We are at the end of 2020 and there have most likely been some big learnings, challenges and shifts in our personal and professional lives. In the process we have witnessed the advantages of technology in times like this yet also the limitations.  Platforms like Zoom, and Microsoft Teams have seen us through on a professional front, and personally we’ve seen the emergence of apps like House Party, whilst YouTube with it’s independent reporting on what’s happening globally, podcasts and cooking + fitness content seeing a massive explosive growth, INFLUENCER: Global Influencer Marketing Solution, Cameo – Personalized videos feat. your favorite stars that have gained immense popularity during this radical shift of working from home. Some online shopping platforms like Etsy saw their sales doubled to 10 billion $ this year. Deliveroo CEO Will Shu has mentioned that the pandemic has actually accelerated the adoption of online food delivery ahead of its time. Brands that jumped into early adoption of tech like Ebay, Etsy, Netflix, Facebook have now become the every day chant for most people who have the facility to stay connected to the world online from their homes. Amazon, Microsoft, Google – the three major platforms – have now become the unstoppable Digital Juggernauts. At the same time, ride hailing companies like Uber & Lyft along with property rental giant Airbnb have seen their customers vanish. Most high-street retail brands including the iconic John Lewis have now changed their strategy with a promise to its customers of being digital-first. 

This unprecedented shift had never happened in any of our life times. For some this has been a major advantage where people have been able to ‘stop’, ‘reset’ and ‘reshift’ their life patterns and take a magnified look at what it truly means to not just live on auto pilot but actually live; for most people on the planet though this has been a time of chaos, a time of fear and insecurity, a time of distress and a time of going further into the unknown. More people have struggled to cope during this time, and survive than at any other in modern history and for those in Europe this actually brought back the same fear that people had during World War 2. This has been further propagated by the machinery of global media, owned news channels, politics and the rabid outplay of owning the mainstream narrative of control. The subtle programming of fear into the minds of people. 

The way we work is a key factor in the way we live our lives and although some industries have been more resilient than others just as some people are to this wave of digital transformation, what we have seen this year is that businesses which have typically been slow in technological adoption have had no choice but to start to catch up with the times and bring their A-game thanks to digital adoption. 

Those who Innovate, lead!

But in all this, there has been and is an ongoing huge opportunity to step it up, in one’s own life re the direction it needs to take and then going with the flow: also known as ‘surrendered action’ with no attachment to the outcome and being adaptive to constant change. There is scope for increased collaboration and communication globally, rather than separation and this is imperative at these times. The access for everyone is instantaneous, thanks to technology, and this by itself can be maximised by launching digital initiatives quickly. The global consumer’s changing habits is now the same as the brand owner’s. Which means brand leaders/digital marketers who are clued into this will actually be able to radically shift and move into transforming the experiences their products and services offer. With ‘business as usual’ not being the norm anymore it has now become even more crucial to focus on what the customer wants, what their true needs are, what supports them to better live their lives in such challenging times, and what evolves societies and communities to come together in a far more sustainable and unified way. 

Those who have the ability to see this, to innovate accordingly, to unlock the value of their existing resources will enable them to move with agility and a connection to the pulse of what is needed. Either one leads by innovation and catalyses the world to come together and thus grows in that, or one remains in the throes of pure greed and further embeds the corrupted concepts of business growth by solely a revenue driven mindset. We need to think laterally and holistically more than ever before.

Going beyond the pandemic

Whilst the main priority for most businesses and individuals has been how to be safe and secure, using technology to facilitate communication and information sharing and ensure the flow of smooth business without needing to be face-to-face; it is now important to understand that the old ways of working can easily be slipped into. Yes these old ways may have had more face to face aspects – one of the key elements of human connection, but what about transparency?  Trust?  And accountability? Was there an understanding of how resources could be sustained and not wasted with lofty ideas and glamorized projections of how brands and companies are perceived in the eyes of their consumers? So now is the time to actually capitalise on these realizations and ensure that businesses build a legacy of trust and go beyond hoodwinking the consumers as that is just not possible anymore.  Now more than ever we need to be more human, more real and more accessible. 

There has been an ongoing awakening; a stripping back, and people now know exactly what is important for them, more than ever before. This means any digital-first brand that is addressing the individual whether he/she is a creative artist, a freelance worker, a teacher, a business/brand owner, a lawyer, an office manager etc, will have to also understand what their lifestyle needs are and then provide digital solutions accordingly enabling them to not just connect with each other and work productively, but also support them in the holistic aspects of their journeys. 

Becoming accessible, creating content that builds on authority and understanding, strategizing one’s strengths, establishing an omni-channel marketing strategy that makes it simpler for your customers to stay connected with you and your product offerings, make digital a seamless experience, maintaining the consistency of what your digital offering is all about, are some of the key drivers here in the challenges facing digital transformation marketers in 2021. 

A lot of what has been happening has opened our eyes to what is exactly going on and also how resilient we can be when the going gets tough and find ways to stay connected.

‘Stepping it up’ is not just a move that is based on what the present circumstances are but is actually a futuristic driven mindset that can change the game, not just for yourself but for everyone around us. Digital transformation need not be mundane, boring, tedious or challenging it can bring vibrancy to any brand if done for the right reasons, it is about bringing deeper aspects of true creative flow into how that digital experience unfolds on the outside and having fun along the way…

In the next blog we shall cover what practical digital transformaton steps look like, so stay tuned

Our brand founder and author of this blog Chetan Jha is leading not just change but also innovation across the board through best practises that echo compassion understanding and reflection. To know more, email us: [email protected] 

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