Strategic Planning? Really? Strategic Planning?!? During the COVID-19 pandemic some organizations are simply trying to survive. But for many, many organizations there will be life after COVID-19 and with what appears to be significant light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, it is time to look to the future.

There are five strategic considerations that companies should be addressing today so they are not caught flat-footed when the world returns to some sort of normalcy. The fact of the matter is that some organizations are already behind the eight ball. As the economy picks back up and demand for products and services increase, some have managed their supply chain poorly. Some have not rehired furloughed employees quickly enough. And some have left their teams unequipped emotionally to handle a rapid ramping up after a trying year-and-a-half of uncertainty. Here are five strategic considerations companies need to begin addressing today.

1. Provide a focus on vision

For the past year, most companies have had to focus on one thing: How to survive in a pandemic world. It is time to get back to your vision and to remind your team, your stakeholders, the world what that vision is. This is a good time to review guiding documents such as mission and values. Often these aspirational guideposts become even more meaningful in times of challenge and tumult. It’s time for CEOs to be inspirational about the future.

2. Revisit the organizational brand

Corporate executives should ask themselves if their brands are still strong in a post-pandemic world. Does it need to be tweaked? Should it be overhauled? Get to the answers quickly, make the necessary adjustments and start reinvigorating the organizational brand today.

3. Research the marketplace

Life as it was recognized pre-pandemic is going to be different than what will be experienced post-pandemic. As a company lays its strategic foundation for the future, it’s critical to understand your target audiences and what may have changed for them. What are their needs, wants and perceptions as it relates to specific products and services? What better way to learn how to reach a company’s key audiences, than to ask!

4. Reengineer the Operations and Supply Chain

No matter if an organization is in manufacturing, a service industry or the nonprofit world, now is the ideal time to review operations. It’s time to forecast the future. It’s time to be prepared to react to or lead a robust economic rebound. Managers need to proactively analyze where they are today and where they need to be tomorrow.

5. Market. Market. Market.

There is a great story in history about two companies that held equal market share leading into the Great Depression. One of the companies cut back and was slow to rebound in virtually all facets of their business as the Depression ended. The other doubled down and invested significantly more in their marketing at that time. When the country was coming out of these turbulent times, the company that invested significantly more in their marketing skyrocketed in market share while the competing

company fell flat. If a company wants to succeed and it has sound fundamentals, it should market, market and then market some more.

Savvy CEOs are currently setting their companies up for success. They are proactively looking to the future now. Executive leaders should plan now so their companies don’t get left behind. The phrase of the day should be “Don’t delay.”

Dave Neuger is the president and chief executive officer of Northfield-based marketing agency Neuger Communications. 

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