What’s Next? The ‘Next Normal’

What’s Next? The ‘Next Normal’

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Dear Reader,

Hi, It’s Ann Marie again and I have a big question for you (and myself): What’s Your “What’s Next”?

Over the past couple of years I have asked myself that question (about a 112,345 times) and then finally 9 months ago, answered.  You see, I am an old gal.  I don’t feel that way, dress that way, think that way, or even as some would say, I don’t look that way BUT on paper, especially in the eyes of the corporate world, I am old.  Old enough for corporations to ask, given the 20 something or the 50 something candidate, which one makes the most sense in terms of investment?  

I started my career when there were only 3 networks and an independent or maybe two in the market if you worked in the top 10.  The newspaper was king and you could smoke at your desk.  I have watched the incredible transformation of the media world, inch by inch.  Molding my career into the “what’s next” for the past 30 years.  You see if you want to be relevant and at the top of your game, it’s a MUST.  

For the past couple of years, I have been watching trends. I am a huge research junkie.  I read about 20 trades a day.  For me, watching those trends, listening to the chatter about the “new pipelines”, and products especially in the Media world, I got my answer.  DIGITAL.  The world, my media world, as I know it, is going all digital.

To be clear, I never in my wildest dreams thought it would happen so quickly.  My plan was to get in with a Digital firm that I could learn from, grow, and build the business.  One where I could position myself in front of the curve, so when it happens, the Digital transformation, I would be ahead of my peers (and the kids), at the top of my game, and cruising down the backside of that curve into retirement. Fat and Happy.

This was not an easy decision and one that was not made without sacrifice.  On every level, security, comfort, belonging, esteem.  You name it, it was a risk.  A big one.  But a risk I was willing to make because I believed that much in the trends, what was happening around me AND myself.

So, I made the move and immersed myself in a true digital agency, and boy was this new world challenging.  It required a new skillset (actually several) and some retooling of my traditional media habits.  But, this is what I signed up for, I had mentally prepared myself for that.  What I didn’t expect to learn was that this was a much better way for clients/brands and the velocity of change to these methods would be so rapid.  I just didn’t realize how rapid.  

Fast forward to COVID-19.  Wow, there is a lot to unpack here.  But the one thing I will pull out of my bag is this:  WE ARE HERE.  AT THE “WHAT’S NEXT”.  NOW. 

 I hear the phrase “new normal” on a daily basis.  We are not moving into a “new normal”.  WE ARE HERE.  NOW.  We are IN the “NEXT NORMAL”.  We’re here.  Brands, companies, advertisers are scrambling and stumbling over the “new normal” because they didn’t foresee that it was on the way or they did and were slowly making the move to the spot where they could pivot.  There was no preparation for the “What’s Next” that was barreling down the road at 90 mph, upending our world in just six short, unbelievable, incomprehensible weeks.  But here we are, NEXT NORMAL.  Wow.  Just WOW.

So what about you? What’s your “What’s next?”.  

Here are a few thoughts started that I think will assist with the ‘Next Normal’:

  1. Have you reevaluated how your consumers are interacting with you now? Which channels appear to be the most effective?
  2. Are you communicating with your consumers the way that they are communicating with you? E.g. If email is their preferred channel, are you using email to speak with them? Or are you calling them on the phone?
  3. If you were replaced tomorrow what do you think the new person in your position would do/change? Are you making these changes? 

Whatever your answers are, regardless of how crazy it sounded six weeks ago, DO IT.  DO IT NOW.  Don’t be afraid, take the risk, lean into the “Next Normal” and if I can help or be a sounding board, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am rooting for you.  In fact, I am your biggest fan!