Coronavirus Sets New Waves of Digital Transformation

COVID-19 has challenged all businesses to digitally transform during the pandemic. And in some cases, businesses have to make the hard decision whether to close their doors or digitally innovate even further

Coronavirus Sets New Waves of Digital Transformation

Now, more than ever, digital transformation is a critical transformation for all businesses, brands, and enterprises during COVID-19. We’ve seen mass shutdowns from travel to restaurants to non-essential businesses as more countries are locked down. 

And if your business has been affected by the pandemic, the questions you have been asking include:

For decades, research has shown that less than 30% of companies succeed in digital transformation. And in some cases, businesses that failed in transforming are still recovering. But now coronavirus has given the world no choice. 

In order to ensure the safety of employees and move all operations remotely,  businesses have to transform digitally, and fast. Below, we will uncover how companies and industries digitally transform by using marketing and social media strategies during a challenging time. 

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Rethinking Communications During Digital Transformation COVID-19

If your company thought they were digitally transformed and could work from home, that idea has been put to the test. 

Situations may have changed drastically from the norm for employees. It can range from kids being home because of school closures to a partner losing a job to families being directly affected by coronavirus itself. So it’s essential for managers to understand the challenges of working remotely and build strong digital communication, especially when all situations can be uncertain at this time. 

Companies need to be digitally flexible when social distancing is so vital. They need to have processes and tools in place that allow all employees to communicate and carry out tasks efficiently. There are a lot of moving parts to think of, and if it’s not considered, people will be drowning in communications. 

Luckily, Google is offering free access to advanced Hangouts Meet with video conferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers. In addition, Zoom is offering a free 30-day trial of its platform so companies can easily transition to working remotely. 

Rapid Digital Transformation of Telehealth During Coronavirus

In the US, the demand for telehealth services spiked dramatically in the past few days, which overwhelmed many hospitals’ capabilities. Millions of Americans are seeking care by connecting with a doctor electronically in order to follow social distancing rules.

A Stanford Medicine survey found that 39% of US physicians used telemedicine in their practice. However, due to the rapid outbreaks, telehealth services and clinicians are experiencing a slam in volume digitally. 

Cleveland Clinic, an American academic medical center chain based in Ohio, encouraged patients to use a virtual service called Express Care Online for any COVID-19 related inquiries. It allows patients to be able to see a provider live via mobile or desktop.

However, recently that service was experiencing technical difficulties, which resulted in delays of more than an hour. 

In situations like this, Cleveland Clinic used social media to post about any vital information regarding Express Care Online, resources, and health tips. With over 110,000 followers on Instagram and two million followers on Twitter, you can imagine the exceptional influx of messages they receive from their community during a pandemic.

It’s important for telehealth services at this time to have a reliable community management tool to answer all questions their followers may have on social media. 

Looking ahead, it’s crucial for hospitals to undergo digital transformation for any means necessary to keep patients and communities safe.

Planet Fitness and Digital Transformation to Social 

There’s no denying that gyms and fitness centers felt the immediate impact when President Donald Trump called for all Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. Franchises like Planet Fitness had to act fast and restrategize their marketing around social media

In a matter of days after the announcement, Planet Fitness, an American franchiser for years with over 1,800 fitness clubs throughout the US, hosted free exercise classes via Facebook Live, which turned into a massive hit for people stuck at home. 

According to Socialbakers data, that follows an overall trend that shows Live videos garnering by far the most median post interactions of organic content on the platform.

Just over the weekend, Planet Fitness collaborated with New England Patriots’ Wide Receiver Julian Edelman to personally host a 20-min virtual class. And the turnout? More than 2,000 people clicked “interested” within the same day. 

Jeremy Tucker, CMO of Planet Fitness, said in an interview with USA Today that home workouts “will offer tools to combat stress, while providing motivation and inspiration sure to keep us all physically and mentally fit.”

Having a strong brand presence on social media was a massive recovery for Planet Fitness.

Fitness is one industry that, perhaps surprisingly, was setup pretty well to adapt to digital transformation. Even though physical gym memberships are a big part of revenue, many brands already offered online classes that they just needed to ramp up in order to meet demand, and companies that sell gym equipment have done very well as people in self-isolations seek ways to keep fit.

As a result, the percentage of effort that gyms and fitness centers put into aiding home workouts will certainly remain higher than it had been before the pandemic. However, outside of those who purchased Peloton bikes or who have full weight sets in their garage, people are still going to want to escape the house for a good workout.

Budweiser’s Digital Transformation to Live E-Clubbing 

Consumption of liquor relies heavily on nightlife culture, and shutdowns have been a real challenge for businesses trying to stay afloat. But more importantly, the nightlife culture plays a significant part in most people’s lives to stay socially connected.

Jan Craps, CEO and Co-Chair at Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, discussed in a McKinsey & Company interview that one of their biggest challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak in China was to shift to in-home, ecommerce, omni-channel, and social commerce quickly.

To manage the repercussions of nightlife and restaurant closures in China, Budweiser participated in a dynamic project with the Chinese ecommerce giant and French liqueur brand Remy Cointreau to create a live online experience while people shopped on They reinvented the clubbing scene by live-streaming it to people’s living rooms and delivering them alcohol.

Jack Chen, general manager of the liquors business at FMCG, said in an interview that they “wanted to use JD’s live stream platform to do some innovative live shows to bring more fun to customers who come to JD to shop during this time. Consumption of liquor relies heavily on offline scenarios, such as gift-giving, friends gathering, and bars and clubs. Since all of these scenarios were impacted during the epidemic, we wanted to create an online scenario to encourage customers to shop for liquor.”

Digital transformation is about reinventing the customer experience. And the link between the clubbing industry and the alcohol industry shows that the same experiences can be recreated on an online platform.

Companies can also recreate live online experiences with Facebook, IGTV, or TikTok to keep people connected.

Digital Transformation of Delivery Drones

One of the challenges for the ecommerce industry is to limit human contact. Companies like Walmart, Amazon, UPS, and Domino’s Pizza have been testing drones to cut delivery costs for essentials, medicine, and food.

According to eMarketer, we will see an increase in 24,900 of enterprise drone shipments for retail this year, with a projection of 122,000 by 2023.

Vulnerable people who are quarantined or sick can rely on delivery drones to retrieve all the essentials they need without possibly infecting the deliverer. And while that’s a major concern right now during the pandemic, this will remain as an increased option for deliveries as a way to save money on labor or to redirect those employees to other areas.

The Takeaway

There is no question that this pandemic will change the way business is done.

For some companies that were already digitally agile, there will be small adaptations or increased efforts in areas that were already a focus. For others that survive, it will fundamentally transform what business as usual looks like.

In the long-term, we will see huge shifts in industries and working dynamics. According to a Gartner survey of 317 CFOs, 74% said they will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently work remote post-COVID-19.

A great number of CFOs have realized the cost effectiveness of employees working remotely and how it will play an essential role in new operational dynamics after COVID-19. 

Keep in mind that digital transformation can be a difficult transition for some businesses. With the right communication, tools, and leadership, you can take your first steps in digital transformation today. As digital transformation and innovations emerge more rapidly, industries are going to be more connected than ever. Find out more about how brands are helping during a crisis.

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