COVID-19: The business of experience in times of uncertainty
June 28, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the structure of pretty much every experience: how and what we buy, how and where we work, how we interact with other people.
Uncertainty persists about what the world, our lives, and the economy will look like as lockdowns are lifted and we start to reopen. Businesses need to understand the possible scenarios that could emerge and the behaviors that will result.
In crisis, there is opportunity — now’s your chance to reinvent.
Five new Human Truths for Experiences
Understand the likely implications of COVID-19 on the human experience, then start to respond.
The uncertainty is not just economic: behavior change among the people you serve is immediate and apparent. The most obvious is perhaps the shift to digital – anything that can be done online, is, and often for the first time.
Less clear is how people’s behavior and underlying values will change for the long term. COVID-19 has changed the experience of being a customer, an employee and a citizen. People’s behavior was already shifting – it’s just happening faster now, and it may never fully go back.
People are turning to brands that provide security, and that they can trust in a time of uncertainty.
While some have gone online for the first time, others who typically favor digital have been forced to visit stores when delivery slots were scarce.
Alongside emphasis on hygiene and handwashing, people are seeking fitness classes online and returning to the weekly “big shop” for the first time in years.
People’s expectations of businesses and brands are rising — working out the implications will be critical to businesses’ survival.
Which way will people go?
We need to consider how to create experiences that can navigate tensions, including:
Will we be prone to self-gratification, or continue interacting with and caring for our local communities?
Will we continue supporting our local shops, or will we return to casually buying globally sourced products?
Where might we stand on an interventionist State that hands out benefits and monitors our health, versus market dynamics allowing rises in unemployment and bankruptcy?
Will we turn back to celebrities and influencers to learn how things stand, or continue looking to experts for advice?
How will we view brands and organizations that put ethics before profit?
The three lenses for creating good brand experiences in uncertain times
Almost overnight, COVID-19 has upended both the customer experiences we want to create and the ways in which we go about creating them. This radical change demands radical thinking, and a coherent plan to act on it.
It’s always been best practice to gain a deep understanding of customer needs to inform your strategy, but COVID-19 has made it a critical step. Businesses that listen, learn and evolve with empathy will emerge stronger.
Continually seek to understand and empathize with people, putting them at the heart of how you design – and constantly evolve – your experiences.
5 new human truths
The evolving truths around which organizations will need to design, communicate and build experiences.
Consumer behavior will permanently change
Consumers attitudes, behaviors and purchasing habits are changing—and many of these new ways will remain post-pandemic. Read more.
The acute acceleration of a ten-year digital trend means the only constant factor will be the need to continually change. We strongly recommend you fast-track transformation programs, which means bringing experiences and interactions online and rapidly creating new ways to reach your customers.
At the same time, you must face the reality that your existing planning cycles, teams and structures are not built for adaptability – or the scale of work they now face – and consider what changes you need to make.
Product and spatial design in a pandemic
Discover our six experience principles on how to design immediate and long-term solutions for people and businesses. Read more.
A consumer-first approach to media
It's time to focus on customers’ needs–not the bottom line. Find ways to adapt marketing and media plans to add more value and support. Read more.
Channel shift: Prioritizing digital commerce
How companies can reassure customers and employees, redesign products, services and markets, and build new partnerships and ecosystems. Read more.
Responsive customer service
Rapidly set-up an effective out-of-office customer service center, and enhance virtual agent capabilities to support customer requests. Read more.
Renew focus on the customer experience to shape the right, collaborative and agile organization model for the future. Use your purpose and customer understanding as a jumping-off point to innovate the new businesses and experiences that can outmaneuver uncertainty. Make sure your teams have the right skills and are working on the right initiatives for the “never normal”.
A brand. New. Purpose.
The new rules around brand, social impact and purpose. Taking the right actions now is the key task for every CEO. Read more.
Fjord Trends 2020 COVID-19 update
Ready, RESET, reinvent: the emerging trends in business, tech and design. Read more.