2020 has been a moment of multidimensional crises, a lull but also a massive upheaval begging the question of just how long we will continue to be in this crisis. Upheavals of this magnitude, though uncertain, provide us with the opportunity to reshift and reimagine. From retail businesses, tech startups, to restaurants, this pandemic has caused almost every industry to shuffle their cards to determine their best play for riding out the crisis. Even more, it revealed those who were never dealt any cards to begin with. Suddenly, it became a shift in priorities - eyes were no longer solely on growth and profitability, but on being a thriver amidst throngs of businesses looking to simply survive. The desire to thrive has also unleashed unprecedented levels of experimentation, collaboration, but most importantly - empathy. Many questions remain at the forefront for businesses: how can we remain relevant during and post pandemic? Moreover, what do we do now so we are ahead of the curve later?
Many have realized that collaboration is key, and unique partnerships have been the winning play for many companies looking to remain relevant. For Nova Scotian manufacturing company Stanfield, known for their heavy-duty underwear and clothing, that included collaboration with the Nova Scotian government and Health Authority to produce 2.6 million medical gowns on a $4.32 million contract that lead to 200 employees being hired. On a more global level, the CURA initiative was an innovative healthcare solution conceived by Italian architect Carlo Ratti with partnership from Schneider Electric that repurposed shipping containers into easy-to-assemble mobile ICUs for COVID-19 patients. These partnerships underscore a need surpassing the simple ‘thrive’ mentality; instead, the underlying theme becomes more focused on the ability to contribute and give back sustainably. By working together, it redefines the status quo for how businesses can build back better as cross-collaboration now enables a different approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR). It no longer is just about how to give back when you can. Rather, CSR undertakes a completely new role at the forefront of an organization's reputation strategy on the importance of doing better for all stakeholders.
Other organizations are beginning to realize that they need to be better prepared the next time a crisis comes around. The volatile nature of our economies and climate only serve to remind us of the inevitability of change. Instead of returning to what was, it’s an opportunity to question what we thought was impossible, reimagine new ways of working with others, and spark conversations around new and different ways of making the impossible a reality.
As part of our pandemic journey, we know we have a greater voice to amplify - we know that navigating to where you want to go truly starts from knowing who you are and where you stand.
Deliberately aligning your culture to what you want to be known for is critical to building the reputation you want. As a reputation agency, we can do better at bringing together our own community to share our view on how to build a more inclusive, interconnected and resilient economy. More than that, it’s imperative that we begin to think about how we’d like to come out of this pandemic once it passes. Being innovative and having the ability to achieve social change is not exclusive to any single industry. Especially as we determine the best next step to keep our communities and employees engaged through this interwoven digital network, our new reality requires adjusting to this new way of working. Ultimately, the question remains: are you ready and able to support your employees and customers in this new reality? Post-pandemic, what do you want to be known for and what is the imprint you’d like to leave on people’s minds? And lastly, how can we be a partner in helping you elevate and redefine your story?