Finding a “New Normal” in an Age of Disruption

The strategies used to adapt to the current crisis could be the key to long-term market disruption
By Sydney Morrison

The coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the global economy leading to an unprecedented time of disruption. From new ways of working and communicating to entire business model pivots, COVID-19 has significantly impacted communities around the world. The business landscape as we know it will inevitably be shaped by the effects of the current crisis for years to come. So, in this time of ultimate and indiscriminate disruption, what can incumbent brands do to not just survive, but thrive for years to come?

In our latest insight report, The Disruptor Playbook, we share five disruptor strategies that brands can leverage to keep up with customers’ changing expectations. Below we dive into a few business trends we are seeing during this unprecedented time, and what companies can do to pivot, make an impact and ultimately succeed in offering real value to their customers.

With social distancing in effect, customers are looking for more ways to connect socially through video and interactive platforms

When Microsoft Teams released a new feature that allowed users to switch to virtual backgrounds, we frogs were ecstatic to say the least. But why does this customer experience play have such a powerful impact on brand perception and loyalty? Customers find value in features they can control. With the video communication market densely populated and remote education and work becoming essential to flatten the pandemic curve, the competition for video communication tools is getting fierce.

As a major player in the space, Zoom has created a strategic selling model that offers free 40 minute video calls, screenshare, and recording for up to 100 people. But Zoom also doesn’t require an account or a subscription to use the platform. By lowering the point of entry, they’ve unbundled the customer journey and increased chances that users will sign up for paid subscriptions, which offer additional features like unlimited meeting duration, cloud storage, and even reporting. But while Zoom has been the platform of choice for many, competitors are starting to catch up amid news of security concerns around video software. With privacy and security concerns on the rise, users may begin to prioritize services that offer security over just ease-of-use.

The streaming war wages on at an all time high

With populations all over the world stuck inside or social distancing, streaming services are becoming more prominent not just in our own lives, but in our virtual social lives. According to a study by Omdia, online streaming services are likely to see growth of +12 percent over the course of the year. 

Even before global social distancing took hold, the market for streaming content had become quite competitive, meaning companies need to find ways to differentiate. Some new entrants like the mobile streaming platform, Quibi, are trying to change the way we watch. But big players like Netflix ad Hulu are still winning out based on the breadth and quality of their content alone. Aside from content and price point, the next frontier for streaming will be ease of use and overall experience. New features like social-watching, more curated selections, and control over profiles and viewing experiences will set the next generation of winning services apart. 

Telemedicine and digital diagnoses are now must-haves, not nice-to-haves

As social distancing becomes the new norm, digital tools for healthcare are becoming the only way for many people to receive non-COVID medical attention. Disruptor companies like Forward, a healthcare company that uses data focused on preventative health, SnapMD, and Nutriremedy are creating services and innovative customer experience models to treat and monitor patients remotely. These telehealth companies are offering comprehensive services such as virtual diagnosis, accessible prescriptions, clinical notes, and patient check-ins, which are crucial while social distancing measures are still in effect, but may also prove to be winners in the long-term as well. 

In fact, a recent survey on how coronavirus will affect the digital health industry found that respondents firmly believe the pandemic will result in the acceleration and wide adoption of digital health solutions. Startups and new entrants may have a leg up on legacy healthcare companies by being agile enough to adapt and cultivate emerging technology, but incumbents can also prepare for the future by providing relevant and personalized customer services to patients in need. The strategic play for healthcare brands is to not just focus on the buzziest new technology, but to understand where the gaps in the current services or markets are, and find ways to fill them with the right products or services that will add real value to patients’ overall health and wellbeing.

Brand success in the time of disruption

In a time of disruption, companies  making proactive decisions to create unique customer experiences that provide real value will see lasting impact on the success of their brand. The brands that are able to find innovative ways to shift business strategies based on the economic climate and needs of their customers will continue to disrupt the industries in which they live—and perhaps even those adjacent. 

 

Author
Sydney Morrison
Business Development Associate, frogNY

As a Business Development Associate, Sydney applies design thinking to complex business challenges. Through strategy, marketing, communications, and analytics she is able to uncover unique opportunities for frog and clients in unconventional and strategic ways.