The most popular message for the New Year seems to be a wish to say goodbye to 2020 and "return to normal" as quickly as possible in 2021. In loyalty marketing terms, 2020 didn’t bring us surprise and delight, but something more accurately described as surprise and trauma.
Is "Returning to Normal" the Right Path?
It’s in our nature as human beings to seek a return to the comfortable norm that we knew pre-pandemic, however we define it. This is a temping path, but it’s the wrong one.
In dictionary terms, the word Normal refers to a common or accepted standard. Normal implies a state of circumstances measured in averages and means. There’s nothing dreadful or superlative about being normal. It’s just average, accepted, and comfortable.
Throughout 2020, businesses acted decisively in response to an unplanned threat to their survival. Brands applied creativity and innovation to their customer experience, accelerating their progress on the path to digital transformation. People (you and me) adapted quickly to a business environment that substituted video calls for air travel, in-person meetings, and gathering with colleagues in shared office space.
Recommended Read: International Roundtable: How Has Loyalty Changed Due To COVID-19?
We continue to adjust our business and personal lifestyles as we enter a season that promises resolution to this pandemic. It is likely that 2021 will be a transitional year where our adjustments shape a continually changing new norm.
In doing research into the subtleties of how we define “normal”, I ran across the assertion that “Nothing in evolution comes for free.” There is a cost for growth, and I’d say that our populous has collectively paid a hefty price to adapt and evolve through this pandemic.
With this investment in change forced upon us, the most useful focus for a New Year is to look forward and build on the creativity and innovation birthed during 2020. A mother endures pain to bring a child into this world. Athletes embrace suffering to achieve the highest levels of performance. Once the child cries to signify entry into this world, or the athlete crosses the finish line, the pain fades quickly into memory. All energies turn towards recovery, growth, and the hope of a bright future.
That is our wish for you during 2021, to take stock of creative approaches to business that you generated during this past year and to build on that creativity to effect permanent change for the betterment of your business, and maybe this world.
We have seen a distinct change in consumer attitudes towards the brands they patronize and have witnessed innovation from all sectors of the loyalty marketing industry in response to new consumer trends. 2021 will be a unique, generational opportunity to continue this transformation.
We are with you on this journey and will take every opportunity to speak with the people leading positive change, document important trends, and unify this industry for our common benefit. We wish you the best in sharing this journey with us.
Happy New Year!