6 ways to adapt and advance your business during a pandemic

Digital transformation is foundational to all we do at Adobe, but adapting to life in a pandemic added a whole new set of challenges.

During the past few months, we’ve had to be extremely nimble and make changes across our organization like everyone else, and we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way.

By sharing our experiences and what we’ve learned so far—successes, hiccups, and all—along with other real-world examples of what businesses are doing, we hope to give you some ideas that will help you with your own organization’s journey as you manage day-to-day during the pandemic.

These aren’t best practices, because, let’s be real, we’re all learning as we go. But we hope that these six lessons we learned can help you understand ways to make your business more nimble and adaptable.

Lesson #1 Real-time customer insights are more essential than ever

Those organizations that were already set up for real-time customer insights when COVID-19 hit reaped the benefits. At Adobe, when the coronavirus started changing our daily lives, we were able to dig into our data, gain insights from our customer relationships, and pivot as quickly as possible. For example, we reimagined our Adobe Summit in-person event into an online experience in just 25 days, and we used data to prioritize the sessions and topics that were most popular at previous events and session registrations.

Go deeper into how we used real-time customer insights here.

Lesson #2 Agility is key when pivoting your communications in a pandemic

Once you understand how the coronavirus is impacting your customers, use this insight to adjust your communications. Agility is absolutely essential. The key is to pivot and scale quickly, and keep evolving as the situation changes to support the needs of employees, customers and communities. When the pandemic first hit in March, for example, our marketing and communications team at Adobe quickly responded to inspire and enable our communities.

Go deeper into how we acted fast to pivot our communications strategy here.

Lesson #3 People need human connection, especially right now

There are many ways you can build community in a time of social distancing. Focus on educational content that will really help your customers. Offer more value-added services. Bring critical innovation to those in need. At Adobe, our teams came together to publish as much valuable content as we could, specific to industries, to help organizations manage issues during the pandemic. Check out our COVID-19 support pages.

Go deeper into how we fostered human connection here.

Lesson #4 New ways of working can have lasting benefits

In a time when face-to-face transactions can’t happen, we have concrete evidence that the digital experience has become absolutely essential. Whether you’re moving to virtual events, supporting a workforce working remotely, or reinventing how you do business in a crisis, it’s about building relationships for both employees and customers. And creating long-term value for your efforts. We held a massive virtual Adobe Summit in March, and the team provided some key learnings in this article that may help your organization with its next event.

Go deeper into how we found a process that was right for the moment here.

Lesson #5 You have to reexamine everything, from your strategies to your structure

Before the pandemic, online sales accounted for just 17.8 percent of all retail sales. But new data from Adobe Digital Economy Index shows U.S. e-commerce jumped 49 percent in April 2020. In order to stay relevant, businesses large and small have to consider moving online or bridging the gap between physical and online strategies, like shifting their primary model to online ordering, curbside pickup, and home delivery. Read how some companies are thriving during COVID-19.

Go deeper into how we reexamined our strategy here.

Lesson #6 We’re not going back. Now is the time to accelerate digital adoption

If you haven’t already, now is the time to increase your online and mobile adoption, and to provide self-service for customers to get the information and products they need—especially when they can’t connect with you in person, or when your call centers are being overwhelmed. Cloud solutions that allow you to manage content, create web pages, target your audiences, and swiftly ramp up to meet spikes in traffic will allow you to pivot more quickly to meet changing demands. If your business was already digitally strong, this time is an opportunity to accelerate your digital presence and capabilities.

Go deeper into how we rethought our digital capabilities here.

Here at Adobe, we’ve had to adapt to COVID-19 challenges, from reinventing our annual 20,000-person Adobe Summit to be an online event, to rethinking all our messaging and how we connect with our customers and employees. Click here to download our playbook, “The reinvention of normal,” to learn more about how our company, and other industry leaders, shifted quickly to adapt to the global COVID-19 pandemic.