Now what?

By Joseph Jaffe

Besides being one of the most sought-after consultants and speakers about marketing and innovation, Joseph Jaffe is an author, entrepreneur and the co-founder of HMS Beagle.  Next Thursday, he’ll host his webinar in titled “Preparing for the next crisis… Yes, the next one!” during the live streaming of our inquiry about the impact of Covid-19 on the Belgian consumers, which you can follow at 15:00 on any of our social media channels.

Here’s a little taste of what he’ll talk about next Thursday...

Cover story

Now what?

Over the course of the past two months,there has been a LOT of advice dispensed by a LOT of people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all well intentioned.  

The challenge I think has been finding the time to consume and process it all. 

In addition, there are all the “mind games” associated with finding that happy medium between despair (how could this happen? Will we ever be the same?) and euphoria (the world is healing; dolphins are frolicking the canals of Venice) or in more business terms, the balance or mix between short (all hands on deck) and long (set sail for the promised land)term planning. 

I’ve come up with a simple 3 phased approach and I’ll be sharing this in more detail during my presentation. Here are the highlights:

Phase 1: Survive

Survival can be looked at two ways:

1. Don’t die. Stay in business.Stay afloat.

Do whatever it takes to keep the lights on. Yes, of course this involves cutting costs, but it shouldn’t entail cutting yourselves off at the knees. Too many businesses have cast aside employees, when said employees could have been transferred to call centers to provide a level of customer servicethat has been beyond abysmal. Case in point: Zoom just sent me an e-mail response to a technical support question I had 5 days ago, letting me know my query is still in the queue. That’s worse than pre-COVID. When I last checked, Zoom’s market capitalization was more than the world’s top 5 airlines combined!

2. Live your life to the max. Be truly alive.

Make the most of your time you have on this planet (brand or individual.) During this “great pause,” now is the time to introspect and take stock; now is the time to prioritize; now is the time to tackle some of the projects you kept putting off; now is the time to address some of the fundamentals you had been neglecting – like your website, search, content,video, CRM. Very 101, I know.

Livestream Covid-19 & the consumers: what happens now?

Phase 2: Plan for when you come out of this

A. Ruby Red Slippers (business as usual): Dorothy clicks her heels and wakes up from a bad dream. Everything is as it was and as it should be. It appears not many of us feel this is a realistic scenario (unfortunately). That said, this is one area where the fundamentals mentioned in the previous phase could be activated relatively smoothly and efficiently.

B. The new normal (business as UNUSUAL): Being caught unawares or flat-footed isn’t good enough. You need to be able to hit the ground running at a moment’s notice,when we get the proverbial “all clear” - and to do that, you need to have a plan or plans (multiple) in place that correspond to one of three scenarios:In this scenario, hygiene has become the new security. Think about your lives post 9/11. We still flew, but when it came to go through security, seeing the cockpit’s door bolted shut or knowing there was an air marshal somewhere on your flight, life was forever altered. Handshakes may come back again. Or not. So what position do you take as a Hollywood director when creating a timeless classic? Produce two versions? Good luck with that!

C. Armageddon (No more business): Hertz just filed for bankruptcy. Give them credit for first mover advantage. How long before every other car rental company follows suit? It’s not just because a healthy chunk of revenue comes from airport rentals; it’s equally because of a little startup called Uber (et al)

Which leads to Phase 3: Pivot

In the case of the cruise line industry, was there a Plan B in place? Back to the car rental category, had they anticipated self-driving cars (autonomous vehicles) or the sharing economy?

Phase 3 is where the true survival instinct kicks in. Where fear and pain are superseded by hunger and risk. This where adaptation trumps self-preservation in order to ensure – at a minimum – you have a second horse in the race, because let’s face it: when you have an additional horse (or revenue stream) in the race, you have an exponentially higher chance of winning said race.

Consider the beleaguered magazine industry back in 2005 or thereabouts? What would have happened had the main players gone “all in” in terms of embracing digital at the earliest possible opportunity? Find your equivalent in today’s operating environment and recognize that COVID-19 has forced you to open your eyes and take stock.

The pivot should not involve throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but it is important to begin at a cathartic extreme which is to put yourselves out of business, before someone else does.

Companies that came into this dark period in the world already on life support are most likely not going to make it through. On the other hand, those that had some kind of buffer in place, will most likely make it out – relatively – unscathed. Whether you call it wiggle room or a contingency plan, it’s time to start planning NOW for the next crisis, because it’s coming…and sooner than you think.

There’s an old saying, “hope for the best; plan for the worst.” To which I say, “screw hope!” Hope is not a strategy. Planning is. Plan for the best AND plan for the worst. This is what it takes to survive and thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.


Join us and Joseph Jaffe on Thursday 4/06 at 15:00 on any of our SoMe channels, when we’ll live stream the results of our global inquiry about the impact of Covid-19 on the Belgian consumers.

We’ll welcome various guests who’ll share their insights with us, including Joseph who’ll host his webinar intitled “Preparing for the next crisis... Yes, the next one!”

To stay up to date, confirm your attendance on the Facebook event

Corona Tracking Workshops
  • Find out how your consumers’ media usage and purchase behaviour have changed since the pandemic
  • Know how to adapt efficiently to your consumer’s new needs
  • Plan for your brand’s survival
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