center with new, relevant content, and events based on your evolving needs. Here you will find upcoming live webinars, webinars available on-demand, blogs, and much more!