A politician once said, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." As all of us live this nightmare, waking up each day wishing all of this was just a bad dream, we are quickly reminded that this is our reality.
We are witnessing the best of humankind and a lot of the worst. Yes, there is exploitation and the new coined word of the month: "Corporate Pivoting." I used to like that word. I have used it myself in multiple conversations in past weeks but I am over it. Why? I will get into that later.
Companies, business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and consumers have been forced to quickly adapt or die. Yes, I said, "die," because Covid-19 isn’t just killing our friends, family, and unknown faces, but what this virus has done to our economy can be compared to a new definition of “Shock & Awe” like we have never seen. It's obvious now to all of us that consumer spending patterns and behaviors will change... maybe! However, at present, whole sectors of our economy that have been turned off will be affected for years, whether it’s a pizzeria owner or a Steve Wynn, adaptation is paramount. The assessment of how to save your company is forcing the ultimate wake up call. This is a good thing. Companies will learn to work leaner. As a result, we may see a reset in employee vigor and contribution to the success of a company they may have taken for granted for years. Could we witness a revolution in innovation? Maybe, just maybe, Americans now understand how the U.S. has "pivoted" and put countries like China in control of manufacturing crucial products over the years. In our quest for ever cheaper goods, we have turned a blind eye to the “WHAT IF” scenario and gone about our days in an economic delusional coma, consuming media narratives like manna from the heavens.
In recent weeks I have been part of several meetings with the Sera Labs team. We initially set out to be part of the solution by tapping into multiple international contacts in order to expedite PPE to hospitals and states in dire need. This is a positive, novel utilization of employee downtime and talents to help our fellow Americans while simply covering our general and administrative expenses during the crisis.
I have personally been on the front lines of the PPE quest and have witnessed the ugliness and exploitation of product offerings that resemble a drug deal more than a fair transaction with good business fundamentals. This, of course, has nothing to do with the ability to adapt and the American entrepreneurial spirit. China has deliberately interrupted the flow of goods to the United States, PPE "day traders" have entered the space to make a quick buck, and importers are selling product to the highest bidder. To all the newly crowned multi-millionaires sipping their latte while driving that new Ferrari when this is all over, I wish you well.
My spirits, however, are lifted every time I see corporate initiatives and collaboration with federal representatives to expedite product into the U.S. and get PPE into the right hands. Ultimately, the system will flush out bad actors, and those companies that learn to adapt to our new world order post Cover-19 will survive. Hopefully our pivoting days are short-lived, and we can move on to adapting. The question that remains is: how long can we hold out? Will the American consumer get the message? I know good will come from this and I believe in this country - I know you do, too.
About the writer:
John Cammarano is currently lead brand strategist for Sera Labs Inc. and has developed over a dozen consumer branded products throughout his career spanning over 25 years resulting in over 2 Billion dollars at retail.