Insight

Business unusual

Calling for a new, better normal

Strange times…

Everything has been tested during lockdown; business systems and processes, the infrastructure that keeps things ticking over, and the values that govern our decision making.

Many have done well, but others have pushed their luck.

With the end of lockdown now in sight, it’s time to get serious about returning to “business as usual”. And the good news is that we get to decide what “usual” is.

Here’s what we’ve been thinking about, accompanied by a call for creating a new normal – one we’re happy to return to.

Are you with us?

Communicating with care

This period has been a learning curve for many in matters of communication. We’ve seen brilliant, terrible and, quite frankly, bizarre communications throughout this time.

Please, think carefully about the communications you’re putting out into the world. Although a focus on your key buyer is essential, you need to remember the others in your audience too.

Not everyone is enjoying a diary full of Microsoft Teams meetings, Zoom quizzes and House Party parties. Nor is everyone sitting around bored, bingeing on Netflix all day. Not everyone spends every day meditating, doing yoga and learning a new language. And not everyone shares your perspective on politics, the economy, snowflakes or domestic violence (it’s not funny).

This is why communications is a skilled profession. What you say and who you’re saying it to matters.

Redefining our normal

Luma Marketing is proud to be a full-service marketing agency. We choose our team and our words carefully. Our communications professionals are skilled, experienced and they understand their responsibility.

We are committed to continuing to deliver precise, powerful and deeply empathic pieces of communication. We move out of lockdown more certain and more convinced that careful and considered communication matters – at all times.

Commerce, contracts, cashflow

Money has been a problem for most over the last couple of months.

The government stepped up with bold solutions for businesses affected by the crisis, though for many the money has yet to materialise.

There’s been a hell of a lot of admin for businesses applying for government loans, grants and help for furloughed workers. This abundance of admin and volume of applications has led to a lot of delayed payments, leaving many with cashflow issues.

We have seen a marked difference between the businesses that live up to their values and those that don’t. This has been most evident in the way they look after their people, and the way they pay their bills. There are those who have picked up the phone, talked about project plans, payment schedules, paid early and been honest, and there are others who have hidden behind empty promises, delays, excuses and “admin errors”.

There is a warning to be found in those who are reluctant to sign a contract at the outset. And no business can afford to work with firms that don’t pay their bills on time.

As we said at the beginning of March, what you do (as an individual or business) matters far more than the words on your website.

Are your values an empty promise or do they actually lead your business?

Redefining our normal

This has been a time of character over charisma, actions over slogans and attitude over platitude. As such, it’s been very revealing.

We want to work with good people who pay promptly, with a smile. And lockdown has proven that there are plenty of them out there to work with.

We resolve to pay our suppliers on time – early if we can.

We take pride in delivering good work for good clients and expect the same in return.

Caring for our community

There is power in your purchase decisions, and how you choose to wield that power reflects what you believe in.

We have influence and control over the people we choose to hire, collaborate with, and work for, over the ideas we listen to and the conversations we encourage.

We are all part of a community, whether that’s geographic, tribal, sports or business. And communities survive because we all do our bit.

How do you contribute to your community? What have you done during lockdown to make sure that those in need have survived? What do you do daily to strengthen your community?

We rely heavily on our community. To us, this includes our team, our suppliers, our advocates, clients, friends and family.

To them, we have shared our knowledge, passed on opportunities, given advice and support. And we have received much more in return. Our community is stronger than it was before lockdown began.

Is your business driven by competition or collaboration?

Redefining our normal

We are committed to continuing to look after our community, in good times as well as the tough. And we will always have a pro bono or “at cost” project on the go, delivering something worthwhile.

We don’t gossip, bitch or moan. We are respectful and positive about the other marketing agencies out there (many people are very good at this job). We say good things about people doing good work and believe that those who are out for themselves will end up alone.

Challenging convention

The pandemic pushed us all into a problem-solving mindset.

Is there a better way to do this? How can we keep business moving without people coming together? What infrastructure do we need in our homes to work, exercise and school our children?

As lockdown lifts, we want to keep this mindset as much as possible.

Have you always done things in the same way? How’s that working for you? And will it work for you next year and the year after?

Redefining our normal

Luma Marketing will remain a problem-solving business with a firm mindset that continuously asks, “Is there a better way to do this?”

Taking better care

One of the huge positives to come out of the Covid-19 lockdown is the lessons we learned about care.

The environment bounced back miraculously quickly when we stopped driving everywhere and buying disposable items from China. As we return to “normal life” we need to make sure the planet can continue to breathe.

Our carers, often on minimum wage, described as unskilled, step into dangerous environments to care for the sick and vulnerable. We should think carefully about how we respect and reward those with more important jobs than our own (vote, people, vote!).

Closer to home, we have all learnt how much more important it is that we look after ourselves. We’ve realised the importance of daily exercise, finding time to think, to relax, to read, to just be. Not sure about you, but we are tired of being tired.

After all, we are human beings, not human doings.

The thinking that has taken place over this period will have a material impact on what comes next. And not one person we have spoken to wants to return to what was considered normal before.

Redefining our normal.

We will take better care of our time so we can take better care of ourselves. Working 7am – 7pm will happen no more. You will find us taking a walk in the middle of the day, downing tools to catch the last of the sun, out for a bike ride or walking the school run.

We will not travel to a meeting unless absolutely necessary and we will avoid using the car where we can.

That is our manifesto.

With it, we call for a new normal, a business unusual. Because what we realised is that the old normal was never actually normal. It was just something we bought into.

As we leave lockdown we will create a way of working that dramatically improves our working lives, the quality of the work we deliver, our relationships with the people we work for and the wellbeing of our planet.

The question is, are you with us?

What does your new normal look like?

Your Comments

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Thank you Lucy, this is very well written and aligns with a lot of my thinking. There are, and can be, a lot of positives to come out of this period. I hope time efficiency, and flexibility come out top in leading us into a new and brighter future. What this period has shown is incredible resilience in people to survive, to adapt, and to help and appreciate others. All excellent starting points for the ‘new normal’.

By Heloise@ateliermb