Five years ago I was participating in an ideation workshop for a client where wildly creative leaders from various corners of the new business world were facilitating the collaboration.

One memorable young man was the founder of a popular dating startup. During his presentation he referred to things as being "vibey" or not "vibey." He taught us about the value of a vibe.

Fast-forward a few years and seismic changes in the way we do business are taking place literally under our feet. The COVID-19 pandemic arrived. The vibe completely shifted.

Initially, we described business reactions to the pandemic as "the pivot." We learned to work and school from home. We designed ways to eat outside virtually year-round in four season places like Chicago.

Homeowners installed firepits in their backyards for entertaining. They built additional home offices and people relaxed into the most casual attire and truly forgot how to get dressed for work. Consumers learned to shop exclusively online and stores responded with curbside pickup, fast local delivery and more.

That pivot has evolved into "the vibe shift." You can almost feel it. The vibe shift suggests we won't be returning to "normal," whatever that even once was. The vibe shift is driving big changes in the way we work and conduct business.

From a branding, communications and marketing standpoint the vibe shift is pointing the way toward opportunities that are new fresh and valuable to the local, small business owner.

1. Logos and websites are evolving toward clearer, fresher, easier to read elements reflecting streamlined business processes.

2. The fight for dominance on Google is real and takes work. Consumers conduct their research online and click straight through first page search returns when they are trying to buy or search.

3. Storytelling is captivating consumers. People connect with businesses and organizations that reflect their values, their ideals and that offer what they want, when they want it.

Local businesses can respond to the vibe shift by tuning up their marketing approach. Freshen your business brand if you haven't considered it in some time. Brands are dynamic and evolve. Cast a critical eye on your business identity and consider whether it is as captivating as it can be.

When people say something is a vibe, as my kids often do, they mean that something has energy, appeal and influence.

Business owners and marketers should adopt this mindset and ask themselves if their marketing is a vibe? Is your content vibing? Is your business vibey?

You needn't be trendy to be a vibe, you simply need to radiate energy, a feeling of what's possible and be just a bit more enthusiastic about your products than your happiest customer.

The vibe shift is real. Vibey things are happening everywhere where people are trying new approaches to presenting their businesses. Consumers are drawn to the vibe shift and so are workers and leaders. This month I challenge you to consider what's vibey in your world and where the vibe shift might just benefit your business.

• Rebecca Hoffman is the founder and principal of Good Egg Concepts, a strategic communications and brand marketing consulting practice serving clients around Chicagoland and nationally.