Happy New “Fear” 2021 … ?
Or is it?
January 2020 people were beginning to take note of a virus coming out of the Wuhan Province in China, but very few understood just how massive an impact it was going to have globally. Three months later the world was in lockdown - the first of multiple lockdowns throughout the year. 2020 was truly a monumental year; forever to be remembered in the history books.
Towards the end of year a new hope was emerging as vaccines started to emerge only to be tempered by new infection rate spikes and strains. January 2021 was not the month the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic as many of us found ourselves back in strict lockdowns.
Over Christmas I saw some (profound) graffiti: Merry Crisis and Happy New Fear! Should we fear or embrace 2021? Will January 2021 be seen as the final push? What happens when the next virus strikes?
Like everything in life your perception is dictated by your perspective. To make life easier, let’s make some broad groups based on 2020:
Business that expected to do well and did so - like supermarkets, hygiene products, online stores and services
Businesses that did unexpectedly well - like real estate, home improvements
Businesses that expected to do well and underperformed - some online entertainment and services
Businesses that successfully pivoted - meaning they offered something new and different based on what they had (retail to online or sports to esports for example)
Businesses that no matter what struggled and either shrunk or disappeared - these are headline makers including retail, hospitality, entertainment, cosmetics (the list goes on)
As a Marketing and Marcom Agency, Expozive and a unique view on a wide scale, seeing the effects of Coronavirus across sectors and these groups.
From a Marketing and Marcom Agency perspective, they fell somewhere in between. At the beginning of the pandemic there was an initial surge of interest for online services. The problem was that the companies that did really well quickly started bringing outsourced services in-house, funded in part by their growth and demand. In many cases, the extreme increases in performance were due to the environment and require the same and sometimes a lot less efforts.
At the same time, many sectors detracted letting outsource services go first, rather than employees. Many other companies simply did not survive, further putting stress on the demand for agency services.
The key to survival for an agency was to pivot both in services and packages to meet new demands and sometimes create new demands. Any key factor was finding new clients in new and unfamiliar sectors. This meant both new acquisition methods and new practices to meet different needs.
It would be a very brave person to stand up and claim they know how 2021 will pan out, but we can make some educated guesses based on current information. Maybe I will revisit this article at the end of the year and see how right or wrong I was.
Let us begin the “fear”! The world has changed - we will never go back to pre-COVID-19 life. There will always be a fear of a return of the virus, or some new strain or some new virus. We have learned to lockdown and the likelihood is high that there will be future lockdowns. Also born out of the fear, our interactions will permanently change too. There will be a fear of tightly packed venues (malls, expos, vacation destinations, air travel). At best we will get back to nearly normal.
The consensus is that the threshold for vaccinations is 70%. Realistic projections would put this happening in a number of countries between March and June, but this could be delayed. Firstly, countries like Brazil have a shortage of syringes, while others are juggling the logistics between first and second doses with a rush on first doses and then a hold up when these people need to get their second shots, meaning less new people are vaccinated. June or July looks more realistic assuming no new strains.
We will also see a prevalence of “green passports” for people, places, places of work and even countries. With it comes the logistical co-operation of how these passports will be given and accepted on a global scale. If Brexit has taught us anything, global consensus is a tough ask.
Optimistically we are looking at the second half of 2021 before we really start seeing life to return to a nearly normal.
So what does this all mean?
Some of the boom business of lockdowns will see their market slow a little, but as habits have formed we have got used prices, the slow down will return them to a level higher than before the pandemic.
Anyone who pivoted successfully should look at adding these to the existing business when it returns. Use your pandemic success to supplement and grow your business while protecting it for the long term future for any other unforeseen crisis.
In the meantime, I personally wish you a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2021! If you want to chat about what you should be planning for 2021, just get in touch and I would be happy to talk.
Nicc Lewis, CEO Expozive Marketing & Marcom