If it isn’t already, evolution should become the most important word in your vocabulary as a leader, as forward-thinking brands will continue to rise to prominence amidst every consumer-focused company emerging from this first fight with COVID. I saw this quote recently:
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward”
Nothing could be more valid for businesses in the current environment. Naturally, this leads me to ask a question you’ve asked yourself many times over by now—how is your company doing during the biggest stress test we have ever experienced?
The stress associated with these rapid changing, seemingly daily events across the country only emphasize the need for better, open-minded leaders and having the right people in place to think strategically and act tactically. This crisis has only affirmed the value of digital capabilities in every function no matter how large or small your business is. Artificial intelligence and the importance of data will supersede old management behaviors as most executives have relied on their experience and instincts. The analysis and evaluation of your organization’s stress test to operate remotely will present an opportunity for improvements in systems, supply chains, marketing/communications, and operations. But undoubtedly, the biggest factor above all will be leader performance. Do you have the right people in place who have risen to the challenge or did you experience limitations and lack of performance?
From the consumer perspective, the analysis from the past two months has become clear. Companies with diversified merchandise categories that appeal to a wider customer audience have fared better than others. Grocery, drug, and hardline companies have taken center stage while the apparel and fashion businesses have become unessential and not important. Nearly every retailer has experienced new norms for commerce: longer fulfillment times, drive-through shopping, reduced hours and massive store closures. Omni-channel players have seen an uptick in their e-commerce sales, but not nearly enough to compensate for the loss of sales in the stores. Pure-play retailers have seen their financial valuations skyrocket. The epidemic that has changed everything for the past two months has widened the gap in retailing between the frontrunners and everyone else.
The time is now—as discussions are happening on how retailers and consumer companies will reopen, assess your leadership and ask if the perfect trailblazer is in place as your business begins to recover. E.A. Hughes can be an impactful resource for you to access the best leaders in the market—many of which have transformed brands long before the pandemic. We would love to see how you are faring and how we can assist in bringing best in class talent to your teams, all while sharing our knowledge of the marketplace as the industry continues along its own, never-ending evolution.