Surviving COVID-19: Digitize, Digitize, Digitize

Credits: Goldfish Marketing Inc.

The way that you and I are experiencing COVID-19 may radically differ depending on various parameters in our life, including our age, our pre-existing health profile, our country of residence, and our profession.

To the extent that we are younger, healthier, living in a country that is making attempts to aggressively flatten the pandemic bell curve, and our financial livelihood is not directly dependent upon traditional travel, hotels or restaurant industries, our experience will be drastically better than average.

Beyond all of the above parameters, the extent to which our current reality is bearable, probably depends on the degree to which our life and business are digitized.

As a result, the world is undergoing a profound paradigm shift, forcing us to become a part of a new digital reality, both for our personal lives, as well as businesses.

If you haven’t digitized your reality yet, the good news is that it is not too late. The vast majority of us can immediately take steps to improve the current quality of our lives, as we work, study, and spend the majority of our lives at home.

Digitize Your Communication

With apps such as Zoom, we are able to stay in close contact, with not only our colleagues and clients, but also with those closest to us such as our grandparents. Most of us have some people in our sphere of relations who are vulnerable to serious risks associated with contracting COVID-19, whether they are elderly or have pre-existing medical conditions. The fear and stress that accompanies such vulnerability, can be magnified significantly by the feeling of loneliness and isolation. According to the American Psychological Association, stress and anxiety weakens our immune systems, thus exacerbating the situation.

If you have never used WhatsApp Video or FaceTime before, there is no better time than now do start activating those apps. The emotional and physical well-being of your loved ones may depend on it.

Synagogues, churches and other religious communities, which have adapted to live streaming their weekly services, are making important strides towards continuing to care for the spiritual well-being of their communities. If your faith community has not yet caught up with this trend, you are only one click away to finding one that has.

Digitize Your Business Processes

Many of us own businesses in the private services sector that cannot be 100% digitized. Even as a lawyer, there are certain aspects of my business, which I cannot perform online, particularly transactions which require face to face certification of signatures on documents. This, albeit, is also changing with the emergence of the legal recognition of digital signatures.

There are many facets of every business, however, which can be digitized at relatively low costs, even for direct service providers such as plumbers, electricians and restaurant proprietors. We can all digitize payment procedures, delivery services, meetings, as well as our sales and marketing efforts.

A close friend of mine, Jake Fichman, the CEO of Goldfish Marketing Inc., who also serves as Media Advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, shared some intriguing insights with me this week. According to Jake, during these last two weeks his agency has tracked enormous algorithmic growth across social media and digital platforms. Apparently, many of Jake’s clients have seen a 3,000 percent increase in engagement, reach, and follower growth across social media platforms for their brand. Consequently, he and his team are also speedily working on a virtual reality online-store that will now allow Israeli companies and individuals, who were forced to shut their doors and stand before bankruptcy, to have unprecedented sales digitally.

The obvious challenge with building traction in the digital marketing space, is that digital marketing is always driven by unique content creation. For those of us who work in high-intensity back-to-back meeting packed rhythms, finding time for unique content creation has been a challenge.

It is interesting to note, however, that the more we digitize our business practices, the more marginal time will have created in our schedules. Learning to leverage our marginal time for unique content creation, can be a turbo boost of power for our digital marketing.

Moreover, unless we live and work in the medical care sector, or we ourselves have become critically ill from COVID-19, this pandemic together with its quarantines, curfews, and lock-downs, has probably bestowed upon us the precious gift of more marginal time. The question is how we are using it.

I currently chair an organization called “ARISE”, which focuses on business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking between value-driven businesspeople around the world and Israeli innovation. Our flagship project is an international business summit in Israel, whereby we act as a virtual global trade center, creating business connections, which facilitate the flow of Israeli innovation for good to the nations, to tackle some of humanity’s greatest crises. Will we be able to again host hundreds of businesspeople from around the world at our upcoming summit, which is scheduled to begin on December 6, 2020, in Israel? I certainly hope so. But even if by December that will be impossible, I do not intend to let our work slow down. We already have a robust online B2B matchmaking platform, and we will adapt by continuing to digitize our services.

Digitize Your Investments

When we decide to buy a new house, a car or an item of clothing, we always search for the best product at the lowest price, and when we believe we’ve found it, we make the transaction. Human nature tends to behave the opposite, for some reason, when it comes to the stock market. Stock prices start falling and people sell. This phenomenon creates excellent opportunities for savvy investors.

Please note that I am not a qualified investment consultant, but I personally believe that it is a good time to invest in digital service providers. Amazon, for instance, recently announced that it is looking to hire 100,000 more employees. The stocks of digital service companies have taken a hit, just like the general stock market, but people still need computers and internet services – probably more now than ever – so I think investors will soon be rerouting investments in that direction. If your portfolio does not currently hold stock in such companies, it may be a good idea to consider.

Let’s face it, our lives will never be exactly the same. The question is what steps we can take to make life bearable during this current global pandemic, and how can we best prepare for the future.

Digitize, digitize, digitize.

About the Author
Calev Michael Myers is the President and Executive Chairman of ARISE - Alliance to Reinforce Israel's Security and Economy (ARISE) and the Deputy President of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (IAJLJ). He is also a Senior Partner at Yehuda Raveh & Co. Law Offices (YR&Co.). The opinions expressed in Calev's blogs may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the IAJLJ, ARISE or YR&Co.
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