The New Economy
Through 20+ years of serving brands and their users, we’ve seen four significantly negative events plague our outlook, while simultaneously creating boundless opportunity.
The dot-com crash, the 9/11 attack, the real estate bust, and now Covid-19. Through these horrific events, we’ve witnessed two compelling universal truths come to light. One is that each event created true and terrible outcomes for many, which we don’t take lightly. What’s also true, is that each of these moments in history created pathways for social, personal, and economic change.
Yet again, the world is changing rapidly, which forces us to adapt our expectations and sense of normalcy. Prior to Covid, we were on a fast track to an on-demand economy. Consumers, from B2B buyers to everyday customers, were expecting to get exactly what they wanted, exactly how they wanted it, exactly when they wanted it. Those urgent needs are driven by the myriad of innovators that figured out how to quickly meet the desires of their market. Entertainment, software subscriptions, hard goods, rental cars, vacation homes, car services (and the list goes on) became available by mere clicks of buttons.
Enter Covid. As the world is ravaged by this pandemic the rules of the game have entered the fast lane towards change. Our expectations around how we work, travel, shop, socialize, entertain ourselves, and live our daily lives have been turned upside down. Many businesses have failed, and many more are flailing, while others will rise to the occasion and find new ways to thrive.
Here are the top three market expectations that we believe are targets for opportunity:
Prior to Covid, on-demand was driving the success of organizations worldwide, and has now been put into overdrive. Consumers and buyers alike require seamless access to the goods and services they want with less steps, travel, and concession. Covid has stressed their patience and pocket books. Our target here is frictionless delivery.
2. Direct Access
Unfortunately for brick-and-morter retail, Covid has upended how consumers shop and buy. Our health and safety are at risk, inventory is limited and unpredictable, and general inconveniences are top-of-mind. Consumers, in increasing numbers, are electing to go right to the source to get the things they want. Add to that a growing mistrust: in the supply chain that delivers toilet paper to the grocery store; in the authenticity of the products on Amazon; in the institutions that are supposed to keep our families safe. Cutting out the middle-person is a matter of mitigating risk as well as seeking efficiency.
For brands to win, they’ll need to deliver confidence as much as convenience. Although this is deeply unfortunate for retailers, the opportunity for brands is immense. This is a chance to own your full CX (customer experience) and enjoy greater margins, while your users can appreciate a more tailored experience with greater convenience. Our target here is ultimate CX.
3. Clear Benefit
It seems simple and ageless: Consumers and buyers have always required clear value. But it’s crucial to understand the weight that Covid has placed on the world. We are spending less time with people face-to-face, our routines have been upended, and our financial security has been held hostage. Meanwhile, Covid has forced a reckoning and a re-examining of our daily behaviors in order to hone in on what provides a benefit, and eliminate what doesn’t. This is true of personal life (nothing like getting back to basics to determine what is really important), and business, where seemingly everything–from office space to personnel–is suddenly at risk of landing on the chopping block.
A direct result of this emotionally turbulent stew is a lack of patience and grace. We want a clear benefit we can trust, and a clean experience we can count on. In a thriving economy, consumers and buyers may be more apt to trust, to experiment, to enter transactions with more optimistic imagination. However at a time like this, we are laser-focused on the bottom line. No frills. No fluff. We want our solution, whatever it is, and we want it now. And if that something isn’t delivering a direct value to our lives, it’s not going to make the cut. Our target here is direct and attributable benefits.
We are embracing new ways to live both individually and collectively. We are discovering new ways to be human in a post-pandemic society. And we are definitely, most definitely, entering The New Economy.
Godspeed to us all.