Who thrives in the new world?

“COVID-19 has upended our modern lives in ways we’re just starting to understand,” states an April 2020 report titled Our New World, released by the venture capital company Bond—of which Mary Meeker, best known for her annual Internet Trends report, is a partner.

Some companies have been swift to evolve how they operate and best serve their customers. Here, we recap signifiers of long-term success from the report, highlight what’s been happening since the report was published and share questions that can help your brand succeed in the altered business landscape.

Cloud-based tools allow employees to work and connect from anywhere.

The ability to virtually connect has certainly been a boon in 2020. With cloud-based tools, employees have been able to work from home with little to no disruption to normal productivity levels. In fact, a survey from U.S.-based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) found that of the more than 1,000 CIOs interviewed, 48.6% reported that productivity has actually improved since workers began working remotely.

Of course, a team is only as productive as their tools and training allows them to be. In addition to vetting different cloud-based technologies, hosting virtual learning sessions on effective remote working can lead to better-functioning teams, as well.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How well does your team engage in remote work?
  • Knowing you probably have physical locations, production facilities and products, how do you balance and provide guidance on working in the office versus remote?

Products related to food, water, shelter and entertainment tend always to be in demand—especially in uncertain times.

While some brands and products have been doing well lately, many have of course been hit hard and have been forced to innovate or suffer the consequences.

Spa brand milk + honey, for instance, had to close up their spas at the onset of COVID-19. When about 90% of their revenue stream was abruptly cut off, the company had to rely on the e-commerce side of the business as its only source of revenue. And while many businesses floundered, March and April were two of the most successful months for milk + honey’s product company—largely due to sales of its alcohol-based hand purifier, which became the focus of its paid media campaigns.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • If your products have less utility in a major disruption, how can you pivot to focus on other product lines, similar to alcohol brands shifting to hand sanitizer?
  • How can your product—or your marketing—adapt to be more relevant?

An easily discoverable online presence seamlessly helps consumers.

Consumers are spending more time online than ever, and they’re also shopping online at exceptionally high rates. According to Adobe Analytics, U.S. online sales for September 2020 increased 43% year over year—just above August’s online sales growth, which increased 42% year over year.

So it has never been more important to build your websites’ visibility. In addition to improving your SEO, consider the ways brands have been innovating with e-commerce. One example we’ve seen is PepsiCo launching two direct-to-consumer websites recently ( and, where customers can purchase food and snack items.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What words, key phrases or products are you prioritizing for SEO and SEM?
  • As many brands quickly build e-commerce options, how are you balancing near-term priorities with long-term needs post-COVID?

Find efficient ways to distribute products to customers with limited contact.

Consumers are looking to stay indoors. And by now, we’ve seen brands get very creative: In our article “The future of the experience economy,” we highlight some ways traditionally in-person products like dance and cooking classes are going virtual.

And it looks like consumers are game. A new Music 360 Report by MRC Data shows that just under half of music listeners feel it’s important for the industry to offer virtual concerts or livestream performances. People are hungry for the same products and experiences they’ve always had access to—hungry enough to try them out in new settings.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you rethink your product distribution chain?
  • Movies are now going straight to streaming versus being released in theaters. How could that thinking be applied to your product and industry?

Use products and tools that make work more digitally efficient.

In addition to cloud-based virtual connection tools, there are also tools that can lead to greater operational efficiency. Many are speculating that “work-from-home” is here to stay—at least in some capacity—for most businesses. That means that investing in products and tools designed to make remote working more efficient will reap dividends.

Slack and Microsoft Teams have unsurprisingly seen growth accelerate during the pandemic, but there are so many helpful, innovative remote working tools out there for marketing teams to take advantage of.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How can you think differently about the types of technology your team uses or needs?
  • What tools would you invest in if budget wasn’t an issue and how can you prioritize those items?

A broad or emerging social media presence is a must.

And finally, there has never been a more important time to step up your social media presence. We found that consumers’ social media engagement has increased during the pandemic, and brands can do a lot to use this as an opportunity to hear from and engage their audience better.

A new report on from Business Insider Intelligence shows that marketers are using social listening right now to identify consumer needs, manage organic social, measure sentiment, handle crises and develop marketing creative. This is an important time to ensure you’re not underutilizing social media.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How is your brand represented on social media?
  • How are you using social listening to anticipate trends and monitor brand favor?

We certainly are in a new world, and there’s something exciting about the rapid change taking place. What will the world look like a year from now, or five years from now? There’s much we can’t predict—but there is much that we can. One thing seems to be fairly evident: The need to prioritize all things digital won’t go away.

How have you and your team already adapted to the “new normal”? And how will you continue to evolve?

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