If you have a product that responds to the crisis, you must not allow yourself to not advertise. You must be attentive to the social component and show care for the community, believes Vladimir Ristevski, marketing director at Piksel.
Business Info: In the last few weeks, our country and the world have been pulsating in the rhythm dictated by the coronavirus. What lessons does this pandemic teach us?
The first lesson was definitely a lesson in agility and the ability of companies to quickly adapt to new circumstances that I believe no one expected would happen.
The second, and I think much more important lesson, was empathy and humanity. Here, we all had to realize that we are in the same basket. Everyone was either healthily or financially affected by this situation, not to mention the issues with mobility. Therefore, we all had to realize that now, more than ever, communication is the key to continue working.
And the final lesson is remote work, which we all once thought was impossible, has become routine for us. We have learned many things. Most of all the importance of starting the digital transformation of companies. For us at Piksel as a digital software and marketing agency, this is key in our mission and vision.
Business Info: Although it is normal for someone to work remotely (from home), some companies are just now introducing such a way of working. What does it take to successfully manage a cross-functional team?
First, the process has to be set up to suit the work as it would be in the office, or, in other words, the first and most important rule is, if people are at home, it does not mean they are available for work 24/7. If they have a lunch break at work, they would also have it at home. But, at home, they may not have the ideal working conditions, so they cannot be as effective and efficient, even though research shows that people are more efficient when working from home.
Furthermore, the process must set ground rules for communication – email should be the primary channel so there are no misunderstandings. Then, one of the electronic video conferencing tools (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) should replace the need for physical meetings. Phone calls and instant chat should be put as a last option.
This is especially important because the first impulse of everyone in the business community is to call about something every five minutes or “limp” on Skype, Viber, and Messenger, forgetting that if people are constantly micro-communicating, then no one will have time to do anything.
Finally, it is essential to use software for monitoring company processes, delegating tasks, and improving productivity. We saw this a long time ago (fortunately) before the crisis, and we developed internal software for business analysis. It proved to be quite good and gave us new ideas on how to upgrade it in the future.
Business Info: How to raise motivation, encourage creativity, and maintain the condition of employees in crises?
As I mentioned earlier, a key moment in this situation is empathy. A good owner/manager/team leader must put employees first and show that he really cares about them. Hence, the most important element is communication with the entire company (via video call, of course), but also individually with each employee, as often as possible, on a more personal level to provide them with support in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic and restrictive measures.
As much as we may think that the situation is not terrible, fear, uncertainty, and restrictions have taken a toll. So, the role of the leader must be to listen to colleagues. Ask them how they cope with everything that happens to them. Check if he/she can help and inform them about everything that happens in the company.
Transparency in these difficult times is key, and everyone must be updated with everything happening in the company. This can only help to strengthen the team and the mutual trust when the company comes out of the crisis.
Business Info: Will the coronavirus remind us of some crucial things we have forgotten? And what should we do to remember them for life?
It definitely reminded us to take care of each other more.
It reminded us how nice it was when we were all at home, together.
It emphasized the importance of family lunches and dinners, cooking together, taking more care of personal health, and physical activities. And also, the fact that material things are not as important as mobility and freedom of movement.
It will remind us in the future how much we should value healthcare workers. How much we should further develop some skills that may have been considered traditional and unimportant before, but now we realize that they are necessary in a given situation (such as cooking, “housekeeping” and so on).
We need to further develop the collective awareness for protecting the environment and creating a better world for all of us. But, I will emphasize again: empathy is the one that should raise us to a completely different level and make us better people.
Business Info: In such crisis situations, we realize the importance of technology. How much can we “turn” it in our favor and let it “work” for us?
The sooner the digital transformation process starts, the better. If this was the rule before the pandemic, today it has become mandatory for every company. The beauty of digitization is the automation of certain processes and the ease of getting everything in one place.
In addition, process automation can be closely related to the automation of marketing activities. Here is the ideal combination that every company should strive for. Debunking the myth that digital transformation leads to job cuts is a much-needed discussion. I believe that if a company goes digital, it may just free up more time for employees to focus on the more challenging part of maintaining and growing the business rather than on tasks that can be performed automatically.
Segmenting and nurturing consumers and bringing in new quality customers requires a human touch. Тhese are processes that technology can only facilitate. We still need people who will have time to grow and develop professionally to be even better at doing their job.
Business Info: How can digital marketing “shine” when everyone is afraid to take a bold step and keep their brand in front of an online audience?
Several things come to the fore in this situation. As previously mentioned, transparency is the key here as well. You must communicate with your customers and followers on social networks and other digital channels. If you have a product that responds to the crisis, you can’t afford not to advertise.
However, you must be attentive to the social component and show concern for the community. Those who can donate in times of crisis, to show that despite the difficult time humanity comes first, will have a chance to survive in the coming months. Therefore, those with extra resources should reach out to the community. To offer their services to anyone who can’t afford them and needs them. The easiest way to do this is by posting on social media.
The rest should find a way to lift the spirits of their followers with positive posts, posts related to their employees, and entertaining content and thus raise awareness of their brand. Quarantine must not stop the world. We must keep the hope that we will come out of this stronger and more prepared than before.
Business Info: What do you expect to change drastically after this crisis is over?
People’s inertia regarding communication will change, that’s for sure. Being in different locations will no longer be an excuse to find time to physically see each other. Video calls will already become quite normal and easy. Some industries will never be the same again, but the opportunity will open up for new potential businesses that will explode in the future.
Online stores will finally come to the fore in Macedonia. Delivery companies will be forced to invest in human resources, software, and a system of bonuses so that everything can run flawlessly. Restaurants will devote more time to conceptualizing the way of food delivery.
Online education will certainly be here as a primary industry that will further explode in the future, which will entail diversification of knowledge and skills among all those who want to invest in themselves and in greater agility in the workforce, and thus greater competitiveness of the labor market.
Business Info: Do you have a motto that motivates you?
If you put enough effort into what you love and become an expert at it, you will always find others who need that talent and skill, and there will always be work for you. Is there anything better than loving what you do? It’s definitely something that guides me in life, that’s why I always try to upgrade myself.
That’s how, over the years, I’ve developed new skills and changed professions based on what was my passion at the given moment. So, I went from being a translator and interpreter to a writer. Then I retrained in the world of digital marketing and entrepreneurship.
Business Info: What would you say to our readers?
Always be hungry for knowledge. It’s something that is at the core of how I function as a human being, and it’s something that everyone should consider.
You cannot allow yourself to stand still in life. This way you will only cement yourself in your comfort zone and be afraid to live life to the fullest. New knowledge provides new opportunities. And a new way to be happier in your career, earn more, and be more successful.