Post Corona: What will really be the "New Normal"?

There's no question, that the Corona crisis has rapidly changed the way we live, work and do business. The augurs are now overflowing with forecasts about which changes will become the "new normal". For companies, this question has enormous implications, because the correct assessment of medium- and long-term developments in the post-Corona era will determine what course is set or even what radical changes are required in the product range or business model in order to remain sustainable. Even though visionaries and innovators will be more in demand now than ever before, forecasts made too quickly should be treated with caution. We can assume that the most certain "new normal" will be uncertainty. The exciting question is how to identify and exploit opportunities in an agile manner nonetheless, and how to build up enough resilience to survive in the long term in scenarios and crises that are likely to change with increasing frequency.

Sustainably growing online activities?

In the meantime, initial studies have begun to look at how people's behavior and attitudes have changed, and to what extent this will be lasting. For example, the MaFo institute GlobalWebindex, with which our international agency network Worldwide Partners cooperates, has already conducted online studies in 17 countries and three waves in March/April. A total of 15,000 respondents between the ages of 16 and 64 were surveyed. They were asked about their media usage behavior, lifestyle and consumer behavior ( Of particular interest is the comparison between self-assessed future changes in behavior, actual changes and well-founded forecasts. One thing should be anticipated from the results: Yes, some things have changed. But it is still far too early to reliably forecast sustainable and significant trends. There will likely be a lot of "back to old normal," even if Corona will act as an accelerator in some areas. Here are just a few examples to support this view:

Online Purchasing: across all surveyed countries, there was an 8% increase in the online shopper base during the March/April pandemic period. That's a lot, but not a true landslide. At the moment, a likely sustained growth in online shoppers of 3% on average is emerging for the post-pandemic period. Trend and growth are there, but rather evolutionary and moderate.

Media usage: An often-cited indicator of increased digital entertainment and online activity is streaming. Here, there was a 10% expansion of the user base internationally. In the public perception or self-assessment, the use of these offerings appears to be significantly greater. There are also significant differences within the age groups, which do not point to a sustainable revolution. Overall, a probable sustainable growth in the user base of a manageable 2% is emerging for the immediate post-pandemic period. Virtually all web-based leisure activities will develop at this low single-digit level.

Lifestyle: The rediscovery of "home cooking" is also often cited as an indicator of significantly changed behavior. The reality: After a short time, the hype had faded, especially among the people aged up to 24 years, and in wave 2 there was only a small increase among the 55-64 year-olds. The realistic forecast is for sustained growth of 9% among home cooks. This won't lead to a crisis in the restaurant industry or in the delivery touts of this world either, but it may create opportunities for interesting new offerings in this segment, which could potentially emerge as one of the winners out of this crisis.

Brand Purpose - Brands with stance

Stance towards companies and brands: another new magic word - "Brand Purpose". Many surveys show that in times of pandemic, consumers are paying much closer and more intense attention to how companies and brands behave, and whether they present themselves as valuable providers of information and help. But is this more than just a snapshot? Isn't it more likely that pre-Corona issues like the environment and climate will soon be higher in importance again, and that Brand Purpose will have to align itself with these long-term issues over which pre-pandemic pressure has grown tremendously? One may assume that Corona will fundamentally increase the basic sensitivity among people here and that the pressure for change will remain high. Those who remain in old positions will not go into the future as winners.

While there is no reason to panic about one's own realignment or transformation, and a healthy skepticism about widespread forecasts is advisable, one should nevertheless by no means wait too long to switch into future mode right now. It is important to start analyzing the situation immediately and to quickly identify new opportunities. Many competitors are already making inroads. The sustainable challenger will be the competition, not the virus. Digitization and digital transformation will clearly play a major role in the New Normal. Seen in this light, Corona will also be an impetus here to shift up a gear and put new ideas and our own visions for innovative and future-proof offerings and processes on the agenda. The digital experiences of companies in the pandemic will, according to the current state of opinion and mood in the companies, lead to the fact that our indirect future and our way of working and doing business will quickly become very hybrid, digital and personal, New and Old Normal, definitely with more digital than before.

Current central questions are therefore among others: How do I plan in times of Corona and home office? How do I get back to more business in the short term under difficult conditions? How do I set the course for the future now? A good answer offers our Business Creator, a virtual or hybrid planning tool in workshop format, for short-term creative business ideas / measures or for long-term marketing planning, spatially unbound, nationally and internationally applicable. We are happy to help you!

Marco Ludwig

Geschäftsführer der Wächter & Wächter Werbeagentur München, einer Tochter der Wächter & Wächter Worldwide Partners.