Building a new strategy or pivoting your business in these uncertain times presents a whole new set of challenges. I recently moderated a strategy panel hosted by Product Marketing World for its global summit. The panelists included Spotify's head of strategy and operations, Bobby Singh; IptiQ by Swiss Re's SVP, Pascal Marmier; Gilt co-founder Alexandra Wilkis Wilson; and Equinox's vice president of strategy, Jason Brenner.
What was most striking in our conversation were the questions these strategy leaders raised. In this Covid-19 pandemic environment, here are four questions you should be asking of yourself and your company.
1. How might we reimagine community?
Bobby Singh talked about Spotify's unique ways of connecting with its customers. Travis Scott hosted a 15-minute concert in collaboration with Fortnite; John Legend hosted a fundraising concert using the Wave musical platform.
But the opportunities for virtual community go far beyond entertainment. Think of the connections that could be forged in the health care, learning, and social justice sectors through a VR (virtual reality) medium. Integrating VR or other virtual and remote tools into your business model means a total shift away from push marketing to true push-pull and learning from consumers in their proactive interactions with your product or service.
2. How might we reimagine the employee experience?
Alexandra Wilkis Wilson emphasized that now is the time for companies to double down on their values. It's essential during this time of massive change to revisit and reexamine your company's purpose--and perhaps adjust to employees' and consumers' shifting needs. Not since an agricultural economy was the norm have companies seen the blurring of boundaries between work and home. Ask yourself how you can meet the new needs of your employees these days and act accordingly.
3. How might we reimagine form over function?
Singh pointed out that while people will still need to buy stuff, the form in which they do so may radically shift. For example, people will want to learn new concepts and eat food (the function); they may turn to remote learning or delivery apps. Start to question and reimagine the ways that you engage your customers.
4. How might we reimagine what really matters?
Because the gym industry has been so adversely affected by the pandemic, Brenner at Equinox knows firsthand about the necessity for reinvention. This speaks to the need to have an iterative approach to strategy. Brenner emphasized that strategy can no longer be static. Rather, it's a pivot moment for strategy teams in which they are really being embedded in cross-functional teams within the organization.
If you have a major pivot on your hands, get back to basics and ask yourself what your core values are and work from there. What truly matters at the end of the day?
Try on these four questions at your next team meeting and your pivot might make itself clearer faster. Because at the end of the day, the companies that will be future friendly are those that are super curious, allow for transparency, and adopt an iterative (versus a lockstep) approach to strategy.