I know, yet another covid-19 post... but bear with me. This recent press release from Airbnb holds most key messages which express the essence of what a digital transformation is about for any organisation.
It is a difficult story obviously and Airbnb announces that it reduces its workforce by 25%. It echoes similar stories across the entire hospitality and travel sectors.
The response though is inspiring and powerful, and very consistent with the experience I learned at Expedia and that I have shared with all my clients ever since.
The first quality which stands out from this response is about the internal culture of the company. The communication expresses a strong sense of humanity, care and empathy, in terms of the support provided to the people, as well as the respect shown to them.
A digital company does not mean a soulless, but the contrary. It is about putting people at the core of their process, both customers and staff, and leveraging the digital communication capabilities to turn them into vocal advocates of the company.
The culture also tells of a strong sense of team, skills, diversity, and fairness. Living in London, in the most cosmopolitan city in the world, has taught me incredible value you can unlock by bringing talented people from different cultures and horizons. Opening your mind makes you much more versatile as well as receptive to your customers' expectations.
The second key story is about focus, which for me is an essential component of the digital ethos. Focus drives efficiency, alignment and pace. It forces a company to make conscient and hard choices about where, why and how they will win.
Doing fewer projects, but the one with the biggest impact, only faster and better. This obviously relies on a keen understanding of the strengths of the company, as well as the market. These two elements are also essential to a robust marketing strategy.
Covid-19 is an exceptional crisis, however, the pace of disruption that the digital and connected world is imposing, means that companies have to learn how to thrive in uncertainty and harsh competition by keeping a clear purpose, lean and flexible structure, and adopting the best practices from digital leaders.