The Market is Returning—In Pieces
Early in June 2021, as it seemed that the Pandemic was starting to wind down in the UK and the USA, the Strategic Study Group launched a survey of market attitudes post Pandemic looking particularly at how businesses were expecting to position themselves going forward.
Many people responded to the invitation to complete the survey but only a very small number of people actually completed it. We engaged other strategic partners 1:1 in dialogues on survey questions, and found people skittish on issues related to whether the market would return to what it had been previously or would it be changed substantially and, if so, what the nature of the changes might be.
One of the particular areas of sensitivity pertained to retention and reclamation of “loyal” customers from 2019 prior to the lockout period of the Pandemic. Would these customers return to established buying patterns? We concluded that the market was opening up from the Pandemic at one level, but key elements of the market remained uncertain, unsettled and vague. The particular areas pertain to safe conduct in public spaces and travel where people meet closely, and specific requirements for safe conduct, this against a background of new and dangerous viral strains discussed in the press. The public and business owners both are unsure what is going to happen next:
Pandemic Impact Uncertainty
- Is there going to be a third wave and more lockdowns?
- Is the death rate going to climb again?
Uncertainty & Customer Impact
- People are emotionally traumatized by what has happened.
- The nearest comparison seems to be “London after the Blitz”.
- People are unsure what to do next, there is so much going on, so much noise, so much uncertainty.
Business Strategy & Actions
- How do we plan?
- Can we afford to invest?
- Should we be laying off more staff?
Even though the Government has said it is OK to go out people still have questions about the parameters and security that were often given short shrift like –
- If I go to a place what are the vaccination requirements?
- Do people have to be vaccinated?
- Is spacing required?
- New strains of the virus?
Period of Uncertainty
What happened with Covid was a massive shock to our political / social system, like a war or a holocaust, all these people being sent in to die helplessly – hard to encompass ethically seeing a loved one taken to hospital and die. Most brutal thing. Moral shock to the social fabric – like an earthquake on a countries social and ethical system. Everybody feels this huge shock, can’t just walk away when people you know have died. That death measure is there – my people could die of it.
Now the Government has opened the door there is still a safety consciousness post vaccination where people want to feel safe before they go out and start to lead normal lives again. It is a big determinant of a decision to do anything outside the door – from talking to other people upwards.
This Uncertainty is an inhibitor, even going to a restaurant.
The Road Forward
It is very hard – speaking to a large number of people – some are on top of this, others are making excuses about health, vaccine, etc.
People are really on the edge – our theory is that this measure of shock to the system must be paid off – it will measure out in a measure of social change in the ways we operate. The post-Pandemic is going to be a cultural impact –and facing the uncertainty day to day.
The Tier A group, did everything expected of them, followed all the rules, got vaccinated, wear masks, stayed sequestered in our homes, did not take outrageous risks. They have a lot at stake.
Tier B group, not vaccinated, do not live as safely, take risks, go out without masks – disregard the public safety issues – more likely to contract the virus. We have to assume that the Tier B are going to get the virus and create more of a social burden for healthcare.
Young people are less inclined to be concerned but the long Covid impacts affect them as well.
This is all going on – right now we are in this stew of uncertainty – to a large measure most of the Tier A people are behaving much of the same way as in the Pandemic, slowly putting a toe in the water, slowly doing more public things, slowly step by step engaging with the world as safely as they can. Every step they take is measured against the above health parameters. They have a huge stake in safety.
In the West the initial phase of the Covid crisis has been broken and the market is slowly evolving back towards a normal state and we have the resources, knowledge and capabilities to help businesses analyse their position in a shifting market and find a way to adapt to these heretofore unforeseen situations.
The Strategic Study Group collectively has considerable knowledge and experience to help clients cut through this uncertainty. Our Strategic Planning tools and methods are particularly well suited to analysing the present situation and crystalizing priorities so that people and organizations can move forward purposefully. Our Strategic SnapShot© process is particularly powerful in analysing any situation under consideration quickly, efficiently and affordably.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call to discuss how we can assist you.
Dr James Robertson, Michael Utvich and Paul Leigh
The Strategic Study Group