Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.
– Chess Grandmaster Savielly Tartakower
As Shanghai enters its 8th week of city-wide lockdown, and other cities are just beginning their COVID measures, times have never been tougher for many businesses. With workers at home, factories and warehouses closed, and customers not buying, work has slowed and getting the simplest of things done can be a challenge. But with the right approach there could be a silver lining; it is possible to take advantage of the strange times we find ourselves in.
More time means time for strategy
To elaborate on Tartakower’s brilliant quote above, we tend to spend much of our working lives on the tactical; knowing what to do and getting it done before moving on to the next pressing task and leaving little time for the strategic. Over time, as the focus is on the immediate tactical tasks, the work begins to drift further and further from the original strategy.
While the lockdown has created many immediate concerns for many businesses, it may also be the opportune moment to spend the time thinking about longer-term goals, determining priorities and correcting your course.
Strike while your competitors are asleep
As Mark Ritson has shown, companies who maintain or increase their advertising spend during a recession consistently outperform their competitors once the recession is over. This is because competitors are likely to decrease their spending so the reduced clutter increases the impact (and SOV) of any advertising that continues (not in terms of sales, because the whole market is likely to be down, but in terms of consumer recall). This greater impact results in gains in market share over the short term, which are maintained in the long term and where they translate to profitability. And while China is not in a recession, there is a similar reduction in marketing budgets.
What to do while we’re still locked down
So while lockdowns, and recessions, are difficult times for many they can also be times of opportunity. To start to find those opportunities, ask yourself and your team these questions:
- What are our long-term goals, and do they still apply given the current situation?
- Were we on the right path to achieving those goals, or could we find a better approach given what we now know?
- What are our competitors doing in response to the lockdown, and how can we capitalise on this?
Navigating the complexities of the China market is not easy at the best of times, but Searchlight is here to help you find opportunities where there seem to be none, and to help capitalise on them. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.