COLUMN 

Who will bounce back highest?

As we start to emerge from the pandemic, who is best placed to thrive?

By James Evelegh

Who will bounce back highest?
Photograph: Warren Wong on Unsplash.

Is it over yet? With Professor Neil Ferguson telling The Times that he thinks further lockdowns unlikely, we might at long last be ready to step out of the tunnel and into the light.

So, first of all, kudos to you for making it this far. That’s an achievement in itself. The past eighteen months have been characterised by long hours, worked weekends and few days off.

It’s been arduous, but with the economy starting to pick up, and things slowly returning to normal, we can surely hope for better times ahead.

Which publishers are best placed to hit the post-Covid ground running? Who will bounce back highest?

My money is on those publishers that has done some or all of the following since March 2020:

  1. Spent time asking (and finding answers to) existential questions: why are we doing what we’re doing? Who are we doing it for? How can we do it better?
  2. Come out of the crisis offering more than they did when they went in. Those publishers whose media packs have expanded during lockdown will find that the extra strings to their bow will serve them well.
  3. Innovated their way around the big obstacles put in their way by the pandemic, either by quickly pivoting to virtual alternatives to what they did before, or by launching completely new products and services.
  4. Kept a tight rein on finances but not pared back to the bone. A full throttle recovery will be powered by talented and energetic people. Forward looking publishers will have made sure they kept hold of enough of them.
  5. Went the extra mile to support and champion their hard-pressed communities, empathising, lobbying and offering support. Such connections and the trust they engender are priceless and there will be a financial dividend.

The challenge for those publishers who have innovated, launched and engaged their way through this crisis is to maintain that momentum once the pressure eases. If they can manage that, then a profitable post-pandemic future awaits.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.