With a drastic discount to each demand and provide, the so-far-unstoppable engine of consumption has been paused (if not utterly stopped).

By Amitabh Pande

One of essentially the most important insights that stayed with me once I learn Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, was this realisation that as human-type, “our history is out of sync with our biology”. Simply put, what we’ve got achieved as a race within the final 200 odd years, by way of the sheer will of our minds and know-how, is at a tempo, that’s utterly anachronistic to the organic evolution of our species – and by extension, our planet. Then it’s not a shock that we stay in a world filled with conflicts, the place the expansion of our species comes on the expense of the opposite species and on the expense of our planet.

Then, inside this world, we’ve got created a number of societies and cultures, with their very own different guidelines of engagement, which have solely additional exaggerated these conflicts at a number of ranges. Because the trendy world we stay in is nearly utterly designed by man (and never by nature), by definition it must be imperfect, for each the great and the dangerous.

Therefore, at any time limit, in a society, we’re continuously residing with these constructed-in contradictions. And all an enormous disruption, like COVID (or say, the 2008 financial crisis) does is expose the ‘fault-lines’ that exist already in our man-made political-socio-financial assemble of the world.


So, all that COVID is educating us (and it’s the current tense, since we’re nonetheless in the course of it) is to ‘see’ a few of these cracks in our world extra clearly. And then for us, as marketers, it turns into about determining how our manufacturers are positioned to mindfully reply to those cracks.

One of the extra elementary fault-strains that has been uncovered throughout COVID time, is the battle between our obsession with progress (pushed by consumption) vs. the restricted assets out there (to ourselves as individuals, and as a planet). The environmental implication of that is after all broadly recognized. What COVID has executed is carry it dwelling, actually. Demand has been affected by way of influence on our incomes and our sentiment. Supply has been affected by the lockdown. With a drastic discount to each demand and provide, the so-far-unstoppable engine of consumption has been paused (if not utterly stopped). We are questioning how a lot can we purchase extra, and extra importantly, how a lot do we actually want extra. We are studying to make do with identical or much less. And when the will for increasingly more comes into query, manufacturers must discover a means of defining their existence past consumption. And enterprise fashions must discover sustaining themselves with out an incessant double-digit progress frenzy. How can we be extra aware as we outline this path?

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Here’s 5 doable alternatives, which I’m certain just isn’t complete, as a result of the present disaster is much from over:

Firstly, transferring from manufacturers being obsessed by consumption progress, to being obsessed by model function. This is the ‘why’ of our model. Why does our model exist on this world? What is the mission? A function is sort of a true north that guides all of the actions we do as a model, whether or not it’s COVID time or every other time. And a disaster, simply makes the necessity to anchor on our function much more. Responding to a disaster state of affairs from our function all the time reveals authenticity to individuals. This builds belief and an emotional connection. By distinction, reacting topically to a state of affairs, not rooted in who we’re, makes us look opportunistic and exploitative. We can faux a communication. We can’t faux function. Authenticity, not solely topicality needs to be the guiding gentle.

Secondly, transferring from the promise of the nice and the grand, to the promise of the easy and the on a regular basis. These previous few months have taught us all the worth of easy joys in our lives. We have longed for a easy stroll outdoors the home. We have cherished each board recreation we performed with our youngsters. We have relished no matter deal with was out there within the grocery retailer, with out complaining that it was not our most well-liked alternative. We have learnt new expertise like cooking and artwork. We have found that our dwelling is filled with potentialities we by no means knew existed (#IKEALifeathome). As manufacturers, can we be humble sufficient to talk to this?

Thirdly, transferring from I-me-myself thoughts-set (once more a consumption-obsessed thoughts-set) to a “we” thoughts-set. We all know that we will’t do it alone. But now, it has landed from merely an mental thought, proper into our hearts. When many center-class households needed to stay with none home assist, all of us learnt the worth of the numerous others in our lives. The scale of our unequal society has been uncovered by way of the struggling of thousands and thousands of migrants and staff. The phrase ‘togetherness’ has by no means been extra necessary than now. We have all reached out to assist others and search assist from others. We have learnt to be grateful. We have come out in our balconies to indicate our help. We have been in deep debt to all of the medical and well being-care staff which are continuously placing their lives in danger for all of us. We have acknowledged our interdependence with everybody else on the earth. How can our manufacturers encourage collectivism, inclusiveness, variety, equality and group consciousness, each for our clients and for our staff?

Fourth, transferring from pondering of individuals as customers to them as people. Consumption is among the issues individuals do, of their lives. But that’s not what defines them. As manufacturers can we consider individuals of their holistic lives, reasonably than merely as customers of our manufacturers? Making this swap is important, as a result of then we’re not solely pondering of tips on how to make them eat our model extra, however how can we genuinely resolve their wants of their lives. Sometimes, it might additionally imply not consuming our manufacturers, and we needs to be okay with that alternative too. Easier mentioned-than-executed after all. But that’s why we’re entrepreneurs.

Finally, if something a disaster (like COVID) teaches us, it’s the energy of resilience of the individuals. We all the time below-estimate this about individuals, society, and our personal manufacturers. We by no means thought we might be capable to survive being locked down at dwelling for greater than 2 months, and but right here we’re. Not simply surviving however thriving. As individuals, we stay our lives in a continuum, taking in the future at a time. As entrepreneurs, we have to imagine on this, and with out intellectualising an excessive amount of, reply to the present state of affairs in an agile method, by understanding the present actuality of the individuals. Nothing extra, nothing much less.

As, the trade between Frodo and Gandalf within the first guide of Lord of the Rings tells us.
“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

-The creator is nation marketing supervisor, IKEA India. Views expressed are private.