Crisis & Consumer-Driven Innovation

Updated: Sep 1

Welcome to #3 in the branding series, "It's time to take stock and rethink your brand."

What Will You Do To Survive and Prosper During The Covid-19 and Beyond?

Regardless of this present crisis, we must take an innovative stance and embrace change--- because just like Sam Cook says in "A Change Is Gonna Come."

As we cope with these disruptive hard times, it helps to focus on the silver lining and how innovation for brands and businesses can benefit on many levels, not just the bottom line.

We all need to take a step back and see how we can have a greater impact on the people we touch, communities, and the world around us, now and the future.

This article provides examples of the different strategies and actions people have taken to better serve their customers, their employees, and revenue sustainability.

Note: This is not your typical blog; it's more of a mini-book, and a resource and a collection of ideas on how to innovate and pivot during times of crisis and forced change.

This article offers over 100 examples of how companies have innovated, adapted, survived, and thrived. This spans ideas on innovation and resilience in leadership, branding, marketing, product and services, technology, and the impact on employees. This is not a comprehensive overview of innovation in all disciplines but rather a snapshot around the disciplines related to marketing and branding.

The Silver Lining of Crisis

During a crisis, there are several forces that naturally create an atmosphere of innovation and change. Larry Clark of Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning says there are four key shifts:

  1. "There can be a unifying energy present in the workforce. As an example, the Apollo 13 mission to the moon that was upended by an explosion on board forced NASA engineers to improvise to save the crew."

  2. "We are forced to see things differently" by putting a spotlight on vulnerabilities that were earlier hidden or just ignored. A client shared if it weren't for COVID, he would not have let an employee go. He said that teamwork and comradery were just too important now, and the employee did not care to work collaboratively with the team.

  3. Organizational structures come under the spotlight. "For example, the COVID-19 crisis has upended the way that grocery chains manage inventory, a process that has been refined over many years to maximize profitability..."

  4. A crisis forces a "bias of action." We must do something to survive attitude.

Maximizing these shifts can make the difference between failure and success.

Many executives agree that changes brought about by crisis can be an opportunity for growth.

The McKinsey" Innovation Through Crisis Survey" of April 2020 (below) reveals that nearly three out of four executives agree that changes brought about by COVID 19 will be a big opportunity for growth, with variation across industries.

History suggests that investing in innovation during a crisis pays off

A Fast Company's "World's 50 Most Innovative Companies" study (below) shows that since 2007companies that invested in innovation through the crisis outperformed their peers during the recovery.