Corona, business and you – what’s next?
Easier said than done perhaps, but this too shall pass. Every death is a tragedy, but from a historical perspective this is not a catastrophic event. Even as pandemics go, the so-called Hong-Kong flu of 1968 killed around 1 million people and so far, Covid-19 has a toll of 200 000. And since 1968, the world population has more than doubled. Even worse was the 1957-1958 influenza that claimed between 1 and 4 million people on a world population just a third of ours.
The economy is more resilient than most people believe. 1957 sent the Dow Jones Index down 15% in six months, but it recovered the second half thereafter. U.S. GDP fell two quarters in a row but recovered over the next two. In 1968, around 100,000 died in the United States alone. There was a decline in the stock market for 18 months – but this was also because of setbacks in Vietnam and the public opinion on that war. Still, their GDP only declined two quarters and recovered in two after that.
“But,” some say, “this is more of an economic crisis than a pandemic crisis.”
Well, look at these current crises:
1986 – “Black Monday” drop of 22% on the stock market, took one year to recover. Still, the world economy grew that year by 3.6%.
The dot-com bubble meant that the value of the tech stocks on NASDAQ in 1999 first climbed and then plummeted, only to recover at the 1999 level five years later. Bad times for tech, but the world economy grew some 10-15% from 1999 to 2004.
In fact, the only crisis in modern history that gave a world recession was after the financial crisis in 2008. 2009 had a -1.68% decline in global GDP, but 2010 took it back and then some with over 4% growth.
As I write this, Dow Jones has recovered about half its loss, EuroSTOXX 50 has turned around, Shanghai is down only 8% year to date – they recovered from the Chinese outbreak but got a second hit because of the other outbreaks globally.
My point is, we will get through this. The recovery will be “V”-shaped and fast, worst case a “W” where it is a second wave due to falling demand. But it will recover, and I bet more quickly than people generally seem to think.
It is heartening to see partners and other companies around us change their production toward stuff that is needed in healthcare and elsewhere to combat Covid-19. You might have read this in our press release, but Polygiene exists because of SARS. Back in 2004, the Swedish chemical company Perstorp came up with new solutions to protecting surfaces against viruses and that led to the creation of Polygiene. We revisited the learnings from SARS, Bird flu, Influenza and Hepatitis. And going through necessary techniques, skills, methods, and processes needed, we launched the antiviral treatment technology brand ViralOff®.
There are two crucial points to ViralOff. First, we made it to work toward a standard method of testing. This is important as it ensures our partners can work professionally and make the appropriate product claims. The last thing the world needs now is a “wild west” of wild non-testable claims.
The second reason is that we should apply ViralOff where the antiviral properties are relevant, and biostatic and other solutions where it is about odor control and optimizing sustainability. Keep it apart.
Don’t forget core business
Many companies come to dead stops because “there’s no demand”. I think this is often misunderstood. Look at fashion and sportswear for instance. Who buys clothes and sports/outdoor clothes when you are not allowed to go outside?
Well, one-third of the world population that is on lockdown right now. Have you heard about the famous experiment on babies who were allowed to play with whatever toys they wanted – but after a while discovered that one certain toy was behind a glass wall? When they discovered this, they became completely obsessed with the very one thing they were not allowed to play with. I think socialization, partying, dining out, hiking, collective sports – all could well come back like a slingshot once we are over this.
What are people going to wear when it is suddenly OK to come out?
Now is the time when marketing activities are cheaper than usual and has an audience that has more time than ever to listen to you. If there ever was a good time for brand building it is now. And you don’t have to talk Corona unless you want to. People want to dream ahead, and I think just dreaming of cocktails with friends in a new dress now rate higher than ever.
Odor control stays fresh
I am urging you to remember your core business and work on it. We remind ourselves to do this as well. As people are confined to their homes, working from home in suspiciously smelling sweatpants worn for days on end, you should sell them a pair that stays fresh. Why not do that together with us?
Hope you enjoyed this message of hope from us at Polygiene. Did I miss something in the outlook? Is there something you want me to cover in upcoming updates?
Let me know!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mats Georgson, CMO at Polygiene. has a PhD in Marketing Communication from the University of Connecticut and has been a (part-time) assistant professor at the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at the Stockholm University for 10 years. In his previous career he had a position as Global Brand Director for Sony Ericsson and was responsible for the brand project Bluetooth and Sony Ericsson’s brand strategy. He is also co-author of the leading academic textbook for branding: Strategic Brand Management: A European Perspective (Keller, Apéria, Georgson) and has run a successful branding consulting company since 2003. He is a popular public speaker on the subject of branding in different segments and industries.