Reframe your brand proposition to make new ways of working work: Ravi Santhanam

At a webinar hosted by ZEUS Coaching, Santhanam, industry maestro & former CEO of Hindustan Motors Ltd, discussed how COVID constraints are bringing the best innovations out of brands

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Jun 2, 2020 8:21 AM  | 4 min read
Ravi Santhanam

Interestingly, ever since the start of the coronavirus pandemic situation, we’ve seen innovation happening all around us at a tremendous pace, driven by immediate need. At a webinar hosted by ZEUS Coaching, industry maestro and Former CEO of Hindustan Motors Ltd-Ravi Santhanam, shed light on how the combined imperative of time and necessity helps us to think creatively, both adapting what we have and creating novel ways of doing things in the pandemic. He spoke about ideas to live and work with during COVID-19.  

Santhanam said that the ongoing COVID situation is an unparalleled crisis, with no clarity on timelines, which makes the going tough. “You are leading your businesses, you are in a three-dimensional crisis, a humanitarian crisis, a medical crisis, and an economic crisis. And you're leading with no clarity on timelines. So when we are in such an ambiguous, unclear situation. It is ideas, which help human societies,” he remarked. 

Furthermore, he shared examples of how some restaurant brands are embracing the situation. Restaurateurs in the Netherlands and Bangalore are coming up with innovative ideas like intimate cocoons and glass cabins to make dining safe in the current scenario. Another example Santhanam showcased was the contactless delivery in China -- how a receipt was sent along to consumers with two different types of readings to assure consumer safety while ordering in. “The receipt shows the temperature reading of the person who prepared your food and also that of reading of the person who delivered your food. This is another way of giving comfort to your customers that in using your services, the customers can be safe,” he stated. 

He also mentioned Microsoft’s free work-from-home guide: “The work from home guide of Microsoft is a very well-put-together guide. It takes three broad areas: how to set up your workspace, how to stay connected with your colleagues and how to manage your work-life so that everything doesn't get mixed up. In a matter of a few weeks of global lockdown, they are out with Microsoft work-from-home as a free guide, because they would like to take leadership."

Another example was IBM CEO Arvind Krisha’s pledge, assuring employees that in these tough times, the company will be family-sensitive, reduce video fatigue, support flexibility for families, among other things. “Here IBM’s CEO points out that video is a very intense medium. And therefore, he says that all meetings (which are given a time of 60 minutes at IBM) when done on video, will be only 40 minutes. Look at the way the CEO is demonstrating his commitment to make work-from-home work,” he expounded.

Another example: Cushman & Wakefield, the global real estate development company, is fresh from helping 10,000 organizations in China move nearly one million people back to office spaces. The company used its own office space in Amsterdam as a pilot, calling it “The 6 Feet Office.”  

This layout — including the use of large circles and other visual cues on the floors (similar to hospitals) — helps ensure a separation of six feet between employees at all times. The firm has a task force working to prepare landlords and tenants for post-COVID-19 recovery and has a “Recovery Readiness” playbook on their website that offers guidelines for other companies. “This to me is a demonstration that if you're truly determined to find the solution, you can find the solution,” Santhanam asserted.

He also shared an example of how a beach in Spain is using the space booking way via mobile app to make beaches COVID safe. “You have to be willing to look outside your business and industry to get ideas and then intelligently transplant them in the context of your business,” pointed out Santhanam. 

He noted that organisations must look at hygiene, medicinal and organisational protocols, particularly to ensure safety and well-being of your employees. “Think out of the box, remember there’s always another way to do something and reframe your brand proposition to make new ways of working work. If there’s a will, you will always find a way to make it work. Don’t be afraid to turn things around and play to your strengths. Feel free to transfer ideas from across industries and don’t hesitate to repurpose an existing product/offering. Let’s face this challenge with a smile and cheer,” Santhanam advised.

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