No industry has escaped the effects of COVID-19.  The pandemic has forced many brands and their employees to shift gears at lightning speed. They are transforming their businesses with the new challenges presented by working remotely, slashed budgets, safer-at-home orders, and more.  As marketing leaders learn to move forward in this new normal, CMO Club members reflect on the positive business transformations that might result from the pandemic.

Muriel Lotto, Head of Global Brand & Marketing, Western Union

The Western Union Company is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement.

“One undeniable positive is the move to Digital, simply because so many retail places are closed or restricted physically/geographically, so people have had very little choice but to move online. The longer the lockdowns and restrictions go on, the more those new digital habits will be embedded and we will see a permanent shift of behaviors for a large segment of the population that were previously exclusively retail. Digital has become a necessity, not a choice!”

Doug Zarkin, VP, CMO, Pearle Vision

Pearle Vision is an American chain of eye care stores. It is one of the largest franchised optical retailers in North America, acquired by Luxottica, an Italian eye wear company, in 2004.

“Perhaps the only positive outcome from this crisis is the affirmation that quality of care really matters. As I like to say “the how not just the what.” In an emerging COVID world, that takes on expanded meanings to include safety (cleanliness standards), but holistically this crisis has confirmed what we’ve known for years…. Care about the people behind the eyes and they will be loyal to you.”

Luis Casado, Head of EMEA Print Marketing, HP

HP creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere — every person, every organization, and every community around the globe.

“Work from Home will stay and improve the way people work and live. Endless hours wasted on traffic jams, expensive offices will be replaced with a more productive workforce, also motivated with extra time for family and leisure.”

Lisa Kaplan, VP Marketing & Strategy, M. Holland Company

M. Holland is a leading international distributor of thermoplastic resins, providing suppliers with the most strategic channels to market, offering innovative sourcing and supply chain solutions to their clients.

“As an organization, we were moving to a more agile workforce, that could work remotely and better collaborate.  Technology was rolled out recently to support this objective but was slow to be adopted.  With the need to quickly move to a fully remote workforce, we have honed the use of Microsoft Teams, and also better defined critical success measures needed to run our business more efficiently.  This extends beyond just marketing into the full organization, and has established habits that should persist far beyond the pandemic.”

JD Dillon, VP Marketing, Enphase Energy

Enphase Energy, a global energy technology company, delivers smart, easy-to-use solutions that connect solar generation, storage, and management on one intelligent platform.

“The residential solar industry is one of many industries that require governmental permitting. In spite of energy being designated an essential industry nearly everywhere, new installs are unable to be commissioned due to a lack of permitting. The pandemic has highlighted the need for remote permitting. Some locations (San Luis Obispo County in California, for example) have visibly released remote permitting and friendly competition is causing others to quickly follow.”

Tony Kempa, Managing Director, Head of Marketing, Business Development, and Brand (CMO), Environmental Systems Design, Inc.

ESD is a consulting-engineering firm within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry focused on creating design solutions that produce economic, environmental, and experiential benefits for their clients.

For our team, the one positive business transformation was the acceleration of our department’s skills and capabilities relative to stronger and higher-performing content. We also initiated a framework for future investment and growth: Grow, Win & Culture.

Jennifer Renaud, CMO, Masonite

Masonite is a global organization that manufactures residential and commercial doors.

“Aside from finally adopting collaboration technology like Microsoft Teams, I would say the one positive business observation is a move to more responsive or almost agile sales and marketing alignment. We can ask each other the question, “what is happening today,” formulate a plan and execute.  And then do it again tomorrow.”