A global pandemic and a collapse in the global economy added stress to a world in which truth, compassion and dignity were under relentless assault. These last 10 months will define business and communications for decades to come. For those of us responsible for managing a business, focused on both delivering results for our clients and keeping our employees safe, 2020 has been perilous and unforgiving.
Then Monday, November 9, 2020, arrived. While the drama is by no means over, the outcome of the U.S. presidential election seems certain. And while democracies are built on differing viewpoints and debates on defining issues (like protecting national interests v. benefiting from global trade, or defending individual rights and interests v. finding ways to raise the standard of living for all), we have hope that the new leadership of the largest economy in the world will be entering a period that respects science, diversity and the rule of law.
Adding to this sense of relief, this morning, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine has exhibited a 90 per cent efficacy rate in early trials. The drug is unlikely to be distributed before the end of the year, but it is one of four vaccines Canada has pre-ordered.
These two data points combine to give us optimism for a return to something more approximating normal, both in our personal lives and in our businesses. “Normalcy” does not mean going back to what we had, but finding new ways to move ahead, hopefully with a lower level of volatility. And while success isn’t necessarily determined by looking at stock market numbers (we saw what happened to the last guy to do that), the significant rallies seen yesterday morning in the U.S., European and Canadian stock markets all appear to indicate that we have taken a big step towards getting our lives back.
On the business front, we now need to shift from talking about how to work through uncertainty and volatility to how to take advantage of the boom times ahead. In our recent survey on how Canadians source information on the world around them, we were heartened to find that most of us place the greatest amount of trust and credibility in established news media sources. As one of the foundational services we provide, we are comforted to know that engagement with media is still critically important. On the other hand, how people socialize and meet to learn about common topics of interest has changed dramatically.
With so much on the horizon, now is the time to take another look at our plans.
It’s the time to work with colleagues and clients to get ready to be able to take advantage of the opportunities to come. For most everyone, the remaining six weeks of 2020 can’t come fast enough. It will be such a joy to see it in our rear-view mirrors. And while we still have a ways to go, the events of the last couple of days (and the great sunny weather) are the best indications to date that better times are coming. And we are going to do everything possible for ourselves and our clients to make the most of them!