New Challenges to Face

in Features

Business and commerce have discovered that they have to reach out to the potential customers and trade in a different way. No crowds no footfall and no shoppers are all bad for business. From the comfort of telephones and laptops we are ordering-in and the long established shopping trends are changing with each new delivery. Staying in is the new going out and you read it here first.

Amazon and the like don’t spend money on prestigious shopping centres, they have gargantuan warehouses and have AI led profiling which will show you, the potential customer, what they think you might buy. Whether you need it or not is bye the bye, they will insist until they make a sale. Their products are in your personal in-tray daily. Unsubscribe or fall victim to ‘online shopaholic blues’. A new ill which makes you feel guilty about not ordering anything online on a regular basis. There is no antidote vaccine for this and no research is yet in place to find one either.  

In the Arts the hub of every society, the long term impact of isolation is yet to be felt worldwide but in the short term, huge artists and performers have been offering up their work for free. Concerts are more intimate now, stripped back of the glitz and glamour for which in pre- Covid19 times we were paying a fortune to attend. Now we are seated up close and personal, warts and all, but happy to share and comment as we follow them around the virtual entertainment universe for free.

A very welcome challenge is that we will have to become increasingly aware of each other and in turn, perhaps kinder and more circumspect in our ‘keyboard warrior’ excursions and put-downs. Coming together as we have recently done during this crisis has also strengthened our community bonds in a virtual way at least and it remains to be seen whether this new broom will keep sweeping once we leave our homes again after lockdown two. Chances are that it will have tempered our resoluteness and forged a tougher ‘Yanito’ metal. That would be a good thing.

Let’s examine the term ‘herd immunity’ by removing it from the medical idiom and asking ourselves whether the indifference to news in general and to the plight of the planet in particular, is not another form of herd immunity that we may well have acquired? Marketing wizards, who are always six jumps ahead of the rest of us, probably have strategies up their sleeves to try to overcome the social distancing that is being created by this indifference to advertising. Notice how sometimes the volume of the TV seems to increase during the ads? For sure that’s no accident.

The challenge to provide new information is good for free thinkers and bad for movers and shakers including news makers. Some of us have learnt not to be too reliant on news led TV.  It’s important to be well informed by serious newspapers and national broadcasters must not be ignored in these times. In the last year the planet has perhaps rebooted and certainly taken a breather from pollution. There is a challenge in not spoiling its honeymoon and a challenge also in filtering what to believe from the glut of information that is being speedily dispensed on the WWW.

Multinationals had already tried subliminal advertising and didn’t succeed because it was made illegal. That would not have stopped them looking for new ways to ‘penetrate’ our subconscious. We may be reading up on the pros and cons of 5G and whatever noises are made against the new technology, it’s only a matter of time before we will be made out to feel backward or technologically deficient if we don’t embrace that futuristic nettle. That is one major challenge that we face in a post-Covid 19 world. 

The Telecoms giants will have been emboldened by the sudden surge in our reliance on the virtual communication tools at our disposal. It won’t have gone unnoticed too that working from home reduces overheads and streamlines the way that new business and commerce is conducted. Transforming our homes into workplaces may seem a convenient thing at first glance but what will happen to the good old fashioned activity of ‘switching off’ in the longer term? That is also an important challenge that we must face up to.

All is not doom and gloom though because the new vaccines are being rolled out at the speed of light- now that will certainly be a challenge- to beat the new strain of the virus before it does more damage. Happily in Gibraltar we are small and the vaccination programme will be easily implemented and carried out. We could all be safe by summer if not sooner, now there’s something to be optimistic about. Where do I sign?

‘These are challenging times that we live in’ may be starting to sound clichéd and weary for most but let’s pause for a minute and examine some of the challenges posed by the near world-wide isolation that the Corona virus pandemic has imposed on society and the way that many things have been done hitherto. Nothing will ever be the same again because most of us have found new ways of doing things. There is a challenge in managing a new found digital independence that kept things ticking over while the lockdowns prevailed.

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