We are living in a digital era where every aspect of our personal and professional lives are guided by advanced technology. Be it our Smartphones that have enabled access to a multitude of essential and recreational services, to our financial transactions on banking, mutual funds, credit, stock markets, insurance or any other platforms, to big purchases / investments in real estate, and luxury cars, technology is at the helm of bringing the world closer. Consumer decisions are no longer a simple transaction between the buyer and the seller. With the emergence of social media and the role it plays in decision making, now there are several levels and layers of stakeholders who play a key role in influencing decisions.
Digital Culture of the Corporate World
While the world was enroute to becoming digitally savvy, the pandemic of Covid-19 clearly accelerated the pace. Corporates across sectors were catapulted to adopt and build technology in order to stay relevant in the minds of its customers. It became amply clear that digital models that were emerging or had just emerged were strengthened as they were quickly becoming a preferred choice for customers compared to the traditional models. Millennials and the gig economy were dependant on such evolved services even pre-pandemic. The pandemic reinforced the superiority of digital services, even for the older generations. Corporates could no longer just offer products or services, enhanced with technology. They now had to fully immerse in the digital culture across all its functions – operations, sales, marketing, finance, HR and communications, among others.
Digital evolution of Internal Communication
The pandemic saw the emergence of remote working. With the concept of social distancing to break the chain of the virus, employees had to start operating from their homes, instead of erstwhile offices. This is a common style of working for the gig economy and freelancers, however, conglomerates as well as smaller businesses faced multiple challenges in adapting to this ‘new normal’. Needless to say, technology and regular internal communication played an imperative role in ensuring a seamless work environment at the disruptive time of the pandemic. There is a tendency for employees to feel lost or even demotivated in the absence of a traditional work space. In such times, effective internal communication allows managers to be constantly engaged and show empathy, without being overwhelming. Regular updates, memos and engaging sessions on Zoom / Google Hangout / Microsoft Teams / other internal software with the senior management will keep all the employees abreast of all developments and avoid grapevines that could be potentially damaging, like layoffs or paycuts.
Stay connected, stay relevant
If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain -
This age old phrase was unfortunately reversed during the pandemic! Social distancing meant consumers would no longer be going to physical locations for any of their necessities, instead corporates now had the onus of bringing the entire bouquet of its products and services to the consumers’ and potential consumers’ homes. Thus, came the increasing importance of imbibing the social and digital media culture in the new-age corporates’ DNA. In the times of the pandemic, corporates had to amplify their presence on social media and curate relevant content that would create a brand recall and not get lost in the sea of messaging by all corporates. Many corporates started leveraging influencers and microinfluencers to endorse its products and services in a bid to gain credibility in the minds of its current and potential customers. Social media is a two-way street and being present on it could also mean averting crisis that may arise due to the multi-way communication it facilitates among all stakeholders. Maintaining and building the brand reputation through PR has become relevant like never before, since every single audience on social media could impact a consumer’s decision, both positively and adversely. Brands need to ensure establishing direct, regular and an open line of communication with its target audience. Thanks to social media, brands have become better listeners and are quick on their feet with customised solutions in order to enrich customer experience.
In a nutshell..
It is evident that the digital culture adopted by brands is here to stay and if the brand wants to continue its association with its stakeholders, it has to completely adopt this culture in both its internal and external communications. In the age of availability of plethora of news and information at the click of a button, brands must constantly evolve and establish its relevance among both its internal and external stakeholders through targeted communication. The concept of Virtual Reality has overtaken traditional reality which required a physical presence. Evolution to the digital culture has ensured that brands now have the power to transcend boundaries, establish its presence, reinforce its messaging and values, and most importantly, gain the loyalty of employees, customers and other stakeholders, like never before.