How Brands Reacted to Work from Home Trend

The Covid19 pandemic has struck and paralyzed the world. Enterprise operations of traditional business processes are now impossible, or only barely working in a too stringent condition to become profitable. Many businesses eventually embraced this work from home set-up (WFH).

The pandemic substantially altered consumer behavior and how businesses operate.

Many people are now relying on delivery services, using food delivery applications such as UberEats in the US, FoodPanda in Asia, Deliveroo in Europe, and Swiggy in India. Based on the data published by Statista, the Online Food Delivery in US is expected to reach US$32,325m by 2024.

In the east, the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has always been at the forefront of the online shopping business. But instead of shrinking its firm’s sales, its worldwide sales even grew 22% in the first three months of this year.  In an interview with Bloomberg, the president of Alibaba in North America and Europe, John Caplan, even said that they had seen significant growth in the WFH  necessities, things like office and education supplies.

In the west, the social media giant, Twitter, has now allowed its employees to work from home “forever”, saying that its business “was uniquely positioned” to adapt to the constraints brought about by this pandemic. Other tech giants such as Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple also told its employees to work from home.

But not all businesses are readily available for quick adaptation to a WFH set-up considering that not all are digitally-skilled to contribute in the business process. On top of that, based on TheAtlantica, almost 60% of the jobs in the US cannot be done at home.”

Employers worldwide must encourage a WFH arrangement

According to a study conducted by LeanIn.Org and Mckinsey & Co. Women, which was published by Wall Street Journal, WFH arrangements not only increase productivity for most people, but it also decreases their stress and eliminates commute for their employees — giving their employees more time for their mental and physical well-being.

Notably, an increase in demand for legal pads, envelopes, and label printers is noticeable from the data readily available in Amazon’s Office Supplies category. Some of these supplies even appear in the Top 100 Best Sellers for office supplies. 

Brands must engage followers with fun, viral challenges

There are many ways to use social media platforms to connect and immortalize brand loyalty among the respective customers of different brands. Various brands must quickly adapt, as there is a high tendency that brands will lose their existing competitive edge of having patrons and loyalists as enterprise operation for services and products is most likely to be adversely hampered by the pandemic.

As a response, brands have utilized social media platforms to give styling games, online conversations, customer satisfaction surveys and more.

Case in point, Vogue Business acclaimed that  Chanel, Alexander McQueen, and Marc Jacobs have been entertaining their followers by hosting musical performances, even to the extent of helping its customers to create Spotify playlists. What’s more admirable is what the Barcelona-based fashion brand Paloma has done to retain its relevance amid the pandemic. The brand hosted an online dance party on Zoom, where 100 people showed up. On the other hand, the brand Dior has conducted an online exhibition of its 70-year history. With all of this kind of innovation, it will truly be a matter of effective engagement and communication which will allow brands to retain their respective market share.

Embrace Technology

Companies and different brands are now realizing that 2020 is a breakout year for edge computing. This means that those companies which fail to go digital and train their employees will certainly lag and lose their existing market share before the pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, conference calls and e-meetings have proven to be a viable set-up for revolutionizing the business, at the same time getting rid of meeting expenses such as travel time having Longines and travel cost). Many people did not realize that video conferencing allows impromptu meetings immediately where people can come together to discuss ideas and work through documents.

The most notable industry affected by a pandemic is the food industry. Due to the lockdown and travel restriction, many markets have suffered financial loss, and volumes of rotten meats and vegetables were thrown as demands have been low. Amazon then transitioned to innovate its online grocery retail by bringing live and interactive cooking classes which helped boost online-store sales to around 25% amid the pandemic.

According to Business Insider, the California-based animal sanctuary Sweet Farm was having a hard time to remain profitable The company then offered an online service where different companies around the world can pay to have a farm animal to make an appearance in their Zoom call. The company has already received 300 requests from the business, citing that companies avail their service to spark up joy during this trying time.

Brands must monitor its competition and be proactive

Every company and brand must conduct industry research, and be informed of the legal policies of their respective governments to stay on top, or at least relevant in their respective industries. This can be done in different ways.

·             Companies must train their employees to be digitally-skilled to utilize social media to gain high traffic and engagement. Also, by training their employees to WFHe, firms will be able to lessen the bureaucracy in traditional processes

·         Every firm must conduct surveys to elicit essential information about customer behavior. By this, firms can create innovative marketing campaigns as social media advertising costs plummet to increase engagement. Firms must then learn when to utilize social media advertising through the use of social media giants where the cost is high. Hence, firms must make its interpretation of data gathered by third parties, and make a well-informed and strategi
c plan.

To best summarize, Financial Express strongly emphasizes the need for the brands to ride the first wave of WFH set-up. Furthermore, Financial Express suggests that  firms must “experiment” with WFH set-up and operate in this “new normal” to gauge its advantages and disadvantages. Financial Express further emphasizes that brands and agencies must reassure its consumers that the firms themselves will be able to transition to the “new normal”, and that it will be safe and conducive for the consumers to enjoy their services and products.

Business Insider even stated that most US companies are now even supporting WFH arrangements because  of “better meeting attendance and manager support for employees.”

Lastly, it’s important to emphasize that the pandemic has shaped the way people interact with each other, and that “an era-defining moment” happened when people are required by their employers to WFH.

Barak Yaari is the CTO at Scrapezone, a data as a service & analytics startup from Israel. Connect with him on Linkedin at: linkedin.com/in/barak-yaari-078794b3

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