New Normal? Next Normal? What Does the Future Hold?
In uncertain times, one of the most common questions is “when will things go back to normal?” After many hurricane seasons in South Florida, we’ve gotten used to temporary interruptions in the way life and business works. This time around is different. We have power and air conditioning [thank heavens], but it’s the whole entire country that’s “hunkering.” The one certainty is that this crisis won’t last forever. What’s interesting is how things may look on the other side. As creatives, we’re hardwired to think about what’s possible more than simply what’s normal. And while these times have been [and continue to be] challenging, there are a lot of positive outcomes that could be possible on the horizon.
One of the most exciting is that businesses and brands may use this time off to reinvent themselves or refocus their marketing efforts in a new direction. It’s a really great moment to be working on a new website, for instance, as internal collaborators can access everything they need to remotely. And, because it’s a digital format, there are no delays associated with printing, delivery, mailing, or storage. When restrictions begin lifting, the curtain rises on a whole new online presence for your brand. It feels like a fresh start for everyone – and can be ideal for launching new products or services, or simply changing the attitude and stature of your brand.
Another view of the future may see a giant leap forward in digital engagement. Likes and follows may not matter as much as digital attendance for an online event. Along those lines, event marketing may take a dramatic shift to incorporate remote interactions into the overall experience. Overnight, we might see everyone become a bit more of an influencer because the lines between online and IRL will blur, or in some cases, completely vanish.
Despite the drawbacks and challenges right now, many people are taking time to reconnect with the positive aspects of life – being with family, spending time outdoors, cooking, being creative, meditating, reading. It may just be that the next version of normal involves a priority shift for many people, which means brands will need to shift too. The cache of name-brand recognition may be based less on price and more on authenticity, safety, or relatability. People will be looking for new ways to travel in which space isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. What used to be extra conveniences like curbside pick up and delivery won’t simply vanish as restrictions lift; they will likely become substantial portions of businesses consumers expect across all retail industries.
Simply going “back to the way things were” is just one possibility. What if we could “go forward to something better?”