Use Federal Stimulus Funds To Deepen Customer Obsession

US federal stimulus packages feature over $1 trillion in benefits to businesses. How will your company use its share? In our report, “Six Ways You Should Use The Federal Stimulus To Drive Customer Obsession,” we detail key ways businesses can use federal stimulus money to put customers at the center of everything they do. The report offers advice and examples focused on investing in employee safety, proving that better customer experience saves money and drives growth, upgrading the employee experience to improve the customer experience, upskilling idle workers, eliminating remaining paper processes, and lobbying for government actions that further incentivize customer obsession. Companies that do these six things now will help keep the lights on in the short term and position themselves for faster growth when the economy strengthens.

Q1 Earnings: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat Advertising Decelerates While Usage Accelerates

Advertising in Q1 surpassed bleak expectations, and usage is booming. But not all is how it appears to be. The pandemic’s true impact on advertising won’t be felt until Q2. Since late March, all companies except Amazon are reporting revenue growth rates equal to a revenue reduction of 20–30%. We see this playing out in three ways: 1) Ad revenue will decline for all except Amazon; 2) it will take longer for these ad behemoths to recover than anticipated; and 3) growth will come from countercyclical brands such as affordable consumer goods, alcohol, fast food chains, and utilities. On the consumer side, social media, search, and online shopping activity is up. But not all of this activity will sustain post-pandemic, so don’t expect greater advertising reach. Our advice: Don’t stop marketing. Record-high usage may not continue post-pandemic, yet consumers are engaged across Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. In every recession since the Great Depression, brands that maintained or increased marketing spend during a downturn saw higher sales during and after the recession.

Cybersecurity Attacks Heat Up As Global Economies Slow

Ransomware groups inexorably press on in the COVID-19 era. Last week, Microsoft’s Threat Protection Intelligence Team blogged about the current state of ransomware attacks in healthcare and other critical industries. Some ransomware operators have pledged not to attack healthcare organizations during the pandemic, but others are doubling down, using coronavirus lures to target healthcare providers with phishing. As more and more employees work from home, ransomware groups are expanding their use of brute force attacks against remote desktop protocol endpoints and using new techniques like publishing data exfiltrated from victims if a company refuses to payPaying the ransom is a valid option for firms, but it doesn’t nullify the incident: Ransomware response requires expertise from both business-continuity and cybersecurity practitioners. As attacks intensify and trying economic times threaten cybersecurity budgets, prioritize securing work-from-home connections and protecting employeesYou must also educate users and defend against phishing attacks, which often precede ransomware and malware outbreaks.

Open Innovation Produces Ventilator Alternative To Combat COVID-19 Complications

UnitedHealth Group — in collaboration with Boston Scientific, the Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center, Medtronic, and the University of Minnesota — drove an open innovation program to broaden the availability and value of ventilators for patients who need a high level of respiratory support. They ideated and crafted the Coventora ventilator alternative, in 30 days and are now bringing them to market for less than $1,000. It uses robotics to offer oxygen support without needing a healthcare worker to compress an adult’s resuscitation bag manually. “Unique partnerships will be critical as we work together to confront COVID-19 in the months ahead,” said Ken Ehlert, chief scientific officer of UnitedHealth Group. “These light ventilators will help prevent future ventilation shortages, support patients who need this level of breathing assistance, and expand clinical capacity to deliver care.” Tech-driven innovations such as the Coventor create value for patients and providers at a critical time in the current health crisis.