COVID-19: A new wave of digital disruption or a new normal?

by Rowland

Published on
July 13, 2020

COVID-19 is transforming businesses at a rapid pace. Not only has it contracted the transformation process, but it has firmly placed organisations into two categories — those who have been dragged into the adoption of a more digital approach kicking and screaming, and those who have welcomed digitisation and innovation with open arms.

As a result, some businesses have had their market share challenged by COVID-19 innovators, while others have been the innovators themselves and pivoted to either transform their existing business or create a new service line. Some are using digital to do more with less and to push the boundaries of what online marketing can deliver as economic conditions force budget constraints.

So, what’s left to disrupt?

In our second online forum designed for Public Affairs and Communication professionals, our esteemed panellists dive into the world of digital innovation and its impact on market share, corporate bottom lines and organisational culture.

Joining the discussion were:

  • Michelle Barry — Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, ERM Power
  • Nev Conway — Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Melissa Kaplan — Technical Architect, NFP Microsoft Technology Centre in Sydney
  • Rob Lovegrove — Head of Digital and Data, Rowland

We put forward the following question to our panellists — how has your organisation or sector been disrupted or enhanced as a result of COVID-19 digital innovation?

While the responses varied between each organisation and sector (see highlights from each panellist at the end of this blog), some common themes emerged:

  • Digital has taken over, and it works — technology has emerged as the saving grace for many organisations during the pandemic, and has proven effective in connecting businesses with their audiences and keeping employees in touch with each other.
  • A willingness to innovate is crucial — an organisation’s culture can be the difference between the successful adoption of technology, and hundreds of thousands of investment dollars going down the drain.
  • Data is the new black — businesses previously inexperienced in the use of data in decision-making are beginning to realise the true value analytics and insights can bring to the table.

See the video below for the full answers to this question, as well as responses to — does digital give you a larger reach on a smaller budget, and is there a trade-off between traditional media, online and face-to-face?

Webinar: Getting ahead of the curve – The pandemic that normalised digital disruption from Rowland. on Vimeo. 

Short on time? We’ve summarised even more from the video here:

Michelle Barry — Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, ERM Power

The tracking and analysing technology that sits alongside our services has produced a rich information source, allowing us to connect with our customers like never before, helping them manage their energy usage and make better decisions through access to data.

Nev Conway — Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Royal Flying Doctor Service

It’s important that brand reputation and trust is there when transitioning a traditional service to a digital platform, such as tele-health — the trust we have built up with the communities we’ve served over generations has been vital in our innovation journey.

Melissa Kaplan — Technical Architect, NFP Microsoft Technology Centre in Sydney

Culture is the key to any digital transformation. While the technology you’re seeking to implement might be incredible, there needs to be a culture of willingness to transform to ensure organisational success in the digital space.

Rob Lovegrove — Head of Digital and Data, Rowland

By cementing internal habits around innovative concepts like hackathons and familiarising ourselves with how communication has already begun to change from traditional engagement through physical touchpoints and events, we’re forging the way for more robust conversations with clients across a range of industries and sectors on the future of contactless communication.

If you have a topic for a future Corporate Affairs Discussion hosted by Rowland, please get in touch.

Missed Rowland’s last Corporate Affairs conversation on the Corporate Affairs function during a global pandemic? Click here.