The scenario we have been living with in the last year, which few could have considered in their strategic planning, surprised companies and forced them to adapt to ensure their survival. To what extent does Communication play a role in this transformation and how is it being considered by companies and integrated into a global business strategy, facing current and future challenges?
As long-term planning was not possible, management had to think in a different way. Even organizations with a robust structure felt the need for learning, flexibility and adaptation. The importance of the strategic vision will remain, but action plans promise to vary according to specific challenges.
There is an awareness that companies that continue to invest in innovation will come out of this situation better prepared. The automation of processes and the implementation of new business models, which allow an increase in productivity and growth in multiple channels, also seem to be some of the paths to be followed by companies.
It appears that few companies are awake and aware of the benefits of giving space so that Communication, understood in a broad sense and that is not limited to product/service communication, can contribute to the competitiveness of organizations. This should assume a strategic, more comprehensive and transversal role, and form the basis of the way the company positions itself in the market.
With the restrictions imposed on the movement of people, proximity to the customer becomes a challenge, as most of the contact points for establishing relationships and building trust seem to have disappeared. Knowing that Communication must be relational, personalized, genuine and sustained in proximity, companies had to reinvent themselves in different relationship formats to which they were not used.
The specific challenges brought about by the present crisis have introduced a deep digitalization in business activity. This technological boost would already be on the horizon of many organizations, but it has now emerged with increased urgency and speed of implementation and promises to leave behind those who do not make an effort in this regard. The search for alternatives for the acquisition of products and services fostered a consumer who seeks innovation and who yearns for more disruptive and efficient solutions.
Thus, ways are sought to lessen the impact and consequences of the crisis, something in which the digital plays a central role. This will be the means to try to maintain an active contact with customers, partners and suppliers. We are in a transition phase and the opportunity is to complement the physical with the digital.
Communication is now emerging as a function with growing importance, assuming a new priority position in the strategic thinking of several companies. Considered as the “voice” of brands, Communication is, at a time when the relationship between organizations and their stakeholders is even more important, an anchor to inspire confidence and undertake the transition to a post-pandemic world.
Ana Raposo, professor at Escola Superior de Comunicação Social, and Marta Gonçalves, Managing Partner at SayU Consulting