In Chinese, the word “crisis” is created by the combination of two words, “dangerous” and “opportunity”. This perfectly sums up the two sides companies, brands and individuals are facing today when coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Getting the right balance between these two things is important.

During any crisis scenario it’s easy to focus on dangerous aspects, perhaps never more so than what we’ve all undergone in the past few months. I, too, have had those moments – times when I have been so fearful I cannot sleep. But in these moments of difficulty, comes clarity: it is during these times I know I have lost sight of the opportunities the current crisis, and resulting new world, can bring.

Often, it’s hard to think about opportunity, especially when there is so much fear and noise surrounding us. Panic can set in. However, making decisions based on fear alone can become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. So, how can you avoid this and instead focus on the now?

Start by understanding the need to focus on the right messages.

This can take many forms.

Tony Robbins would point us to the idiom: Garbage in, Garbage out. If you want to see opportunity, you need to find and focus on positive things happening around you.

Similarly, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People would suggest focusing on your circle of influence and asking yourself what you can do to create opportunities in the current situation.

And as a person of faith, this can take the form of leaning into your beliefs to find the good in what is happening.

Once you have the right messages, it’s up to you to take the next step: action.

Take the opportunity and turn it into tangible change.

According to Kantar, only 8% of consumers feel brands should stop communicating right now and 65% of respondents said a brand’s response in the crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood of purchasing in the future. This isn’t surprising. So how can companies deliver upon this expectation?

Our agency, Brunner, just worked with a client that created an online ordering solution in three weeks, a project originally scheduled to take nine months and done all while working remotely more effectively than ever before. It delivered upon customers’ need, kept momentum during a difficult time and will set the company up for future successes. And that’s just one great example of opportunity of creating tangible change.

Right now we see many brands making commitments that would have been thought impossible weeks ago. But with the change in environment, shift in customer needs and the overall landscape, companies are focusing on the right messages, applying it and creating new opportunities.

How do you know if the balance is right?

Consider the decisions made in the survival phase of this crisis and ensure they do not limit growth as we enter the restart phase. Start by auditing information sources. Do they provide a balanced view of the situation? Do they provide the insights needed to make informed decisions? The more credible, reliable sources you have available, the better the opportunity for balance.

Remember, nothing stays permanent forever. There is an opportunity now to pause and consider if your business is balanced with data and insight. Plan for the future with this balance at your core.