2021 megatrends: resilience

One key attribute that emerged from the 2020 pandemic was resilience. Across the world, workers suddenly had to work remotely, parents had to home-school, healthcare workers were isolated from their families, and everyone lived with a looming fear of infection. This, ultimately, made us stronger – and businesses were no exception. Faced with unprecedented change and uncertainty, resilience became a feature that every business leader aimed to cultivate in their organisation.

The shift to ‘just in case’

In response to uncertain and (to an extent) uncontrollable ‘externalities’ businesses began to consider ‘just in case’ as part of their long-term strategies. Whereas ‘just in time’ supply chains proved popular over the past 30 years, the disruption caused by Covid-19 has resulted in widespread changes to logistics, supply chains and operations.

Many firms are bringing previously off-shored manufacturing operations closer to home. Materials are being sourced closer to use or stocked in greater numbers to provide a buffer against supply interruptions in marked difference to the ‘as needed’ approach of the past. And while this involves additional investment at a time when cash is king, many firms see these measures as essential to meet customer needs.

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Attention on resilience

Resilience is being baked into firms through a new and perhaps overdue assessment of risk, whether it relates to the supply of goods, the robustness of cybersecurity, or the protection afforded to people, processes and intellectual capital.

Many firms are building at scale and at speed to reflect a pivoting of business focus, and are investing in technology that makes this possible – but with new-found attention paid to the robustness of these systems.

Likewise, due to ongoing job insecurity and furloughing, resilience and strength are also needed in the people that organisations rely on, many of whom are now working from home. Some organisations, such as Google, are providing dedicated resilience and mental health training as a result.

Resilience in marketing

Marketing and sales processes have not been immune to the many changes of 2020 and building resilience has had to feature heavily as teams pivoted to new services and needs. Salespeople, for example, have been unable to conduct face-to-face meetings during lockdown – and traditional sales approaches have been overhauled due to this. Marketers have had to work in close alignment with sales to ensure that sales teams have the tools, skills and content they need for this new world.

Re-mapping required

Given the many transformations that have occurred due to Covid-19, marketers would do well to re-map the customer journey, understand what has changed, and adapt their strategy accordingly. Now is the time to revisit corporate messaging, reinvigorate thought leadership activity and reassess crisis communications plans in light of a year that brought a crisis like no other.

More like this: 2021 Megatrends – Digitisation

If your marketing and communication programme is facing a 2021 overhaul, please get in touch with Henley Group to find out how we can support your goals: hello@henley.co.uk

The Henley Group is a B2B integrated communications agency, based in Henley-on-Thames, UK. We specialise in public relations, content marketing, corporate communications and strategic consulting for clients in the UK and overseas. We advise, plan, produce and deliver engaging communication programmes for clients across a range of B2B sectors.