I find infrastructure planning related issues fascinating.  The complexity of it, and the requirement for long-term strategies to come up with solutions that not only solve today’s issues, but generational ones.  A local example would be road widening projects within your community or if a roundabout should replace a traffic light. 

An even bigger example is one I heard in the late 1990s about undeveloped countries and the issue of connecting villages.  Without phone access, people needed to travel to the next village and were often cutoff from the outside world. Not an easy task if vehicles are scarce.  Instead of building a physical telephone line infrastructure, the solution was to skip phone lines altogether and jump straight into a new technology using cell phones with towers replacing the need for telephone wires.

With thoughtful planning, solutions are available and achievable.  As 2020 thankfully comes to a close, I kind of feel like many businesses are staring at a similar opportunity as they look to the PC World. PC as in Post COVID. 

We’re finally seeing around the COVID corner. With the election in our rearview mirror and vaccine distribution starting, it’s easier than ever to see an ending of this unprecedented time.  Sure, we’re months away from people gathering together in mass, but the start of 2021 feels like the year when “the world re-opens.”  As we believe the finish line is in sight, it should also serve as a wake-up call to many businesses. They better start preparing for the PC world now or risk their business being too far behind their competitors to catch up.

We couldn’t predict COVID, which is why many businesses had trouble adjusting.  But knowing there’s the light at the end of the tunnel means we need to start thinking about new approaches now.  This need to plan mindset isn’t reserved solely for hibernating companies that purposely paused or struggled during the pandemic.  Companies that pivoted to existing COVID realities and found an opportunity to grow their business during this time, need to start preparing and positioning themselves for what’s next after the immediate fear of contracting COVID subsides.

COVID isn’t going away any time soon, even after vaccinations are commonplace.  Vaccines aren’t a cure. Caution and awareness of the importance or reducing risks will remain for years even as people will slowly start gathering in groups again and face-to-face interactions return.  We’re likely to see a mindset shift among the public beginning this Spring or summer. 

This provides an opportunity for companies who plan ahead for it.  Needs won’t change, but how we talk about them likely will.   We’re also likely to see businesses and institutions trying to return to their pre-COVID normal by fall.

Now is the time to plan, and to start establishing your company in the new marketplace. View Q1 and maybe part of Q2 as planning time and as an opportunity to reintroduce or reposition your company by utilizing a strong public relations strategy. Using this time to rebuild or grow your brand may prove vital because by  Q3 we’re going to start seeing some companies winning, and others falling too far behind to regain their previous market share.

Think about what is likely to occur once the vaccination levels reach 75% or herd immunity is established.  One simple example is that people will be anxious to explore and travel again, once confidence in public safety returns.  Travel destinations and attractions should be planning now how they plan to attract people. 

Companies also need to be wary and thoughtful of what’s going to happen next.  If asked what the first thing I’d want to do in a group post COVID would be, I’d say that I’m most excited to attend concerts again with thousands of other fans.  The challenge might not be getting me to go to a concert, but how many I’ll be willing to attend, financially.  I expect the 12-18 months after COVID there are going to be a glut of concerts worth attending as every band is anxious to get back on the road and generate revenue. The problem is that concert goers still have limited bank accounts, so fans are going to have to pick and choose, which is likely to result in a lot of lost ticket sales for bands who are used to sell-out crowds.

It’s going to be the same for businesses. Every competitor is going to be fighting for the same $100. It’s the businesses that have their strategy and plan in place that are most likely to win, while those starting to rebuild late find that all the key customers have already chosen their vendors, and that available cash has already been spent.

The lesson is that now’s the time for your company be planning for the Post COVID world.  Whether your company is just starting to rebuild after the stress of COVID, or your organization has thrived in this chaos, Q1 and Q2 are going to be pivotal in deciding which companies make it to 2022. 

Now’s the time to map out your destination and make sure your company is ready for arrival in the PC world.  

— written by Josh Weiss, President of 10 to 1 Public Relations

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