A guest post from Shawna Boyce, Executive Director, Accounts & Operations at Launch Marketing
As the song says, “the times they are a changing.” Adopting an agile mindset and flexibility in marketing initiatives to adapt to these changes amid the current crisis will be pivotal for companies to emerge in the strongest possible position. All too often though, an assumption is made that teams and their respective members can simply act faster or easily turn things in a wholly new direction to adapt and innovate. But as entrepreneur and engineer Ray Stata notes, innovation typically only happens if an organization is truly built around agility.
“I concluded long ago that limits to innovation have less to do with technology or creativity than organizational agility. Inspired individuals can only do so much.” – Ray Stata
To help streamline your organization’s path to greater marketing flexibility and adaptation, we’ve outlined three simple steps that can get your organization positioned for innovation and growth as people struggle to find a new normal.
The first step an organization should take to support flexible and agile approaches is to demonstrate organizational stability. This may seem like an aspirational and inexact concept, but it is an important one. To move fluidly and adapt to changing situations, team members need to work from a solid foundation that fosters security and confidence; an atmosphere and culture that promotes psychological safety. These are environments where team members can calmly and quickly respond to issues and opportunities with ease as they arise.
A strong sense of focus also supports this direction. While creativity is beneficial, alignment on the primary goals the team should collectively work towards remains critical. Having a shared direction and purpose as conditions rapidly change is necessary to mitigate distractions. Further, each individual should have clarity on their responsibilities and how they contribute to the whole. Regular check-ins to ensure this understanding and alignment will build stronger connections and buy-in.
Seeing these directives through promotes feelings of accomplishment and control in situations that otherwise feel dysfunctional and unpredictable.
While most plans allow room for small disruptions, none were formed with the current and unprecedented level of disruption in mind. As a result, virtually every business has had to enact swift and sudden changes. Naturally, levels of success have varied as some have replaced swift with hasty.
These are highly fluid times, and business plans and messaging must be monitored and modified as needed to meet them. Revisit company messaging and positioning in a deliberate manner and from multiple perspectives. Get ideas and inputs from team members and, where possible, from customer prospects and customers by exploring questions such as:
Again, it is imperative that leaders demonstrate flexibility and ask their team to do the same. Regularly reassess changes to market conditions and customer challenges and adjust messaging, offerings, and tactics accordingly. Formally dedicate time to this ongoing assessment and do not expect that it will simply happen organically.
The absence of in-person events and shifting availabilities make the ability to connect with audiences via digital channels more important now than ever. If you’ve not yet fully embraced digital engagement, now is the time.
As we’ve shared, most business and marketing strategies were not conceived with disruptors like the coronavirus even remotely in mind. But responding to the business challenges the pandemic has wrought is something that business leaders are well-suited to help address. A deliberate review and reassessment of your organization across these elements, within the context of this temporary new normal, is a helpful construct to ensure your business remains agile throughout this crisis and beyond.
Need more marketing support and resources? Visit the COVID-19 Marketing & Strategy Resources Center for up-to-date marketing blogs, toolkits and more.