04 Mar Coronavirus outbreak, entropy and crisis management
Entropy is a thermodynamic quantity, commonly associated with “disorder” or “randomness”. It measures the degree of molecular freedom in a system. According to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: “in a thermally isolated system, the measure of entropy must always increase over time, until it reaches its maximum value”. In another words: until it reaches chaos. But what does it mean in practice? And how can we apply this concept to the current moment of coronavirus outbreak?
The argument may seem distant and out of place, especially from the perspective of fashion. But it can help us better understand how to face the challenges in a post-coronavirus economy. Crises can represent a strategic turning point for companies that manage to transform a difficult moment into a market opportunity. In many cities around the world, the coronavirus situation has already reached a chaotic status. Because of that, the fear experienced by these people, as well as their new demands, must be considered when the panic passes and the market heat up again. So now we can use the concept of entropy to talk about strategy and crisis management.
Be sensitive to consumers fragility and demands
The coronavirus crisis brought several questions and discussions about sustainability, environment and animal rights. In China, the country where the first case of contamination was registered, the searches related to nature protection had an exponential growth on WeChat since January. Another rising trend among the Chinese is to support the local economy.
The “buy Chinese” movement aims to stand for Chinese brands that have been affected by the crisis. This is something everybody should look carefully. Chinese spend more than $100 billion annually on international luxury goods and an increase in the country’s nationalism could shake the world economy. It is such a delicate period from different points of view, economic, social and humanitarian. However, having the ability to develop the right strategy to communicate your brand is the key to move forward.
How to start?
- Understand that times have changed and will change faster and faster
The way of doing business is always changing. Measuring success based only on economic growth is no longer a great strategy, whether in the short or medium term. Brands must pay attention to consumers’ demands and to the company’s role in society.
- Position yourself
If you are already sustainable, keep working on your brand image and let consumers know more about your eco-conscious position. But if the environment is not on your priority list yet, you should think about including it from now on.
- Keep employees informed
Make sure all your employees are aware of your sustainable practices to avoid inconsistences. For example, if you have physical stores, provide salespeople training about the brand positioning and what you do to be sustainable.
- Don’t forget social media
This is one of the most important channels of communication. They create an almost immediate interaction with consumers, allow you to target and attract your audience and easily track campaign results.