Coronavirus has deeply impacted businesses all over the world. Even we at Modifyed Digital have felt the impact since we work with a number of clients in the travel and tourism space – most of whom have stopped work or cancelled their marketing contracts, at least for the next 3 months. We sell social media services for a living. The irony is that it is social media itself which has affected our revenues, with the coronavirus scare gripping humans everywhere. For perspective, here’s some research I read online:
- In 2003 – SARS broke out, with a mortality rate of 10%, affecting nearly 26 countries.
- In 2009 – Swine Flu spread, with a mortality rate of 4.5%, affecting 57 million people globally.
- In 2014 – The deadly Ebola virus attacked, with a mortality rate of 25%, killing 11,310 people.
- In 2020 – A coronavirus termed COVID-19 has appeared, with a reported mortality of 3.4%, killing 8999* people in 84 days.
Yet, COVID-19 seems to be a much scarier pandemic than ever before. Why is the global economy crashing under the impact of this virus?
Yes, China is virtually under lockdown, which has affected supply chains everywhere. For the last 2 months, I didn’t really feel the effect of this Virus on our relatively industry agnostic business. Now its for real! For example, one of our clients in the exhibition design industry sources a lot of their production material from China. Being in the events industry, a number of events and tradeshows have been cancelled, so they are reeling under the twin shocks. Another client is an importer of fashion products from China, so their business has virtually shut down because of factories being shut in China.
Perhaps, one of the answers lies in the way we consume news today.
Here’s some additional data for context:
- 2003 – (During Sars) – There was very limited no Facebook, no Whatsapp.
- 2009 – (During Swine Flu) – Facebook had just 150 million users.
- 2014 – (During Ebola) – Whatsapp had around 450 million users.
- 2020 – Covid-19 – Whatsapp has around 2 billion users, Facebook has 1.69 Billion users.
I am not even considering the increase in usage of other social media/content platforms such as Instagram, Linkedin, TikTok, Pinterest, Youtube, amongst others. In 2020, there are close to 3.5 billion humans currently active across various social media networks!
Yes, Social Media is incredibly powerful in amplifying a good message, or increasing the impact of a good business. If there is one thing that clearly emerges, it’s that social media’s power to amplify a bad message is perhaps even bigger.
Whether it’s a Virus outbreak, a communal clash or an economy meltdown, whatever the event, it feels like it is happening in your bedroom, your school friends group, your family groups, your office group – everyone seems to be sharing the same forward.
I’m not denying that deadly Coronaviruses like Covid-19 is a killer. It has spread like wildfire and lead to unprecedented lockdowns, quarantines and measures by organisations all over the world. But the effect it has had on global markets is perhaps unprecedented!
6 Productive Lessons and Steps for Marketers
Let’s take all necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe, not just from COVID-19, but from all other diseases (remember, heart disease, diabetes, lung cancer, kill more people every day than COVID-19).
More importantly, let’s not spread the panic on social media. Winston Churchill made a profound statement during World War II:
Never let a good crisis go waste
In a time of uncertain economic conditions, you panicking on digital platforms will only lead to more panic in your social networks, and more uncertainty all over. Yes, the ‘VirusCrisis’ presents business with challenges but also some unprecedented opportunities:
- Review and Reflect – We’ve acquired a precious resource: time for reflection. Can you use it to review past performance, strategies & portfolios? Press the RESET button & recalibrate all costs & overheads.
- Brainstorm with your teams – Ask your juniors, who you never had the time for earlier, for ideas for business improvement.
- Personal Relationships – Use the lull to build deeper personal relationships with customers.
- Slow down and enjoy the simple things – For me, I have gotten some much needed time to catch up on writing.
- Switch to Video – Office goers are being asked to work from home. Meetings are being conducted on video. What could be better? Read this post on why we love video
- A better personal life – Stop going out to malls, cinemas and restaurants. Instead, spend it at home, attend to your personal hygiene, focus on restoring health, learn cooking at home, read books and spend time with family.
Yes, the economy will slow down. But such crisis opens up new opportunities. Meanwhile, we at Modifyed are praying for the quick recovery of all those affected by the virus and for us to all collectively fight and defeat this pandemic.
Let us let nature restore order!