Barry Urquhart

Come together. Right Now

Corporate cultures, group dynamics, ambiences, internal and external relationships and personal commitments have each been impacted, compromised, marginalised, stripped bare and exposed by the ravages of the COVID pandemic.

Momentum and critical mass have been lost, particularly in some key life-style, discretionary and economic-driving sectors.

A progressive drift to online operations has accelerated into a rush. So too has the introduction of new payment, and rapid home-deliveries systems.

Many processes have been trimmed, refined, sped up, with consequential increases of internal efficiencies.

Consistent with such focus, the number, frequency and size of group team-member, distribution network and client meetings, gatherings and celebratory events have been reduced.

The important aspects of fun and emotion are less conspicuous, influential and managed.  Where recognised, such are often rationalised and justified because of “the unprecedented times” of the coronavirus environment.

Enjoyment appears to have been largely replaced by enduring in the current reality.

Significant changes are also evident in communication strategies. Expenditure increases with online channels have overwhelmed contracting budgets for the traditional mass media of television, print, radio and out-of-home (outdoor).

Emphasis is given to single, often time-specific offers with the orientation to product, price, place and promotion. A striking return to the pre-1963 sales era.

Investments in brand-names, ongoing relationships and the life-time value of clients and customers are now secondary. Cash-flows and their immediacy rule.

Among the natural consequences are substantial decisions in customer loyalty, repeat business, recommendations, referrals and advocacy. The value of, and payments for the latter two have become more isolated, modest and questioned.

BIG WINNERS

The standout high performers in sales and profits during the 2020 calendar year were typically larger scale operations and networks.

Deep pockets and a willingness to invest on marketing, sales, promotions and multi-channel advertising, ensured a dominate, conspicuous presence and competitive advantageous profile.

“Share-of-mind” did, ultimately, equate to share-of-market.

Some marketing lores retained their currency, relevance and effectiveness. Consistency and continuity were virtues in a marketplace where consumers were attracted to brand names that were familiar and trusted. Such stood proud in a sea of turmoil.

DISCOMBOBULATED REALITY

Confused? You’re not alone.

At present, throughout commerce, standards, benchmarks and traditions are in play and very fluid.

Absolute measures are seemingly meaningless. Move over Albert Einstein. The theory of Relativity is being revisited, and re-applied.

In isolation, and with social distancing, everyone appears to be determining and working within their own reality. Unity, integration and cohesion are spoken about often. Implementing, maintaining and developing such is more complex and challenging.

A steady and steadying hand is reassuring. We all appear to have come the full circle. 360 degrees.

The time has arrived for recommitment to corporate cultures, group dynamics, ambiences and relationships.

Retreat to the nature of tribalism, founded on personal presence and interactions are evident.

Invitations and commissions to provide customised keynote presentations and facilitate high-energy, interactive workshops are important components for Marketing Focus.

The intent is not to rebuild, but rather to refine, refresh and individualise the “new”.

Interestingly, this includes sessions on critical visual merchandising, positive, personal customer service and integrative company cultures.

Above all, it is time to come together.

EXCEPTIONAL EVENTS

In the current period of “belt tightening” and financial rectitude it is not surprising that outlays and investments in the conduct of events for internal team-members, contributors to supply chains, franchises, members of marketing networks, clients, customers and associates at large are considered, and celebrated as being exceptional.

Exceptions to the rules and prevailing norms standout, are recognised, often appreciated, valued and are recalled for extended periods of time.

The reasons and rationale for the conduct of exceptional events are wide and varied.
Their resonance among invitees and participants are more pronounced than in the past, when such occasions were anything but exceptional.

Such initiatives project a sense of confidence, which can be, and often is, infectious. Cash-flows are adversely impacted in the short-term. However, sharing goals, ambitions and offers are usually warmly received.

Follow-up and follow-through practices maintain momentum and achieve critical mass.

Success, like winning in sporting pursuits, is not a part-time thing. It becomes a habit, an expectation and it sets minimal standards.

Australian long-distance running champion, Herb Elliott, is a fine example. He was never beaten in a mile-length event.  Or the metric 1500-metre adaption.

Herb maintained his winning style in commerce, with sports equipment, and on Boards of Directors – particularly in the mining sector.

Exceptional? Not really, just expected.

Like Herb, we all need to put in the hard yards.

THE AUTHOR:
Barry Urquhart
Marketing Strategist
Marketing Focus
M:        041 983 5555
E:        Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W:       www.marketingfocus.net.au