Our lives have been deeply influenced by Covid-19 since it showed up. Self-quarantine and shut downs affected us physically, emotionally, and economically. The expectation for a quick recovery has diminished after 2 months and the effects of Covid-19 are expected to outlast the majority of expectations. According to Twentify’s market research (1) conducted since March, the number of people expecting recovery until the end of June has decreased from 62% to 37% while the number of people expecting recovery in 2021 and beyond has more than doubled from 4% to 9%. These numbers are indicators that we will be rolling in to a new normal instead of recovering to the old.
Even though “The new normal” phrase is recently used to define the changes occurred due to the pandemic, it is also a scripting technique. Understanding it’s meaning in scripting and including it in our lives with that definition might be the key to get over the pandemic period with success for ourselves and our businesses.
A story script is generally constructed in 3 main sections. The first section is “The Normal”. In this section, the life of the character is explained. Harry Potter’s days in Dursey’s house is an example to this. Then comes “The Explosion”, where the order of life is disrupted and a major change is introduced. This is where Harry meets Hagrid and goes to Diagon Alley. Then the story flows into the third and final section “The New Normal” where the character has his ups and downs, earns success, and adapts to change. In interesting stories, this is the part where the character is evolved into a hero.
In this context, the new normal is not just defining the changing circumstances around us but also how we adapt to it and how we achieve success by changing ourselves. Therefore this period does not have to be a time where we wait for the World to get back to normal. It can also be a period where we adapt, take the leap, and lead the change.
So how do we locate the opportunities at a time where first world economies are barely surviving. We will use a 4 step model that will help us to examine the new normal and come up with white spaces waiting to be filled:
1. Observe the changes
The key part of the new normal’s definition is the changes that are introduced to our lives. We need to find these out. Working from home, remote education, cancellation of international flights, bottomed petroleum prices, shut down of retail sector and restaurants are some of the changes related to Covid-19. Each of these represents a change for the consumer and problematic areas for suppliers on the other end of the chain. Providing a solution or a thought on one of these areas may be your springboard to success.
2. Observe the things that don’t change
Coined by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, this mental practice focuses on the thing that doesn’t change based on outer circumstances. The human need for food and essential goods, education, and entertainment are areas that don’t change and possess new opportunities. Webinars, Instagram live streams, and mobile sports apps are good examples of responses to such opportunities.
3. Observe your competences
Competencies are the building blocks that we will build on to take advantage of the situation. Industrial companies using their R&D capabilities to develop ventilators, 3D printing companies printing shields, and masks are examples of using one’s competencies to shape the new normal.
4. Use Blue Ocean Tactics
Shifts in the market tend to create new areas where there is rather less competition. The markets where competition is not fierce and competitors don’t bleed each other (metaphorically) are called Blue Oceans. The formula to create Blue Oceans lies in repositioning in a certain direction. This model states the repositioning in 4 steps:
Eliminate, Reduce, Raise, Create
Applying these four actions to your current business model enables you to serve better by raising what continues to work, reducing or eliminating what’s not working and creating solutions to new needs that are not currently solved.
One of the best examples to this is repositioning of a Turkish company that provides online services on recruiting caretaker, cleaner, and tutor to B2B and B2C segments. EvdekiBakicim, realized early that Covid-19 would affect their core business, made agreements with disinfection companies to serve their disinfection services, optimized the service, and sold these services to their B2B portfolio on long term basis to create a new business line. So they created a new revenue stream by creating a disinfection service, raising communication to B2B client base while reducing the focus on their core service.
A wedding organizer that I support who serves to foreigners in Turkey planning a destination wedding, had to pause their services due to canceled international flights. Instead, they compile safety protocols for hotels to serve Covid-Free stay and organization services and promote these to their partner hotels. Then they plan to promote these wedding locations and organization capabilities to local couples who plan to marry in the coming months. This company eliminated reaching out to international customers, working to create solutions to their partners, and raise focus on local customers.
Turkish grocery delivery startup Getir also had a smart innovation to serve increasing demand due to Covid-19. They cooperated with underutilized taxi drivers and used them as couriers to temporarily increase their serving capacity. This way they quickly scaled their operation while providing a lifeline to taxi drivers.
It is uncertain what the new normal will bring but it is the only direction we can go. You can also use this four-step model to adapt to the new normal, take the leap and get out of this situation as a hero; sort of.
1. Twentify Report: https://www.twentify.com/hubfs/Turkish_Reports/Twentify_Korona_Gunlukleri_14052020_11.pdf