Coronavirus: how to create strategy and plan for imminent needs

In an unpredictable world, companies need to map out alternative futures in order to be prepared for whatever may come and understand how they can impact future developments. Scenario analysis is a method that allows companies to do just that. In addition to planning for the future, the current situation requires quick responses to the more immediate needs. We are are here to help.

In the case of the coronavirus, the global economy looks at three possible scenarios:

  1.  V-shaped: A rapid slowdown followed by a rapid recovery. According to the Harvard Business Review, historically all virus-caused recessions have followed this scenario, and this remains the hope this time around as well. It would entail the world economy struggling for a few months but a return to a growth trajectory by the summer.
  2. U-shaped:A sluggish recovery, where production and supply chains have been disturbed so much that the recovery will be slow as it takes time for the world to get back on track. Many companies may have set up new production sites and supply chains that will take time to become fully operational and effective. In this scenario, downturn would last for the rest of the year and global economy would see growth only in 2021.
  3. L-shaped:Lasting trouble. The economy will crash and enter a prolonged recession. COVID-19 alone won’t be enough to cause this scenario, but other factors such as a slowdown in China, the European refugee crisis, and new trade wars may coincide with the epidemic and create this worst-case-scenario.

UPDATED ON 17.3.: A V-shaped recovery is looking increasingly unlikely. Right now it looks like we are headed to the U-territory and all companies should have their immediate plans ready for internal and external communications, new modes of working, and disruptions in production and sales. A perfect storm leading to a L-shaped curve is also possible.  However, as the situation changes quickly, companies should have contingency plans ready for all the scenarios.

Scenario workshops: Plan your strategy, sales, and marketing

Nordic West Office offers tailored workshops that get a company started on the scenario method and developing their own scenarios in a way that allows the company to both plan for the current crisis as well as for what happens once the crisis is over and keep using the method internally for years to come. In the workshop we will dive into the latest developments and predictions for the epidemic on a global scale, the impact it might have on the Finnish economy, and on measures each company can and should take to be prepared for all possibilities.

Key skills to take home: Scenario methodology, out-of-the-box thinking, and tools to devise a strategy for your company for alternative, possible futures.

Immediate contingency planning for communications and marketing professionals

The uncertainties caused by the coronavirus take a toll on all kinds of professionals. For marketing and communications specialists the effect comes in the form of constant need for timely communication, events being cancelled, meetings and projects being postponed, and employees wondering whether their companies are over- or under-reacting.

The situation challenges us not only to find balanced viewpoints and modes of communication, but also to create new solutions, strategies and ways of working. What starts as an issue of health, may eventually become a cultural transformation.

  • Virtual collaboration and leadership. There may be a need to quickly develop capabilities for collaborating and leading virtually. We can support your employees in mastering virtual ways of working, be it in managing engaging sales meetings with customers online, leading and creating trust virtually, or in facilitating full scale interactive virtual workshops.
  • Communications. As uncertainties increase, so does the need to define our most crucial key stakeholders and our message to them. How do we prevent the situation from escalating to a full-blown reputation crisis via communications? How do we take into account both external and internal points of view?
  • Crisis communications capabilities. What if worse comes to worse? What could constitute a coronavirus-triggered crisis for your organization? Are the appropriate processes and responsibilities in place?
  • EU and US presence. Our teams in Brussels and Washington, D.C., stand ready to support you in multiple ways if there is a need to reorganize your presence, attendance and operations in Europe and the United States. In addition to operational assistance locally, our senior advisors can represent you at stakeholder events and appearances where physical presence adds value and impact, and provide business consultancy for you to adapt to changed circumstances. They also follow and report on the political response to the crisis.
  • Investor relations. Best practice and transparency expectations for global or Nordic IR communication regarding the coronavirus and how to consider the epidemic in the communication around your AGM and other investor events. Stress test of your equity story related to unexpected events that are challenging to predict and have major implications on the stock exchange and the economy.
  • Political risk analysis: How will the coronavirus impact the political situation, steering and the regulatory environment? How will it impact the government’s agenda and priorities? Is there a risk of a spillover effect to other decision-making processes and budgeting? How to prepare for different scenarios?
  • Marketing, events and sales. As a precautionary measure, trade fairs, consumer and B2B events are being cancelled. What alternative strategies are there for creating marketing and sales impact? What new tools for showcasing, networking and driving sales are emerging or could be created?
  • Need more hands? We can help with daily communications needs, such as updating your website to contain the latest information in an evolving situation, keep up your social media presence and modify channels, and help creating and distributing content for employees, customers and other stakeholders.

We offer our expert advisors’ guidance, planning tools and help for navigating this tricky situation. Even though many of us are working remotely, our consultations can always be arranged. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with the needs most relevant to you.

The recommended person to contact is always your own most trusted Milttonee.

But if in doubt, please contact:

Maria Laatio, Account Director, Senior Advisor, Miltton
maria.laatio(a)miltton.fi, +358 40 770 5954