Tips on How to Be Among the Last Brands Standing When the Virus is Vanquished...
...or at least in reasonable shape!
By Laurence Bernstein Managing Partner, Protean Strategies | July 12, 2020
In our collective trauma resulting from the physical and economic shock of the Corona Virus Pandemic, some of the basic truths about the course of the disease and the probable response, may have been overlooked. There are three realities which need to be understood in order to be in reasonable shape, from a brand point of view, when the virus is conquered and the world resumes life. Not necessarily life as we know it, but life as we will come to know it.
The COVID-19 Pandemic Changes Everything. Except Human Nature. Which Means, in Effect, it Changes Nothing
This is unfortunate and fortunate. But probably mostly unfortunate, because it portends an end game of no-change, of going back to where the world was. But for once it's not apathy interfering with progress, it's the opposite: emotional enthusiasm.
There has been a generalized acceptance of the idea that nothing will ever be the same, that the lessons we learn from this pandemic are so salient, and the visceral changes to our understanding of our own lives and world are so xxx, that we will adjust to a completely new reality. We wont travel as much (the Zoom-effect), we wont even go to the office (more Zoom-effect, coupled with "the cloud"), we'll be more cautious as a society and as individuals, intelligently planning for unseen yet predictable emergencies. And so on. We'll have a healthier, compelling sense of health-safety that restricts our movements and makes us, if not scared at least reticent, to travel or go out to a restaurant. And so on.
Of course, none of this is true. We know this because we know that as human beings our very nature insists we will not settle for utility over emotional fulfilment. In its simplest terms, in the battle between rational and emotional, emotional always wins in the end.
How do we know this for sure, and more specifically, how do we know this will be true for this epidemic? History has made it clear – we made the same prediction of absolute change, new normal, life-will-never-be-the-same-again in (just within recent memory) in 1992, 2001, 2008. And yet…there are more hotels, more restaurants, more airlines, more resorts, more business lounges, more…the list goes on. In every case, whether by creep or decree, the new-normal ended up looking a lot like the old-normal on steroids.