We debated if we should bother with our predictions series again.
Focusing on trends and what’s coming is a series we’ve been writing since our pre-Amplify days.
As we approach 2021 we are less confident though in our predictions as there are still so many unknowns and we are ending the year in a state of volatility.
And we are not sure if people read these trends or even want to hear them!
But, in the end, we decided it gives us hope and it might do the same for at least one person in our community so we are taking the plunge.
So… here we go!
We predict AND hope for this coming year:
1. A remarkable recovery
2. Bring back the brand & center it on experience
3. Leverage the pivot
A REMARKABLE RECOVERY
Obviously the most important prediction for 2021 is continued hardship with the pandemic crisis followed by a remarkable recovery.
Kicking off the year with just your immediate household, and not even having a dinner out, is going to be strange for many. Not hosting people will put the revenue behind for many restaurants, event centers, service providers, and hospitality businesses.
As we prepare to see vaccines make a global impact, we anticipate that “V” recovery that we’ve all been promised.
There is optimism in amounts households have saved and what they might do within their community with that cash reserve.
There will be pent up demand for a number of missed services & experiences.
The new uses of technology & the changing work dynamics will create opportunities for many businesses.
There’s a “hole to dig out from”. Many businesses took advantage of government assistance programs but unfortunately, much of that was loans and will eat into recovery profits & cashflow. The government itself has some catching up to do on their books.
As business leaders, it will be important to evaluate our strategy and our next steps with consideration of this recovery.
How will consumer demands change?
What do our clients need to be successful with us?
We may not be without restrictions or concerns as late as the fall of next year, but with the seasonal trends of the virus and the continued learning and improved medical treatment, in addition to the vaccines, I’m predicting we are heading to the upside by late spring. With continued and timely government support, businesses can rebuild over the summer and start the bounce back by fall. Assistance in the meantime, while upsetting some due to the material spend, is instrumental to employment and business survival. The fabric of our communities is small and medium businesses. They are the economic engine. They are our most impactful employer group. Not enough has been done to date to help them, but we’re hopeful for 2021.
We need people to feel valued and to feel they have the ability to make an impact. That is achieved through employment.
If we want to help households and families, we need employment.
If we want to curve mental health, we need an economy.
If we want children to thrive and grow up in a healthy and safe community, we need people to feel they can influence their destiny and contribute.
All of this is achieved through employment.
Bring Back the Brand & Center it on Experience
We need to feel we are part of something. Tribe and community can be anchored on brand. We need that in 2021. We need to get back to connection.
In our commodity-based communities, it might be an “intro to brand” but there has also been a rejection of brand marketing by and large. Funny enough that rejection has been replaced with an obsession on experience. We would argue that any great brand is anchored on experience historically and this is just semantics with language.
Having the courage to pick a North Star and declare what your experience is going to be can be hard.
Inherently, when you are clear about your brand and experience you are less inclusive. There will people that value what you offer and those that don’t. This means saying “no” and that’s uncomfortable.
Let’s get uncomfortable!
The saying is, “when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one”.
Brand isn’t just visual. It isn’t the graphics and colours and tone alone.
Brand isn’t just the messaging and the one-liners and the communication.
Brand includes your reputation. It’s the way people talk about you. It’s the stories they tell or think. These are circulated within tribes. And people’s storytelling is always emotional. Their perception of a brand or experience will be centered on how they feel. It will be painted with what they associate it with.
When you see Corona (pre-COVID?!?) you think of Mexico and the beach, right?
When you see Nike you remember MJ and the feeling of winning.
When you think Apple, you think simplicity.
This can extend to all industries. The Big 4 will bring back alumni memories for some CPAs. It will be associated with suits and ties for other business leaders.
Don’t be afraid to jump on the chance to declare your Experience and build a brand. The best brands have.
Leveraging the Pivot
Besides combining two annoying and overused words, what does leveraging the pivot mean?
In 2020, companies had to reevaluate their business model. They needed to consider their revenue sources and find ways for short term cash inflows. They had to manage costs tightly.
Some of these new ideas can be fruitful on a long-term basis too. For example, the recognition that reoccurring revenue is vital to forecasting and consistency is key. If you can turn your service into a commitment, you should.
I had an interesting chat with a traditional pay by the hour service provider. They noted they don’t give a discount for volume because more hours takes more time and they sell time.
Makes sense right?
And I agree, if you’re being paid after and you are constantly getting rescheduled and canceled, then discounting because more is expected to be bought is only reducing your value proposition.
The comment was, “I have to show up 100% each time. I don’t discount my value when I show up or come with 89% of my value. So more doesn’t get me synergies or the opportunity to bring less and therefore it shouldn’t cost less.”
Here’s where they are wrong though. If you turn that service into a retainer-based subscription-style or annual commitment where the cancellation isn’t as immediate or overly simple and there’s guaranteed revenue – that has value. And that commitment value should have a give and take.
If you can move your revenue model to this type, you should. It was the best advice we received in our set up and I repeat it to anyone that is in advisory. And when you ask your client to give that commitment and contract to those cancellation terms, that has value which might allow you to offer a retainer-based pricing for that give/take.
Even a furnace company can turn their work into a membership and charge a reoccurring model like this. If they can, you can too. Get creative!
Your tribe wins and your forecasts do too!
Other pivots could include new products or services, a move online or other coping methods from COVID. It’s time to revisit these in 2021 and leverage the ones that have staying power.
So that’s a wrap!
Let’s kick off a new year and kick 2020 to the curb.
Most important let’s stay healthy and safe and move back to “normal” with a remarkable recovery. We have an economy to clean up! And we have mental illness to address too. It’s sad and it’s going to be hard. The sooner we are on that path the better.
From there, and to stand out from the crowd, bring back the brand and anchor it on experience. Let’s be a courageous community that creates tribes and is willing to declare what we are and what that means. People need to feel connected again so find that opportunity for yourself.
And as much as we want 2020 to be in the rearview mirror, let’s pause and revisit it. There are pivots we made that are more than short-term actions and fixes. We learned a lot in a tough and unprecedented year so let’s make it worth it and leverage those experiences for future long term profit.
Good-bye 2020. We won’t miss you.
Aha with Amplify is coming up on January 19th @ 12 pm.