It was only a few weeks ago that I couldn’t imagine anything hotter than the wildfires of Australia! Now, you can’t look at your phone without Coronavirus news covering the entire screen. Breaking news is breaking each other and if there is one lesson to learn, it is to be certain of the uncertainty.
Before getting into the heartless nature of this market research, I need to acknowledge, writing in isolation at the comfort of home is only made possible due to the sacrifice of many who could not stay at home, many who risk their own lives and their families’. The water is still flowing, the fridge is full, and the TV is on. Sadly, it’s not a heroic choice for all, but a necessity of survival.
The attempt of this research is not to predict the market in the coming months, but merely a set of premises to help answer a few basic, yet fundamental questions about the post-crisis era we are expecting to face, through collecting past and present data from reliable sources all in one place to look for a potential pattern.
We will explore the following questions, free from emotional delusions or personal assumptions:
There is no doubt, almost all businesses have been impacted by this global pandemic, yet we only include the major segments and corporations which are most impacted in either extremely positive and negative ways, and in terms of market demands:
Businesses that are affected positively
- Teleconference companies
- Cleaning product manufacturers
- Delivery services
- Food and pet suppliers
- Healthcare providers
- TV and Entertainment
Businesses that are affected negatively
- Travel and tourism industry
- Hotels and hospitality
- Event management and planning
- Co-working space companies
- Restaurant industry
- Retails and department stores
Regardless of the direction of the impact, companies from both sides have taken immediate actions in response to the crisis. The rise and diminish in demands lead to mass hiring by companies like Kroger, Amazon, Instacart, and inevitable major shutdowns and layoffs by others like IHG, YUM, Macy’s.
According to Oxford Economics analysis, The Economic Impact of the Coronavirus Due to Travel Losses, published on March 24, A decline of 34% for the entire year is expected. This includes a 78% drop in revenue over the next two months and continued losses over the rest of the year reaching $400 billion. The US economy is projected to lose 5.9 million jobs by the end of April. The unemployment rate of 3.5% in February will rise substantially in the coming months. furthermore, travel-related employment losses alone will push the unemployment rate up to 7.1% by the end of April.
"This is 7 times the impact of 9/11."
Rebecca Rainey in an article, Coronavirus layoffs surge across America, published by Politico on March 17 reports; employers are slashing jobs at a furious pace across the nation due to mass shutdowns over the Coronavirus. In New Jersey, 15,000 people applied for unemployment benefits on Monday, a twelve-fold increase over normal levels. According to an NPR/Marist poll conducted Thursday and Friday, 18 percent of households already reported someone being laid off or having hours reduced because of the Coronavirus outbreak, with women hit harder (21 percent) than men (16 percent).
On March 11, The Washington Post reported, Job losses have begun in ports, bakeries and travel agencies. Economists worry more layoffs are coming as businesses see plummeting sales.’ followed by an article by The Wall Street Journal, Marriott Begins Furloughing Tens of Thousands of Employees.
On the other hand, companies facing higher demands like Amazon and Instacart have faced entirely different issues like low supplies of essential products such as cleaning supplies, too many nonessential orders, absent managers and unsafe work environment due to new imposed standard by COVID-19 safety measures which led to labor strikes at various locations.
Workers who simply stopped showing up to work, proved their immense power over the function of giant corporates beyond the rising market demand or the amount of wealth of the companies. According to The New York Times and Slate, these unified actions resulted to immediate attention and action by the decision makers; “We have taken extreme measures to keep people safe, tripling down on deep cleaning, procuring safety supplies that are available, and changing processes to ensure those in our buildings are keeping safe distances.” Responded Timothy Carter, an Amazon spokesman.
Within disruption lies order, and after every social crisis or recession there will be a recovery. According to the Oxford Economics analysis projection, the recovery for this scenario is estimated to begin in June, bringing back $9.5 to $19 billion in taxes and restoring 910,000 to 1.9 million jobs.
The affected companies with the help of marketing analysis through their internal departments and outside agencies will take steps towards post-crisis normality. However, it is essential to make sure the marketing solutions are in response to a well identified problem. Unfortunately, the more we dig into the current immediate strategies adopted by many agencies, the less we see a proper recognition of the problem. There is a vast number of agencies and independent experts who quickly switched to virtual market with immense focus on ability to work remotely. It can be interpreted as a positive step toward a powerful media strategy, but in most cases lacks strong fundamentals of recognizing the need it tries to answer. I see numerous digital and virtual solutions to a vague, unrecognized problem as if the experts are relying on their clients and business owners, to identify it for them after the fact.
Hopefully, this criticism of the approach, will not be taken as inertia towards change or unwillingness in embracing a new medium. According to a well-researched article by Sam Johnson, Cheryl Grise, and Patrick Dawson at EY, “only 22% of leaders feel prepared to operate in a highly digital environment.” And yet, whether a corporation falls under the 22% or the other 78%, the main problem remains unanswered.
Digital, virtual, films or AI are only media or
means to answer but not the answer.
However, thanks to all this extremely valuable data and these experts, we can see a pattern unfolding right before our eyes. Whether a corporation has been affected positively or negatively by COVID-19, there is a single factor that remains unchanged. It shows that survival of a business is deeply rooted in the labor. The Coronavirus will pass, yet no plane will fly, no package will be delivered, and no room will get serviced without workers. It is crucial to unite the owners with their workers. And due to current circumstances, which led to hard decisions and a great loss of labor, there is uncertainty among people and to state it in a brutally honest manner, there is lack of trust among workers toward owners. Hence, it is critical for all owners to reconnect with their people, and to communicate their deep care for them, using any media necessary.
Hopefully, we will all be around to see the end of this crisis and help by bringing these two interdependent communities, the leaders and the workers in all businesses, together, united stronger than ever.
ORDER Productions, LLC.
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