How to rethink your business in times of Covid-19

Learn how leading companies such as Uber, Airbnb and MoMA got on their feet and reacted fast to the economic shock caused by the pandemic.
João Barbosa
May 25, 2020
João Barbosa
Business Designer

In this article, we take a closer look at how Uber, Airbnb and the Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) took action in response to falling revenues. 

If you are interested in more examples of strategic business recovery, download our report “Organizational agility in times of Covid-19”.

Many companies have seen their revenues falling steeply due to Covid-19. Uber has seen demand for their ride-hailing services falling as much as 70%. In certain locations where the virus hit stronger, Airbnb’s bookings dropped close to 0. The same happened to MoMA’s ticket revenues as their doors were closed. 

Meeting the unmet needs 

Since the pandemic outbreak, human needs didn’t fundamentally change. What did change, however, was the way people fulfilled their needs.

Confinement measures were imposed by states and governments and prevented people from leaving their homes and carrying out their traditional activities. Complete industries got shut down from one day to another.

But people still want to eat, learn, buy stuff and be entertained. Uber, Airbnb and MoMA were quick to identify those unmet needs and created new innovative solutions that illustrated strategic agility, the ability to assess, react and respond to sudden change.

We analysed some best-in-class initiatives and listed them below.

Untapped market potential

Under severe resource constraints, these companies turned to their existing assets in order to develop new solutions, unveiling their untapped market potential.

The “New Normal” 

One might argue that these are “quick fixes” that will soon lose their economic value as confinement measures are scaled back. 

However, we have reasons to believe that some of the new habits unleashed by the pandemic are likely to stay longer, in part because they were already existent prior to the crisis and are now accelerating, but also because humans are creatures of habit and it’s difficult to let them go. 

Thus, we can look at the new services as credible revenue sources both in the short and long term periods.

In the case of Uber and Airbnb, the new services are likely to have an immediate impact on revenues as they will operate under the same pre-existing business models. MoMA, on the other hand, has decided to make the new offerings available for free, at least for now.

Strategy Summary

In short, the recovery strategy followed by these brands can be summarised as follows:

  1. Identify rising/unmet consumer needs;
  2. Search for your asset’s untapped potential;
  3. Develop a solution and partner with others if needed; 
  4. Think about your business model through a long term lens;

At Untaylored we have been studying how leading companies are reacting to these disruptive times. 

Download our report “Organizational agility in times of Covid-19” with more examples you can learn from.

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