2020 was the year of the pivot – a word I’d like to retire in 2021. We all learned very quickly how to adapt and shift gears at a rapid pace and high frequency. And while 2020 really challenged us all to get creative, it left a lot of work that might happen in a normal year in the dust. Many brands had goals they never got to, while others had to scale new initiatives way back. With a positive outlook on a vaccine, 2021 is sailing in with a glimmer of hope.
Normally around this time of year, we’d be scheduling long meetings with many of our clients to discuss plans for the upcoming year. That’s because strategic communications should be well thought out and support business goals. Though the sessions may look a little different this year, planning ahead is still very important. As we turn the bend, here are a few tips to help guide your planning efforts:
- Be reflective: I’m sure there were a lot of great ideas you and your team had last year that never made it to fruition. This is a great time to dust those off and see if there is a possibility of reviving, expanding or modifying them. You may need to look at them with a new eye, but don’t let a good idea go wasted.
- Be realistic: Think through how changes in the pandemic outlook will affect your business. For instance, if there is an unexpected spike in numbers and restrictions are imposed, how might you need to shift? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and be prepared no matter what level of “lockdown” we’re in.
- Be flexible: One of the best things you can do is build purposeful space into your schedule. Depending on the state of the world, timing could become difficult for a new initiative. You may need to shift a few weeks back – or perhaps a few weeks forward. Keep in mind it’s likely later in 2021 when the broader population will have access to the vaccine and even then, it’s not likely we’re going to be back to “normal” right away.
- Be mindful: While we hope to be moving in a positive direction to defeat the coronavirus, we’re not out of the woods yet. And the effects of the pandemic will likely be felt by consumers for years – if not longer. Businesses that are conscious of how the pandemic is affecting the physical, mental and social health of consumers are going to fare much better than those that pretend nothing has changed.
- Be hopeful: If there’s one thing we all need right now, it’s hope. I would love to see positivity in messaging a trend in 2021. Though times are tough, we still need to dream – and dream big. Have a few stretch goals to keep your eye on the big picture. And give yourself grace if they don’t come to fruition.
We’re all facing the next year with uncertainty but having a guide – even a loose one – will help us tackle goals and stay on track. In the meantime, I hope you find some normalcy and loveliness this holiday season – whatever that may look like for you. I know I’m looking forward to a little cheer as we get ready for what I’m hoping will be a much brighter 2021!