All marketers and social innovators around the globe are all looking for trends they can ride to manage the post COVID economy. I’ve been sharing my foresight last few months in virtual keynotes, interviews in media and talk shows.
While the current world situation is disrupting our lives and businesses, and in many areas accelerating digital transformation, marketing and innovation are now more important than ever. Peter Drucker must think: “I’ve told you so many times before”.
It was about time to put my fans first and to share this summary with you guys. I have curated and mixed up interesting questions I’ve had to answer in audience Q&A’s after virtual summits.
I know that there are a billion people now, working remotely. That they have been isolated from their colleagues for several months now. That their hunger is great!
Brands and businesses are now aware that their employees need to be inspired, motivated, and educated. Often need to unlearn, and re-learn.
I will share the trends I see emerging, pivots I’ve seen marketers and social innovators making, and share other’s insights.
Brand Marketing In A Post-COVID Economy – We Are All Startups Again!
We are all in the same boat now. Most brands, businesses, cities, and countries are struggling during the Corona pandemic. We are all startups again.
Companies like Tesco, Netflix, and Amazon show us tremendous growth. Also, something that needs to be managed.
If you are an airline or a retailer, you have been looking for pivots, digital transformation, new or hybrid business models.
A country like Spain is opening up its borders again. They have to reverse-engineer a socio-economic catastrophe. The 84 million tourists in 2019, contributed €92 billion to the Spanish economy aka 12% of GDP.
The region could influence the trends you see. Local COVID rules and regulations for example. Of course, your industry will matter a lot.
My advice to marketers?
It’s okay. You should be selling to survive your business. And to keep your jobs. We understand. Go! Ask for forgiveness, not for permission. Also during COVID-19
To brand marketers and social innovators? Hollywood purpose bullshit marketing will be a deadly sin. COVID might be the great reset we all needed so badly for humanity and society.
If you are Nike, formerly notorious for taking a racial stand with Colin Kaepernick, Nike’s latest messaging around #BLM got firm feedback.
For example, from keynote speaker and social entrepreneur Cindy Gallop. We co-wrote the book FastForwardFiles with 6 other clever futurists. Cindy’s Twitter bio says it all.
She is a voice of reason in a tone of voice that I love. Bold. Authentic. To the point and carving out bullshit. On Nike she was spot on again:
Talking about the presence of blacks and colored people in corporations and claiming “DIVERSITY RAISES THE FUCKING BAR!!” anything that tries to say the opposite is just white bullshit
Expect more of that! Brands can no longer market purpose or True North. Or fake it. They have to live it. Walk the talk.
COVID might be THE GREAT RESET?
I’m not talking about social distancing. I see massive shifts beyond COVID. Great things can happen. Mother Earth has all sent us to our rooms. So we could think about how we fucked up mother nature.
And our oceans. And each other. With our ever-growing greed, and lust for money and power. Why the hell do we still need the Black Lives Matter movement?
It’s fucking 2020 people! We should be so ashamed of ourselves. We let it happen on our watch. We are the result of 4 billion years of evolution, about time we start acting like it.
And while we are at it, let’s use all exponential technologies under the hood of Industry4.0 to reverse-engineer climate change and our oceans at a high pace.
Why? Well, you watch the news and you are educated. Climate change and polluted oceans can’t be solved with another lockdown! We need to act!
While we are all hoping that the global economy will recover soon, here are a few things that might fuel your strategic long-term vision.
Maybe you want to take a look at Stakeholder Capitalism? A manifesto for a cohesive and sustainable world – powered by World Economic Forum.
Other post-COVID opinions I’ve heard that might influence your next informed decision-making?
1. The one that made me sick to my stomach but had a tremendous impact on me? If we keep destroying nature like we did pre-COVID19, Mother Earth will give us COVID20. A next level virus that will hit all of us. Young and old.
2. Each pandemic has a second wave. Hold your horses, this ain’t over yet and it will return this winter and might last 1-2 years and it will only be resolved by a vaccine.
3. We need to open up again. Like Spain. Otherwise, our entire economies will collapse. That’s not only about jobs, money, and tax income but about our entire social and healthcare systems.
4. COVID is overrated due to blind panic, the media, mass hysteria, and politicians who suck at interpreting predictive data. Our economy is the foundation for our social and healthcare systems, and if our economies collapse the disaster will be 10 times bigger than COVID.
What Can Live on Stage Professions (Performers, DJs, Artists, Speakers) Learn From COVID?
With a few fellow professional speakers, who were also suddenly unemployed due to COVID, we decided to create and launch a Web TV Talkshow called Live on Stage.
Every Monday, for 8 weeks, we aired a 30-minute talk show with special guests, celebrities and experts, to help the sports, media, entertainment industries with COVID pivot strategies and tips.
In our show, we also covered industries like music, festivals, business events, theater, museums, art, culture, and other live on stage professions. Some of the learnings from our show?
1. Fan relationships and ARPU are crucial. Whether you are Amazon, a DJ, or a public speaker. Watch out for fans on lease. Build and control your own fanbase and don’t only rely on social media. Facebook and other social networks will squeeze your organic reach as far as they want to. Create an opt-in database and be in control of your own fan relationship. You don’t want to beg Mark Zuckerberg: “Can I please talk to all my fans again?”
2. Digital transformation and hybrid business models. Establish a healthy balance in your revenue streams and business models. We all don’t know what the near future will bring, but we do know that virtual and digital business is here to stay. As a speaker, I did virtual talks, consultancy, and started selling online masterclasses. This mix should be at least 30-40% of my future business model.
3. Think Nike Running and Joe Rogan. Marketers need to think beyond campaigning. Nike Running was a long-term program, adding value to the lives of runners with a 365 days always-on platform. Joe Rogan didn’t stop his podcast show after a bunch of episodes. He kept building and growing his audience with the Joe Rogan Experience and recently signed a Spotify exclusive deal for US $100 million. Think long-term. Think long tail.
4. Content is still king. But in the digital world distribution is queen and metrics is the emperor. Should speakers discount their fees for virtual talks? Or is your message powerful enough and adding enough value to charge 100%? In Live on Stage, we’ve learned from our speaking guests that prepping virtual talks can be more time-consuming than performances on a podium. Virtual and digital means scale and connecting to a much wider audience. That has value!
5. Digital offers new engagement, growth, and scale. We have seen Google Arts & Culture grow. We have seen rapper Travis Scott reaching almost 30 million fans in Fortnite. Whoever expected that Fortnite could be a new music festival? A complete new virtual experience that would have never been possible offline.
6. Retail finally woke up. Digital is here to stay and digital means scale and growth. Retail was in denial and delusional for 2 decades, mostly blaming the Amazon-effect. Digital transformation got the boost it needed during COVID and many consumers might stick to future online shopping. Even the laggards might stay online shoppers.
7. Sports, media, and entertainment can learn a lot from gaming and esports. We have seen plenty of hybrid and virtual business models that offer scale and growth. In Formula One the Virtual GP suddenly got extra scale. The gaming industry is massive, so coin the trends!
8. Apply virtual technologies and trends. AR, VR, Mixed Reality, and even think about the use of holograms. Remember Tupac as a hologram during Coachella? That was 2012 people!
My COVID Pivot Conclusion
COVID has shaken up our lives and our businesses. I hope it was a great reset. One that will make us finally truly aware we need to change much faster than we all ever imagined.
If we imagine our own future, we can create it. Under the hood of Industry4.0, we have access to plenty of exponential technologies. With them, we can reverse engineer climate change, polluted oceans, and fake news.
This Davos Manifesto by World Economic Forum might b a good start to get what’s possible with Industry4.0.
Peter Drucker was right way before COVID: Business is about marketing and innovation. Marketers and social innovators should lead their businesses the way. Agile, focused, and more data-driven than ever before.
Artists and live on stage performers could re-imagine their own business models and load balance it much better. Fan relations are key, but be aware of FANS on LEASE.
I wish you courage and power in this bizarre period and remember: Go big, go niche, or go home.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this story, swipe it to your socials and peers.
My Fans FIRST zone is Math Man Magazine. A place where misfits can subscribe and unite!
About the Author
In the spotlights, Igor Beuker is a professional public speaker and futurist known for his foresight on trends and technologies that impact business, economy, and society. Behind the scenes, a social entrepreneur with 5 exits and angel investments in 24 social startups, an award-winning marketing strategist for brands like Amazon, L’Oréal, Nike and Unilever, and a new breed trendwatcher for Fortune 500s, WEF, and the EU.