According to Prosci, "Change management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes." And, most importantly, organizations do not change—people do.
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Andrea Bjorkman is an HR executive with broad-based business and HRcexperience. Most recently, she has taken her passion for innovative ideas to help meet underserved markets to her new role as Co-Founder/Managing Director (USA), Brand Knackstor Global, Blue Hour Moon Technologies Corp. You can connect with her at AndreaBJorkman74@gmail.com or on LinkedIn.
Andrea leverages her unique blend of human resources, marketing, and operational leadership expertise to drive talent development and management, transformational change, and workplace cultural expansion with a focus on innovation and continuous improvement.
Characterized as a transformational innovator and change agent, Andrea has led strategic initiatives, designed and implemented leadership development programs, and optimized talent development and diversity.
Andrea earned her MBA from the University of Illinois-Champaign and her Bachelor's degree in Finance/Economics from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)and holds seven insurance and financial services designations.
There's no doubt that things have shifted dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, leaders are asking themselves hard questions.
The Past Is Present?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODc3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTk0NTM2Mn0.8eNAgfs4FtndPFFFaes3M76_uRj3und7ZN7ncAav2yE/img.jpg?width=980" id="e00d0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="92ff4962f36321057286486073304bc6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Leadership team mapping out their post-COVID-19 company culture strategy" /><p>The 2008 financial crisis forced leaders to rethink operations, supply chain, vendor management, employee engagement, ethics, and integrity. Layoffs were widespread and money vanished, while the real estate market collapsed amidst big bank failures fueled by consumers inability to pay excessive mortgages. </p><p>It's now 2020: The pandemic health crisis is new, yet the economic dynamics seem eerily familiar. With the exception of "essential workers" in the food (grocer), safety, and health sectors, business has shut down. Supply chain vendors, grocers, and healthcare systems struggle to keep pace with consumer need/demand as we experience roller-coaster infection rates, re-openings, and new shut-downs. How to survive this is anyone's guess as every day brings on new cases and more questions.</p><p>According to a Fortune 500 CEO survey, 97.2 % of CEO's said keeping employees safe and productively employed is their #1 concern. (1)</p><p>A company's strong employee culture and the ability to pivot quickly with evolving dynamics are key to thriving Post-COVID.<br></p>
“Return” to Workspace (RTWS) — Can We? Should We? How Do We?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODc3My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTAxMzIxOH0.QqTM8ON8vRtPcTmQGNWozBL4x7dUcY1ZVjt5UeGak_o/img.jpg?width=980" id="734be" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="14123f401b0f12109da56447df6dbb30" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Executive discussing how to navigate the new normal with his employees" /><p>A company's culture must absolutely drive this question. Grant Reid, MARS CEO, said, "Part of my job is to import stress and export serenity...how do you bring them back safely into a work environment, keep the social distance and allow them to be successful and safe? Your associates are looking for stability, some hope, some compassion, some trust." (2)</p><p><span></span>The physical aspect of return is critical. "Companies are re-evaluating physical layouts specific to each employee. They are looking at common areas; multi-tenant commercial spaces...and rearranging reception common areas." (2)</p><p>Workstations need more distance and hallways need to become one-way venues. Employers must also evaluate testing protocols for employees, frequency of testing, and qualified caregivers conducting those tests. GoHealth Urgent Care is providing clinical back-up when employer resources are unavailable. (3)</p><p>Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidance on engineering and administrative controls for preparing the workplace for re-entry. (4) And, the EEOC has issued updated guidance on how employers can avoid violating the ADA and other employment laws in addressing the virus. (5)</p><p>Significant concerns arise for Workers Compensation insurance. Historically, community-spread illnesses (e.g. cold or flu) have been excluded. Six states recently passed "presumptive" legislation, and 14 total have expanded regulations to include COVID-19 as a workplace illness. To complicate matters, other injuries in the workplace may go unreported, or claims closures extended since non-urgent treatment is delayed in most jurisdictions. (6)<br></p>
Regulatory Climate: “Innovating Change, Governance & Compliance”<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODc3Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzg5NDY4NX0.ebVYy8aVjI5Dv0Pwh0nMBXWL9ZGMQkbe0NY2mcdFJCg/img.jpg?width=980" id="7ad09" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3b6b5706dcf087ecee2cc4a9c2b7d922" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Leader looking over company plans for compliance and governance post-COVID-19" /><p>One of the many challenges from this pandemic has been dealing with an ever-changing regulatory climate. With Workers Compensation rule changes, amendments to health benefits, the need for Childcare/Adult care, and the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), companies have struggled to make difficult decisions to care for their employees.</p><p><span></span>This is the time to look for innovative ways to step up employee benefits such as adding paid sick leave, amending sick policies to ensure employees are paid even if the business is closed, and unlimited paid sick leave even for workers not previously covered, such as hourly workers. Adding child care reimbursement, and increased emergency child care and eldercare benefits can help your employees deal with the pressures of working from home.All group health plans will need to adopt changes to ensure that their plans comply with changes made by the FFCRA and the CARES Act and provide sufficient benefits to combat COVID-19. (7) Under the acts, group health plans will have to do the following: </p><p><span></span>- Cover the full cost without cost-sharing (i.e., deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance) of testing for COVID-19. This requirement extends to tests provided by both in-network and out-of-network providers and is mandated for the duration of the public health emergency. Both swab tests that collect a specimen from an individual's upper respiratory tract to diagnose a case of COVID-19 and approved blood tests that look for antibodies to the coronavirus must be covered</p><p><span></span>- Once developed, group health plans will also be required to provide coverage without any cost-sharing for coronavirus vaccines.</p><p><span></span>To lessen the anxiety of your employees, consider adding or extending mental health benefits that are personalized and confidential, and offer telehealth services.</p>
Employee Wellness and Benefits: “Are You Walking the Talk?”<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODc3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwMzk5NDg4M30.vgEGpxTvGh_GcVqiVwkUXQD40ExhXpTBQjqGUPeZYIw/img.jpg?width=980" id="e854b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="378a18e55406e6b5707cb62c2bd12b12" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Leaders discussing how they can implement new company culture changes amid COVID-19" /><p>According to J.S. Nelson, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law professor, "The working landscape has changed, perhaps forever. How employees and management move forward from this experience will shape the workplace for decades to come. These challenges include" : </p><p>1. Recognizing individual circumstances</p><p>2. Reacting with empathy when feeling out of control</p><p>3. Maintaining transparency when feeling out of control</p><p>4. Not taking advantage of the situation to push other agendas</p><p>5. Remembering the power of healthcare and benefit coverage while not abusing them (8)</p><p>Understanding where your organization stands on these ethical challenges is a good foundation for the decisions you need to make for the future. Questions you then need to ask are:<br></p><p>- Are your mission, values, and culture still relevant today and in the near, very different future? Do you have a process in place to continually assess this?</p><p>- Is your culture helping or hindering your companies' performance?</p><p>- Are your employees weathering this "storm"? What do they need less of or more of to be happier and more productive? Can you even answer this question? Do you know how they feel?</p><p>- Are you looking for opportunities for hyper-personalization for your employees and customers? For example, do you give employees whose mental health issues worsened by working from home alone, priority when coming back to the office?</p><p>- How your employees view your stand on diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging have always been important, but with the ultra focus in the past few weeks, how would you rate your organization? Have you made this a priority?</p>
Your company has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it possible and, frankly, incredibly necessary to reassess your business strategy. You have an unprecedented opportunity to transform your company to ensure success and even gain further progress in the new world we will all be living in.
Employees<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3Mjg0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODkzNjg3MH0.NpfaeSahI-G3YHydZZAFM_l07OTvD69Ws0XPHD4rDtY/img.jpg?width=980" id="fc515" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4349a2e0a7031333160309d1950945f8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Group of employees at work post -COVID-19" /><p><strong>Your #1 Assets' Concerns</strong></p><p>How you respond to your employees will impact engagement, trust, and loyalty for many years to come.</p><p>Employees are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stress and, according to grief expert David Kessler in an interview with <a href="https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief" target="_blank">Harvard Business Review</a>, "...we're feeling a number of different griefs...The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we're grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air." In addition, there is "another type of grief, anticipatory grief, which focuses on the uncertainty of the future and shatters our sense of safety."</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Provide Well-Being And Financial Security:</u></em> Develop additional employee benefit costs to cover on-going COVID-19 medical bills, stay at home costs, and mental health costs. Provide additional financial assistance to help employees get through this hard time.</li><li><em><u>Focus On Mental Health:</u> </em>Promote your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other outside resources. Show empathy and compassion and listen to your employees' concerns.</li><li><em><u>Adapt To New Ways Of Working:</u> </em>Continue workplace flexibility by offering flextime and providing remote working tailored to the employee and the company needs.</li><li><em><u>Build Team Morale:</u></em> Create virtual connection opportunities, such as coffee breaks, lunches, around the water cooler topics, happy hours, etc.</li></ul>
Leadership<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3Mjg1Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzI3NDg0NH0.1zxzLExllhsS6qFtjJpDJkNYAdTIN9YG7oZznqbUYAM/img.jpg?width=980" id="f1da4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="361bbb655b81e662b39a6e0392237f60" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Woman leads her company during COVID-19" /><p><strong>Unprecedented Crisis Management</strong></p><p>According to PwC's most recent <a href="https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/services/advisory/forensics/global-crisis-survey/living-with-crisis.html?utm_campaign=sbpwc&utm_medium=site&utm_source=articletext" target="_blank">Global Crisis Survey</a>, nearly seven in 10 leaders (69 percent) have experienced at least one corporate crisis in the last five years in their companies, and the average number of crises experienced in these firms is greater than three. However, most leaders have not experienced a crisis of this magnitude.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Develop A Revised Strategic Plan:</u> </em>Review financial assumptions, growth expectations, key strategic drivers, allocation of resources, and processes. Identify on-going initiatives & future investment.</li><li><em><u>Create And Revise Your Crisis And Business Continuity Plans:</u> </em>Ensure that they include plans for pandemics based on what you have learned and experienced. Make them specific.</li><li><em><u>Have A Clear Understanding Of Your Supply Chain:</u> </em>This should include raw materials where possible. Identify vulnerabilities, especially from a global perspective.</li><li><em><u>Identify All Potential Points Of Failure:</u></em> Develop contingency plans for all critical processes and the departments and teams responsible for them.</li><li><em><u>Continue To Drive Innovation:</u></em><ul><li>Challenge Orthodoxies: Widely held and unchallenged assumptions that a company holds. The key is to evaluate your company's beliefs (product, business model, customers) to inspire innovation.</li><li>Forcing Constraints: Help drive innovation by considering how your business would operate under different circumstances.</li><li>Working Outside Of Your Organization: Innovating via collaboration (partnerships, acquisitions, etc.).</li><li>Move Quickly: Consider relaxing constraints and process, (perfect later down the road, right now will cost you valuable time), and ensure you are promoting collaboration.</li></ul></li></ul>
Consumers<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3Mjg2MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjkyMDQ2MX0.N4N1j45GH9Kw_u8xJXD1ppIEP6aImJ6Xj8CvJGygyzk/img.jpg?width=980" id="f19e8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6a484108011340829d0c4e9f3c8f4cd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Woman presents a plan to transform her company post-COVID-19" /><p><strong></strong><strong>Consumers' Economic Recovery Concerns</strong></p><p>The economy has come to a near-complete standstill with rising unemployment. Thirty million people have filed for unemployment claims for the six weeks March 15 - April 25, 2020 alone. Those who still have jobs are concerned about losing their jobs, making upcoming payments, and are most likely to delay large purchases based on a study from <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/retail-distribution/consumer-behavior-trends/covid-19-recovery.html" target="_blank">Deloitte.com</a>. Forty-six percent of U.S. consumers said they plan to reduce spending in the coming weeks based on a <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/how-consumer-goods-companies-can-prepare-for-the-next-normal?cid=other-eml-alt-mbl-mck&hlkid=ce57c66b13f24061b9b512b40e5f6b5e&hctky=9530436&hdpid=d0327454-3339-4488-ad3e-c1549f055933" target="_blank">McKinsey.com</a> survey. As consumer expectations change, it will be important for organizations to better align their offerings and activities with consumer interests and values, delivering upon their needs.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Be Careful About Taking Price Increases</u></em><em><u>:</u></em> Especially during this time of relatively inelastic demand to avoid being seen as profiteering.</li><li><em><u>Trading Down</u></em><em><u>:</u> </em>Value for the money will become a key driver with consumers switching to cheaper brands, private labels, bulk buying, and/or stockpiling.</li><li><em><u>Shoppers Seeking Deals</u></em><em><u>:</u> </em>Fewer more efficient promotions that are personalized and targeted to drive frequency and spending. </li><li><em><u>Cutting Back On Non-Essentials</u></em><em><u>:</u></em> Two-thirds of U.S. shoppers said they would cut back on high-end luxury goods, one-third would cut back on cosmetics based on a <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/how-consumer-goods-companies-can-prepare-for-the-next-normal?cid=other-eml-alt-mbl-mck&hlkid=ce57c66b13f24061b9b512b40e5f6b5e&hctky=9530436&hdpid=d0327454-3339-4488-ad3e-c1549f055933" target="_blank">McKinsey.com</a> survey.</li><li><em><u>Customer-First Approach:</u></em> As consumer behavior changes (more digital/online engagement, refocus on home occasions, shifting channels, etc.) during this pandemic, it's important to take a customer-first approach to inform strategic and tactical decisions.</li></ul><p><strong>Health & Wellness Is A High Consumer Priority</strong></p><p>Health and wellness products are top of mind (42.5%), with consumers reporting buying more personal sanitizers (40.15%), medical care items like thermometers (22.75%), and wellness items like vitamins, CBD, and superfoods (21.6%), based on a survey from <a href="https://www.yotpo.com/blog/survey-how-is-covid-19-changing-consumer-ecommerce-trends/" target="_blank">Yotpo</a>. While everyone is currently trying to remain safe washing their hands, using hand sanitizers, sanitizing their carts & baskets, and wearing masks, post-COVID-19, their desire to remain safe and well will be stronger than ever. This will create opportunities for companies to provide health-boosting measures to make staying healthy effortless for their customers.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Visibility On Product Sourcing & Safety:</u></em> Consumers are aware of the importance of strict hygiene and food safety and are looking for better visibility and transparency on product sourcing and manufacturing processes.</li><li><em><u>Contactless Focus:</u></em> Contactless payments, contactless delivery, curbside pickup, Instacart delivery service, innovative store layout to minimize chances of coronavirus spread, and incentivize customers to shop/order online.</li><li><em><u>Health & Foods Supporting Wellness And Immunity Are Priority:</u> </em>People are paying more attention to their nutrition and what they eat (supplements, natural ingredients, functional ingredients, clean label products).</li><li><em><u>Potential Growth In Plant-Based Protein As Safe Meat Alternative:</u></em> With COVID-19 threatening consumers' trust in meat, the focus may turn to plant-based protein options.</li><li><em><u>Provide Healthy, Nutritious Easy To Prepare Meal Solutions/Menus:</u></em> Consumers are spending more time in the kitchen cooking from scratch.</li><li><em><u>Emphasize Health & Cleanliness In Marketing Message</u></em></li></ul><p><strong>Consumers Shift To Home-Based Activities</strong></p><p>Consumers are expected to spend more time at home post-COVID-19 driven by a desire to save money, persistent safety concerns, and a newfound pleasure in nesting based on <a href="https://www.nhh.no/en/research-centres/food/food-news/2020/how-fmcg-can-prepare-for-the-next-normal/" target="_blank">McKinsey Experts</a>. Brands need to keep marketing their products and services but must innovate their way through these consumer behavior changes.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Provide Entertainment Products & Services:</u></em> Live-streaming events, books/materials, games & puzzles, happy hours supplies/events.</li><li><em><u>Offer At Home Eating Solutions:</u> </em>Home cooking ideas & tutorials, cook-at-home kits, food delivery solutions, catering services.</li><li><em><u>Promote Hobby Products & Services:</u></em> Gardening, arts & crafts, DIY, learning something new (i.e. language, skills, etc), home renovations.</li><li><em><u>Showcase Fitness Ideas & Solutions:</u></em> Class tutorials, equipment.</li></ul>
Marketing<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3Mjg1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwOTQyMTEwN30.KJG7GBp1eTMdziwWaWsVdfK0OpspHTJJU6zfCAiWCJ8/img.jpg?width=980" id="d7dda" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1091b1050803445d50a907ee04ee7a0f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Marketing team changes its strategy during COVID-19" /><p><strong></strong><strong>How Marketing Will Need To Shift</strong></p><p>Marketers need to continue to re-evaluate their 2020 marketing plans and stick to their long-term marketing strategies. As they do, they need to keep in mind that people are fearful about their health, jobs, and safety of their loved ones. It will be important for marketers to keep this in mind as they start to build trust and share their message to consumers.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Transform Into A Purpose-Led Brand:</u></em> Prioritize building a deep relationship beyond selling, focusing on helping customers as they can act as a powerful champion of the brand. Do not exploit COVID-19 as a commercial opportunity.</li><li><em><u>Show Empathy:</u> </em>Promote your brand in a way that shows some awareness of the challenges consumers and businesses are facing right now.</li><li><em><u>Focus On Digital Marketing:</u></em> Online activity and traffic has significantly increased. Coupled with a reduction in digital ad spend, there are opportunities to expand your reach with PPC, both search and display.</li><li><em><u>Effective E-Commerce Tactics:</u></em> Content marketing, PPC ads, email marketing, and social media marketing.</li></ul>
Channels<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI3Mjg1MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDc3MDQ5OX0.7QTX3Hue94IUS2yxgZvgHV0u0Bh5MFsjsycm8bhJl7w/img.jpg?width=980" id="67a64" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="92cbf27d078706d23c2e3d961a4cbee8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Group of professionals meet about changing the company post-COVID-19" /><p><strong>Driving Your Digital Commerce Transformation</strong></p><p>Digital commerce has rapidly accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing businesses to re-evaluate their channel strategy in the hopes of capturing their fair share of the new digital customer segment.</p><p><strong>Actions You Can Take</strong></p><ul><li><em><u>Alternate Payments:</u></em> Provide alternate payment options such as Venmo (cash-based transactions) to offering payment plan options (luxury, discretionary type items).</li><li><em><u>Scaling Customer Support:</u></em> Beef up product information, self-help resources, chat functionality, social media channel support, and a community of brand advocates.</li><li><em><u>Prioritize Consumer Digital Experience:</u></em> Users want a high-quality experience regardless of device, location, browser, or network.</li><li><em><u>Operational Continuity:</u></em> Set customer expectations and establish safety stock levels to ensure you can meet commitments. Optimize buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS) and consider scheduled pickups, curbside pickup, and delivery options to reduce exposure risks. Consider purchase limitations for high demand products.</li><li><em><u>Be Honest With Fees:</u></em> Now is the time where customer loyalty is vital. Be honest with all of your fees upfront. Consider removing delivery/shipping costs, as this could make the difference for a repeat customer.</li><li><em><u>Outline Shipping And Return Policies:</u></em> Be upfront with your policies. During this time, consider offering extended returns to keep customers coming back and ensure you are keeping them updated on the status of their order.</li></ul>
With the current record-low unemployment, companies are having more difficulty finding the best talent. The right workplace culture can be a huge selling point.