New ways of working can have lasting benefits.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to every business, including Adobe. We’re sharing the lessons we’ve  learned — like the need for real-time customer insights — in this six-part series.

Digital first — it’s not just essential, it’s beneficial

Before COVID-19, the majority of business was done in person — from closing deals to dining out. The digital experience, while important to the customer journey, was often a companion to the in-person experience — not the main event.


Oh, how times have changed. Now, in a time when face-to-face transactions can’t happen, we have concrete evidence that the digital experience has become absolutely essential.

“You have to be nimble, and not just go to the way you used to do things. Find what’s right for the moment, what’s right for the user right now.”


Sergio Claudio

Senior Director Adobe.com Enterprise, Adobe

Christopher Parkin headshot

Change is hard, but it can also be good

Companies with a digital foundation in place have been able to move swiftly to new ways of working. But even those that weren’t as prepared are finding ways to adapt — some temporarily, while others are seeing the benefits of making their new ways permanent. 


Even as a digital transformation company, we had to make changes due to COVID-19. When faced with the realities of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, we had to figure out how to move our Adobe Summit online — yet give our customers everything they love about a live experience, such as Q&A sessions, and the networking and face time with speakers, peers, evangelists, and experts. 


In a mere three weeks, we dug in, looked at potential new technologies to use, and worked very long hours to transition this huge, in-person live event in Las Vegas to be entirely virtual with numerous keynote presentations and 100+ breakout sessions. All of which were filmed from the presenter’s living rooms. But like all things done in a short amount of time, we ran into challenges. 


“We quickly realized that producing the same high-quality videos we always do would be impossible, given the current situation,” says Sergio Claudio, senior director of Adobe.com enterprise at Adobe. “And doing them live added all kinds of risks, like interruptions or running too long.” So, we pivoted to pre-recorded videos, which we could edit. There was also another benefit to pre-recording the videos — we could translate them into other languages, including Japanese, French, and German. For questions and chat, we used a combination of a live handoff and AI. 


We also had to consider how people would consume the content. We determined flexibility was key. Rather than long presentations, we created shorter videos they could watch at their convenience, with chapters so they could jump to the content they needed most. 


We learned a lot in the process. “By adapting the presentations to be virtual and free to everyone, the event was instantly more accessible to more people,” says Claudio. “Yet we also learned that people want live presentations and interactivity. So, we’re looking at a hybrid approach for our next event.”

“By adapting the presentations to be virtual and free to everyone, the event was instantly more accessible to more people.”


Sergio Claudio

Senior Director Adobe.com Enterprise, Adobe

Christopher Parkin headshot

Find the positive in the midst of chaos

Families all across the globe are reeling from the challenges of schools closing down. And it’s not just families with younger students. In the U.S., students at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University were suddenly cut off from many of the design tools and resources they had on campus. While they were very accustomed to using digital tools, many felt they also needed the physical tools on campus. But they soon discovered just how much they could do online, and how the digital tools fed their creativity. “Having this experience and learning, along with our students, about how powerful Adobe Dimension and Adobe Stock can be, we have finally found a silver lining to moving our classes online this spring semester,” says Abby Guido, assistant professor of graphic and interactive design at Temple University.


Australia’s NSW Department of Education found that digital preparedness repeatedly pays off. During the devastating bushfires, they were able to push content to their 2,200 school websites and 1,400 Facebook pages notifying families about school closures. They used the same notification system for COVID-19.

How to make new ways of working work

With COVID-19 keeping so many people home, audio streaming service TuneIn found a way to deliver a personalized digital radio UX when people needed it most. TuneIn’s workforce was also working at home, so they had to adapt their workflows as well as the experiences they were delivering. Fortunately, they had moved to Adobe XD a year ago, and already were designing voice prototypes, wireframing, and collaborating with each other in-app. “We have the ability to share everything in the cloud and we have the ability to push our new designs to everybody as a team. That’s been a big advantage for us right now,” says Hongwei Huang, senior product designer at TuneIn.


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.  

Key takeaways:

Key takeaways

Make the digital experience the main event — not just an add-on. Find ways to re-create online what your customers love about in-person experiences.

Key takeaways

Invest in digital tools that will ease the transition to new ways of working and continue to benefit you down the road.

Key takeaways

Consider how your content will be consumed in times of remote working and more distraction. Keep it short and flexible.

Key takeaways

Streamline your workflows to enable collaboration and quick action, especially when your team can’t work together in person.

Key takeaways

Understand how the coronavirus has impacted different industries and regions.


Lesson 5

Lesson 5

Everything from your strategies to structure needs reexamining

Explore other lessons online

Read each of the six lessons for adapting and advancing during a pandemic.

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

How customer data and our field marketing team helped us quickly pivot our strategy. Plus, how NASCAR used digital tech to understand vast new audiences when they moved their races online.

Lesson 2: Agility is key when pivoting in a pandemic

How our crisis response team created new messaging and rolled it out in just a few weeks. And how medicine marketplace 1mg sent emails to 14 million users to clarify confusion about COVID-19.

Lesson 3: People need human connection, especially right now

How we stayed connected to our customers. Also, how Vitamix is using food to bring people together. And how theatre companies and orchestras are finding new ways to keep their audiences engaged.

Lesson 4: New ways of working can have lasting benefits

What we learned from moving Adobe Summit online in just three weeks. Also, how Australia’s NSW Department of Education is using what they learned from last year’s bush fires during COVID-19.

Lesson 5: Reexamine everything -- from strategy to structure and beyond

How we’re meeting the needs of our remote workforce. Also, what retailers everywhere are discovering. And how TSB Bank rethought their digital services and what they gained.

Lesson 6: We're not going back, so accelerate digital adoption now

How we’re using our online learning community could help our customers. And how COVID-19 became the proving grounds for the U.S. Census Bureau’s digital efforts.

Ebook cover - The Reinvention of Normal


Download the full playbook

Get the playbook as an eBook to explore all six lessons — with additional examples — in one place.