Adapting and thriving in an uncertain business climate: 3 important lessons
According to M-W dictionary, a crisis is “a time when a difficult or important decision needs to be made.” The COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted virtually every business in some way, clearly fits this definition.
According to the Sinclair public relations agency, “The unprecedented crisis that we are currently experiencing is forcing businesses to adapt to a new reality.” The decisions that you make know will have lasting consequences for your organization. What is the best way to adapt to a new reality while the crisis is still unfolding? During the coronavirus pandemic, we at MDG Advertising have been actively working with our clients to reshape their brand messaging and business models to reflect the changing needs of their clients and society. We believe that this experience provides key lessons for any type of business.
Lesson 1: Adapting Requires Strategic Planning and Precise Execution
During the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to shut their doors completely or drastically curtail services to comply with public health initiatives. Obviously, this is devastating for businesses that primarily rely on foot traffic or that provide services that can only be provided in person. As the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified, many of our healthcare clients have had to find ways to provide the vital healthcare that patients need, in as safe a way as possible. In many cases, this has involved shifting business models from in-person appointments to telemedicine. Even in 2020, telemedicine is still a relatively novel concept. Prior to the pandemic, data cited by eMarketer found that only 28% of healthcare providers offered telemedicine, and only 14% of consumers were familiar with it.
Of course, the transition was not without its challenges. First of all, our healthcare clients had to add functionality to their websites to accommodate online office visits. We also had to work with clients to shift brand messaging from promotional to educational so that patients would have accurate information regarding changes in office hours and service offerings.
Making the transition as seamless and possible for our clients and their patients required strategic planning as well as precise execution. For example, we helped two of our clients develop control panels that would allow them to quickly and easily update, manage, and assign site-specific messaging. This allowed the clients to scale up their new model quickly and effectively across hundreds of locations.
Lesson 2: Connect with Your Audience in New Ways
Adapting your business model is for naught if your audience does not know about your changes and how these changes benefit them. It is essential to get your message out in compelling ways across as many channels as possible. We launched a multi-channel social media campaign for one of our urgent care clients to inform patients about a shift to telemedicine, the launch of a new service line, and how to seek medical care during the pandemic. We helped another client add a triage chatbot to their website that helps patients determine if they have symptoms of COVID-19. This has allowed the client to connect with their patients in a way that’s relevant and meaningful in this moment.
Lesson 3: Commit to Serving the Greater Good
Of course, adapting to the new normal is important for the survival of your business. It’s also important for society as a whole. For example, one of our dental clients adopted teledentistry as part of their response to the pandemic. In just three short weeks, they were able to provide care to more than 1,400 patients with emergency dental issues. This served the client’s business needs, patients, and the greater good in several ways:
- The client was able to continue operations during a time when patients were unable or too afraid to leave home.
- The client ensured the effectiveness of public health measures by not having patients wait in crowded waiting rooms.
- Their work eased the pressure on local emergency rooms that were already overcrowded.
According to eMarketer, approximately half of all healthcare services may be delivered virtually by 2030. This means that the work our healthcare clients have done to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic will likely have a positive impact for years to come.
By focusing on adapting your services, finding new ways to connect with your audience, and considering your business needs as well as the greater good of your community, it’s possible to thrive in our new normal.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a branding/traditional ad agency made digital, with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.