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1
THE NEW
NORMALHOW THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE SHOULD
EVOLVE FOR A WORLD IN LOCKDOWN
APRIL 2020
2
“THIS IS THE
DAY, YOUR LIFE
WILL SURELY
CHANGE.​ THIS IS
THE DAY, WHEN
THINGS FALL
INTO PLACE.”​
There has never in our lifetime been a more powerful global shared experience.​
Or a stronger sense of community.
So, now the novelty is wearing off, it’s time to lift our eyes from the day to day and reflect
more deeply on the new normal. Months not weeks – and potentially over a year – of
disruption to our ways of working, living and interacting.​
How should brands that want to deliver excellent customer experiences negotiate
these challenges? And, ultimately, how can they help people feel positively about this
extraordinary time?
Talking openly to your customers has never been more important. ​
People are looking for a sense of stability and continuity. So we believe our clients should
be beacons of consistency, support and inspiration. That means moving beyond crisis
communications to consider the impact this new normality will have on the whole customer
experience. ​
Experiences must evolve.​
Many of our clients are already considering how they might change. Some will be
compelled to by store closure and operational shut-down; others driven by a desire to serve
people forced to live more isolated lives. You will no doubt be considering how targets will
be met as the year moves on. There’s a danger that this becomes a race to the bottom. A
desperate clutching at the pound in people’s pocket. If so, this is the wrong way round.​
People first. Last. Always.​
It is vital that we remain focussed on people. People whose needs have changed. People
who are looking at brands to respond. Those brands that do this well can turn this crisis into
a mutually beneficial opportunity. Building relationships and brand trust for the long term,
rather than being seen to profiteer in the short term.​
This report provides some simple guidelines to help.
Adam Fulford, Chief Strategy Officer, Proximity
Matt Johnson – The The
3
”In a world where people are
increasingly focussed on the very
basics of life and living, the truth is
that we work more naturally at the
top of the hierarchy of needs. We
shape brands that create a sense
of belonging and enable people
to express themselves and their
sense of identity. ​
So, at a time like this, it’s important
that we remember marketing’s
duty to serve and understand
where and how we can make the
right kind of difference. That is
about brand stewardship and it’s
about selfless creativity.”​
Richard Huntingdon ​
Chairman and CSO - Saatchi
of people think ​brands
should stop ​advertising in ​
response to Coronavirus
Think brands should
support them in ​their
daily lives
Say brands should
​inform them of ​what
they’re doing
Think companies ​
shouldn’t exploit
the situation
8
78
74
75
%
%
%
%
Source: Kantar 2020
4
How people are
reacting to the
change and how
relationships with
brands must evolve.
Key things to
consider in evolving
the customer
experience.
Specific opportunities
we’re seeing in
different client
categories.
How different brands
have set the tone
and how the way we
speak is as important
as what we say.
1. THE NEW
NORMAL 
2. GOLDEN
RULES
3. SILVER
LININGS
4. SETTING
THE TONE
CONTENTS
5
1.
THE NEW NORMALAlexa Lynwood​- Strategist
Jessica DiMaio​ - Strategist
Chloe McMahon - Associate Strategy Director
6
As 1/3 of the world’s population are adjusting to
life in lockdown, working remotely, virtual social
gatherings, and total reliance on digital services
are fast becoming the new norm.​
Businesses are adapting to serve their clients and
customers during this time of fear and instability,
but forward-planning is critical. ​
The decisions people and governments take in
the next few weeks will shape our economy,
politics and culture for years to come.​
And many of our long-held beliefs and
behaviours will be changed forever.
This section explores eight ways in which
the Human experience has been changed
fundamentally by life in lockdown. For
brands to remain relevant it is important to
understand and respond to them.
7
MOTIVATION
FOR CHANGE
8HUMAN
EXPERIENCES
LOSS OF
CONTROL
RENEWED
HEALTH 
SAFETY
CONCERNS
PHYSICAL
DISTANCE
SHIFTING
PRIORITIES
DISRUPTION
OF HABITS
UNCERTAINTY
LACK OF
VARIATION
8
LOSS OF CONTROL
When things are happening in the environment around
us that feel completely out of our hands, we clutch for
ways to retain some level of control or influence, no
matter how small or unconventional.
9
LOSS OF CONTROL
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
Stockpiling has become the new
norm. At the beginning of March, 10%
of UK consumers had already started.
Supermarket shelves were quickly
emptied, leaving insufficient essential
supplies for those who need it most.​
3.8m people over the age of 65 live
alone in the UK, 58% of whom are
over 75. Major supermarkets are
operating special opening hours for
these customers and rationing certain
essential goods to make sure that the
most vulnerable members of society
don't miss out.
There has been a reinvigorated sense of
patriotism towards those working on the
‘front line’ of the COVID-19 crisis - including
doctors, nurses, teachers, pharmacists,
shop workers as well as politicians who are
delivering daily briefings to the nation. ​
This sense of patriotism has long been linked
to those in the armed forces – especially in
the US – but the pandemic is making the
public aware of other groups who deserve
suitable recognition for their work.​
Empty shelves in Aldi​
Medic team at Queen Elizabeth’s
Hospital in Woolwich, SE London​
IF IN DOUBT,
PANIC BUY
REINVIGORATED
PATRIOTISM
Crises can truly bring out the best
and the worst in humanity. Some seek
to exploit the pandemic: evidenced
in the rising number of opportunistic
crimes seen in the UK. Crimes include
theft of hospital resources, puncturing
of ambulance tyres and stealing from
foodbanks, as well as scamming
elderly people on their doorsteps.
​
As the police are stretched beyond
capacity people are taking it in their
own hands to tackle anti-social, and
‘non-isolating’ behaviour.
Armed vigilantes in Maine use
a tree to block their neighbour
into quarantine​
VIGILANTES VS
OPPORTUNISTS
10
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
LOSS OF CONTROL
The pandemic is a good time for brands
– especially those with large global
influence – to lead in empathy and offer
comfort to consumers.
Louis Vuitton struck the right balance
between relief and sensitivity when
posting heartfelt messages to customers
in China on WeChat. They also were
quick to help remedy panic buying by
producing their own brand of hand
sanitiser in their perfume factories.
PROVIDING
COMFORT
Now is a time of anxiety and uncertainty for millions of customers.
Services are being disrupted and people are facing challenges that they
never imagined coming up against. When emotions are running high,
understanding and honesty go a long way.​
Many brands have shifted to a more personal tone when things have
gone wrong, admitting shortcomings, apologising for inconvenience,
and reassuring customers of the steps being taken to minimise it.
HUMAN TO HUMAN
“Every paused journey will eventually
restart. Louis Vuitton hopes you and your
beloved ones stay safe and healthy.”​ Ocado
Sainsbury’s
11
In the short term, consumers may find
comfort in words of solidarity and clear,
concise information. But, as the weeks and
months pass, and lockdown measures are
relaxed, they will look for practical tools to
help them understand and regain control
of their ‘new normal’.​
For example, those who have suffered
financially may demand more streamlined
management of utilities and finances, and
want additional help planning for the future
now that the business landscape has shifted.​
As more people become familiar with a
greater range of digital services, some brands
will have more data at their disposal than ever
before. And the expectation for personally
relevant solutions will be greater still.​
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
LOSS OF CONTROL
12
People need people. The need for physical closeness among
humans is extensively documented. One very practical,
immediate side effect of self-isolation is a significant
reduction, if not total loss, of ‘touch’ with other humans –
with physiological, cultural and commercial repercussions.
PHYSICAL DISTANCE
13
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
PHYSICAL DISTANCE
Though we still have some way to go, recent years have
seen a marked increase in the emphasis placed on the
importance of mental health. And the speed at which it
became a big part of the online conversation once self-
isolation began in earnest, demonstrates the progress
that has already been made.​
Many recognised the acute threat associated with people
spending long hours alone in their homes and posted
messages of support and solidarity.​
RENEWED ATTENTION
TO MENTAL HEALTH
​
In 2011, Sherry Turkle (Professor of the Social Studies
of Science and Technology) published a book called
‘Alone, Together’ – exploring the shift in relationships
and communication as a result of our increased reliance
on technology. She warned of a degradation of ‘real life’
interactions, as we come to rely on messaging services and
social platforms.​
ALONE, TOGETHER,
VIRTUALLY
In the current crisis, there is a greater reliance than ever on
the platforms that she argues have led to this behaviour.
But the way people use them is evolving. Facebook shared
evidence that use of video and voice calls on Messenger
and WhatsApp have doubled, and ‘Houseparty’ – the video
chat app allowing ‘spontaneous’ virtual get togethers with
games and activities – saw over 2m downloads in the last
week of March alone.
14
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
PHYSICAL DISTANCE
Where possible, brands are still
trying to maintain a presence at all
times to answer and respond to
customer comments and queries.
As physical stores and businesses
have shut, the in-person
experience has been replaced
with social media, websites and
hotlines. But be prepared to face
a flurry of complaints as systems
will inevitably crash.
BEING THERE
24/7
Many brands whose products bring people together or have a shared
experience are finding ways to continue to do so. Brewdog have created
an online bar with quizzes, games, and tastings with the co-founders.
Netflix Party synchronises playback and includes a group chat feature
so friends can discuss movies and shows as they watch.
FACILITATING
TOGETHERNESS
​Ford Credit (US)
Ocado and other grocers responding to queries
within minutes and around the clock​
Brewdog Online Bar​
Netflix Party
15
Brands who have been able to respond
quickly and provide customers with the
services and information they require in
the most seamless, timely way will set
the bar for others in the months to come.​
Whilst humans will always yearn for
physical contact with other humans,
brands could benefit from considering
ways to monetise the increased
familiarity and comfort with virtual
group experiences.
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
PHYSICAL DISTANCE
16
DISRUPTION OF HABITS
Social interaction aside, a significant number of the
services we use and the activities we routinely engage in
are no longer available to those in lockdown. As a result,
people are experimenting with new ways to resolve their
immediate needs and achieve longer-term goals.​
17
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
DISRUPTION OF HABITS
For years, telemedicine has been
on the side-lines, but the spread
of Covid-19 is accelerating these
services into the mainstream.
As health services become
overloaded, remote GP ‘visits’ are
encouraged, helping to ensure
that patients who need the most
critical care will receive it.
GROWTH IN
TELEMEDICINE
Ironing board badminton, balcony beer halls, and
living room HIIT workouts. All over the world people
are finding ways to recreate their everyday habits
at home. Restaurant closures have seen a surge in
home cooking, and country-wide school closures
mean millions of parents have taken to educating
their children at home.​
RECREATING THE
WORLD IN THE HOME
Between the 11th to the 18th of March 2020,
Microsoft Teams’ daily active user base grew by 12
million to a total of 44 million users as businesses
sought out remote working tools to help them
remain operational during the pandemic.
Some consider this virus as a societal wake-up call to
the commercial benefits of more flexible and digital
first ways of working. Others believe professionals
will return to the office more appreciative than ever
of the value of a physical shared workspace.
SUDDEN DEMAND
FOR REMOTE
WORKING SOLUTIONS
18
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
DISRUPTION OF HABITS
Many brands are adapting their
services in order to inspire and
motivate those stuck indoors,
helping them make the best of
their time, and quickly establish
new routines. With most gyms in
the UK now closed, fitness brands
and influencers are keeping their
customers/followers active with
at-home workout plans and live
exercise classes. This kind of
constructive content helps people
feel productive, whilst sustaining
brand engagement.
PROVIDING
GENUINE
UTILITY
Given financial uncertainty, and the fact that some services cannot easily
be digitised or performed remotely, many people are DIY-ing things they
would usually pay for. Some brands have tapped into this behaviour,
building relationships with their customers by helping them become more
self-sufficient. Supermarkets are easing the pressures of home catering
by providing tips for cooking with limited ingredients and making meals
last. Bleach London has launched ‘Hair Party’, a virtual salon created to ease
people into at-home haircare since they cannot attend salon appointments.
EMPOWERING
PEOPLE TO DIY
PE with Joe Wicks
New CH4 series ‘Keep Cooking  Carry
On’ with Jamie Oliver, inspired by store
cupboard ingredients
​
Barry’s bootcamp streams live
workouts on Instagram
19
Brands will come out of this crisis changed in
unexpected ways. In business and at home people
are becoming more open to exploring new ideas
and innovations – a continued adaptation to ‘the
new normal’. And even though people may not
remain quite as self-sufficient once the pandemic
is over, learned habits such as home cooking,
virtual conferences, self-care and daily exercise
will not be forgotten overnight.​
Brands that have encouraged and helped people
form new behaviours today will be valued for
helping people maintain those behaviours in
the long term. Digital services that have proved
themselves more convenient than their physical
predecessors will live on.
​
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
DISRUPTION OF HABITS
20
UNCERTAINTY
An evolving global emergency can be an unsettling time for
many. We depend on strong leadership from businesses,
governments and brands to put our mind at ease. When
experts fail, irrational behaviour has the potential to take over.
21
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
UNCERTAINTY
Experts in the fields of health,
science and statistics have been
thrust into the limelight as the
general public seeks the best
advice during this time of extreme
uncertainty. Boris Johnson happily
shares his stage with Chris Whitty,
the UK’s Chief Medical Officer.
Now implementing mass changes
to society as we know it, how
many people knew his name
before COVID-19 took over?
EXPERTS
KNOW BEST 
Anxiety in response to COVID-19 has in some cases
metastasized into xenophobia and racism towards Asians
as people seek scapegoats. In extreme cases this has
resulted in physical attacks and verbal abuse. But it has
also manifested itself in more subtle yet damaging ways,
like declining sales for Asian businesses. Proof that not all
groups are experiencing this crisis equally.
THE PATHOGEN
OF PREJUDICE
Whilst most panic buyers prioritise
soap and loo roll, others are stockpiling
drugs to provide stress relief in these
anxiety-inducing times. In the US,
cannabis sales have rocketed as high
as 75%. In the UK, consumers are
hoarding painkillers like paracetamol in
anticipation of being infected. This has
led to national shortages of the drug, to
the detriment of those with a genuine
and immediate need.
STOCKPILING
DRUGS   
SOLUTIONS
Injuries of Jonathan Mok who
was attacked on London’s
Oxford Street in February
Cannabis smoker
PM Boris Johnson with experts
Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance
22
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
UNCERTAINTY
With safety and business protocols being updated
almost daily, some brands are feeling the pressure
to overload communications with information to
ensure their customers are in the know. Though
well intentioned, the number and complexity of
Covid-19 related messages reaching consumers
has been overwhelming. Concise, easily digestible
language is vital for cut through and brands must
decide when their customers need information, and
when alternative forms of support are more appropriate.
INFORMATION
OVERLOAD
As well the various crisis experts, for whom the
public have a renewed respect, the pandemic and its
consequences has revealed a number of everyday
heroes. People are recognising that the hard work and
indispensability of healthcare providers, delivery drivers
and supermarket workers deserves to be noticed and
celebrated. Many brands and service providers have
taken this opportunity to thank their employees.
THE NEW HEROES
Daunting vs digestible
– brands communicate
information they
deem essential
Creature made shareable signs to thank the
people who are still working in essential
jobs during the coronavirus crisis
23
Trust in authority is fickle and brands
have already shown their ability to help
put consumers’ minds at ease in times of
uncertainty. If the advice of experts fails
to deliver an acceptably positive outcome
for people and businesses, there could be
an even greater opportunity for brands to
step in and support where they can.
By proving their reliability and altruism
in testing times, brands can sustain
engagement, protect their profitability,
and enjoy reinvigorated respect in the
long term.
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
UNCERTAINTY
24
LACK OF VARIATION
Huge numbers of people are having their first experience of
living and working in the same place, with the same people,
doing the same things – for weeks on end. Whilst a stay-at-home
lifestyle has its perks, the novelty can quickly wear off and many
fear that they will turn stir-crazy well before the lockdown ends.​
25
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
LACK OF VARIATION
Sales of intimate toys are on the rise as lockdown leaves many
people with more time on their hands than they can fill. A
recent YouGov survey found that Brits are admitting to having
sex to ‘pass the time,’ on par with ‘taking up a new hobby’ or
‘playing board games’. Some experts are even anticipating a
second baby-boom once the pandemic has subsided.
LONELY
HEARTS CLUB
Lawyers are predicting that the increase in
households isolating together is likely to spike
the number of divorces and break-ups. With
reduced personal time and space, family tensions
are more likely to bubble to breaking point. And
country-wide school closures could add even more
pressure to strained relationships.
Some local registries in China reported reaching
the maximum number of divorces permitted by
government at the pandemic’s height. 
​
CHANGING FAMILY
DYNAMICS
ESCAPISM
When people in China were asked what activities
they were engaging in most frequently at the height
of quarantine, 58% reported watching ‘long-form
video,’ and 54% were sleeping more to pass the time.
Entertainment streaming services have experienced
surges in viewership as those in lockdown try to
alleviate boredom in the absence of live experiences.
Frequent flyers in the US escape the monotony by
daydreaming about their first post-lockdown getaway
- 55% say they ‘may’ or will ‘likely’ purchase a future
holiday whilst in self-isolation.​
26
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
LACK OF VARIATION
The severity of this pandemic
and its consequences for
people all over the world
cannot be understated. But
some brands are balancing
reassurance with humour
to provide light relief from
stress-inducing headlines.
Sensitivity, however, should
always be kept front of mind.
RELIEF
THROUGH
HUMOUR
Brands that exist to entertain are experimenting with ways to help their
customers pass the time in lockdown. EA games reduced the price of
The Sims 4 just days after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, allowing
those in isolation to escape their situation and create a new virtual life.
Museums, operas, theatre plays, and zoos all over the world have moved
online, allowing people to live-stream culture from their living rooms.
PROVIDING A MEANS OF ESCAPE
Nando’s is called out for making light of
the crisis with their pandemic-reactive
ad mocking KFC’s famous slogan
Wash Your Hands song generator,
adds fun to imposed hygiene routines
27
Many French and Italian psychologists
agree that the key to combating the
negative psychological effects of
long-term isolation is reminding people
that their experience, and their pain,
is shared by millions of others.
However, despite all of our best efforts
to stay busy and stay positive, when the
isolation measures are finally relaxed
brands need to be ready for the surge in
demand for live experiences, in-person
social activities, and travel.
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
LACK OF VARIATION
28
SHIFTING PRIORITIES
A significant proportion of the population now have more time
on their hands. This, added to a forced shift away from mindless
consumerism, means many are taking the opportunity to re-
evaluate and adjust what is really important in their lives.​
29
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
SHIFTING PRIORITIES
Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort
predicts that we are entering a
‘quarantine of consumption’ -
meaning we will adjust to becoming
happy with the simpler things in life
as our buying habits and behaviour
completely change.
Edelkoort argues that we are
currently being ‘forced to do what we
should have done in the first place’.
So this pandemic could be a time
for us to reset our values – especially
in our approach to the environment
as planes are grounded and factory
production is halted.
A TIME FOR
HUMAN RESET
Galleries, museums, places of worship, theatres and
festivals are just some of the many sites closing their doors
to facilitate social distancing. These closures threaten
the livelihood of millions of artists and the future existence
of cultural venues, many of which rely on donations.
With current access to shared experiences so severely
limited, people are reminded of the importance of
cultural institutions during times of need. Viewing art, for
example, has been found to reduce stress and anxiety,
increase motivation and act as a mood booster. 
ARTISTIC INDUSTRIES
ON THE EDGE
#VIRALKINDNESS
With a sharp focus being placed on the most
vulnerable within society, the space and time afforded
by self-isolation is breeding a wave of outreach from
those in a position to help.
Community-oriented behaviours such as
helping vulnerable neighbours with their shopping
or offering a friendly phone call to someone in need,
are being revived and elevated to a global movement
under the banner #viralkindness.
This global solidarity in the face of a shared threat,
although idealistic, could lead to greater long-term
national functionality, and a decline in polarisation.
30
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
SHIFTING PRIORITIES
Lockdown is not the time for brands to be
seen to be competing with one another.
Instead, consumers expect brands to
exhibit a sense of shared responsibility,
and rally together in the face of adversity
to continue serving the nation.
This has been seen in the UK grocery
sector – a notoriously competitive arena –
where supermarkets have temporarily set
aside their differences to help feed the UK.
WORKING IN
HARMONY WITH
COMPETITORS
Since the pandemic began to unfold, some brands have been able to offer their
goods/services for free – or at a discounted price. For example, Pret-a-Manger
recently revealed that they would give NHS workers hot drinks for free and half price
lunches, with many retailers following suit. This kind of activity not only helps keep
up national morale – it can increase brand love and loyalty as the crisis develops.
DISPLAYING GENEROSITY
Gary Neville  Ryan Giggs have opened
up their inner-city Manchester hotels to
NHS staff for free
‘Working to feed the nation’ statement
from UK grocers
Pret-a-Manger
31
The public’s expectation that
brands should behave responsibly,
and demonstrate a positive
contribution to the environment,
has risen steadily in recent years.
The pandemic could likely see these
factors move closer to the top of
consumers’ decision making criteria.
It will no longer be enough to pay
lip service to CSR initiatives. So
the ‘one-upmanship’ we’ve seen
from brands competing to do the
most good during the crisis should
endure. And give rise to some truly
innovative altruistic action, along
with real headway in the battle
against climate change.
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
SHIFTING PRIORITIES
32
RENEWED HEALTH 
SAFETY CONCERNS
COVID-19 has changed the way we think about health and safety for
good. Although sales of hand sanitiser are through the roof, bigger
shifts are starting to occur – hygiene rules are changing the way we
interact with one another, with implications for global industries.
33
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
RENEWED HEALTH 
SAFETY CONCERNS
Although the last few decades have seen a decrease in social touch – attributed
to the increasingly tech-driven, socially disconnected world we live in, as well as
the ‘Me Too’ movement – COVID-19 is likely to embed these changes further. For
example, while the two metre distancing rule is obviously designed to prevent
infection during the pandemic, preventative measures such as this could result
in a lasting negative association between touch, personal space and hygiene long
after. Social touch and the emotions related to it may never be the same again.
A DECLINE IN TOUCH
Billions of people struggling with the reality of
COVID-19 are seeking comfort in their faith.
Congregational gatherings that are such a large part
of many major religions can contribute to the spread
of the virus. With social distancing now enforced
across the world, the internet has quickly become
a safe space to ‘worship from home’, with religious
services becoming available via live stream. 
RELIGION: A
SAVIOUR  A RISK
WE’RE STAYING PUT
Fear of catching or spreading the virus means consumers are choosing not to
travel. Alongside this, travelling to and from many countries is also currently
prohibited. Combined, the impact on the travel and tourism industries has been
devastating. Those affected include US Airlines (employing 750,000 people),
who will face bankruptcy without government intervention, BA who have been
forced to cut its capacity by 75%, and EasyJet who have grounded all of its fleet. 
US Department
of Homeland
Security
Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi
Arabia, shut amid coronavirus fears
Empty airport
check-in terminals
34
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
Brands can build and nurture consumer
relationships by acting as a trusted source of
information. Many brands have taken the initiative
to actively promote government advice, such as
Lush who invited in passers-by to wash hands in
their sinks (using Lush products of course). In a
recent survey by YouGov, the BBC was found to be
the go-to source for COVID-19 related info – above
Government and NHS sources – demonstrating the
power that familiar and well-loved brands can hold
during times of rising health and safety concerns.
PROPAGATING
INFO AND ADVICE
Whilst health  safety is of utmost importance, communications to
customers must be as transparent as possible. A strong brand culture
and a clear set of brand purposes are invaluable. Where appropriate,
brands should be telling customers exactly what they are doing
to ensure safety standards in line with real-time news: e.g. closing
operations or deep cleaning stores.
TRANSPARENCY
COVID-19
advice from the
WHO on TikTok
Lush stores
RENEWED HEALTH 
SAFETY CONCERNS
35
Though the pandemic has seen
many people reassessing and
improving their own personal
hygiene habits, it shouldn’t take
a global health crisis for a brand
to do the same.
As more questions and concerns
will inevitably surface in the
aftermath of this emergency,
a redoubling of employee and
customer safety, plus an ongoing
commitment to transparent and
truthful communications, should
remain a priority.
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
RENEWED HEALTH 
SAFETY CONCERNS
36
MOTIVATION
FOR CHANGE
It has taken a global pandemic to reveal that our actions and our
ways of thinking require fundamental revisions. Policies, practices
and systems have been stretched by the virus – shining light on
where we may have been ‘going wrong’ for years.
37
ASSOCIATED
BEHAVIOUR
AND CULTURAL
PHENOMENA 
MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
COVID-19 is a national emergency – manifesting itself in
subsequent economic, health and political crises. However,
the pandemic has also shone light on the UK’s long-standing
social crisis.
It has taken a novel virus to reveal that a quarter of adults in the
UK have no savings – increasing to 50% of 22-30 year olds. 4.7m
are employed in the unstable gig economy and 70% of small
businesses suffer from cash flow issues even in ‘normal’ times. 
Without drastic action sustained after the pandemic’s peak,
a social crisis could persist, or even worsen.
SHINING LIGHT ON
A SOCIAL CRISIS
NEW REFORMS
IMMINENT
New reforms especially in health and
education are likely to occur in the
aftermath of the pandemic. There are
learnings from the HIV/AIDS crisis – where
earlier reforms could have prevented
millions of deaths – that governments
could benefit from during this pandemic.
The gay community – in response to mass
government and societal failings – resorted to
banding together and using their own collective
knowledge to fight the HIV/AIDs virus.
Reuters headline
The UK’s strict new measures
intended to ‘flatten the curve’
*True as of 23/03/20
As the virus ravages developed nations like the UK and US, it
has shown individualist market systems to be ‘deeply unsuited
at coping with an infectious pandemic’. Moves to ‘flatten the
curve’ such as self-isolation and social distancing haven’t come
easy: fundamentally because they mean we have to change our
individualist thinking. 
On the other hand, China – a socialist market economy – has started
to rebound from the virus according to official figures. Wuhan, the
centre of the outbreak, has reported a fifth day without new cases*
as strict, authoritarian lock down laws begin to be lifted.
FROM INDIVIDUALISM
TO AUTHORITARIANISM
NHS top of the
government
agenda in daily
briefings
The Conversation
headline
38
HOW BRANDS
ARE RESPONDING 
In a time where fake news
and broken promises
by those in power are
commonplace, trust in
authority, and by association
trust in brands, is low.
Brands that put their money
where their mouth is when it
comes to supporting those
in need are being praised
by consumers and the
media alike.
WALK
THE WALK
Many brands have been slated for
not looking after their staff in times of
crisis. Not only can this be awful for
short-term PR, long-term it can turn
customers against your brand in the
future, too. Wetherspoons boss Tim
Martin has come under fire for telling
his 40,000 staff to ‘get a job at Tesco’
as they face no pay for weeks. Virgin
boss Richard Branson has been heavily
criticised for making airline staff take
8-weeks of unpaid leave – with people
going as far to label him the ‘real villain’
of the pandemic.
STAFF TREATMENT
AND BRAND
PERCEPTION ARE
CLOSELY LINKED
Ethical clothing store Lucy 
Yak detailing the steps they
are taking to protect their
staff in a customer email
LVMH factory line of hand sanitisers
‘Pay your staff’ graffitied on a
Wetherspoons pub in South London
MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
39
‘Talk is cheap’ but enforcing
real action can come at a high
price. Brands that underwrite
change or support worthy
causes will have to ensure they
can fund their promises, or risk
damaging their future long after
this virus is over. Only brands
that sustainably fulfil these
commitments in the long-term
will come out on top.
​
THINKING
ABOUT THE
FUTURE 
MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
40
2.
GOLDEN RULESAdam Fulford​- Chief Strategy Officer
John Treacy​ - Executive Creative Director
41
We believe there
are seven key
rules that brands
need to live by as
they communicate
with customers
in lockdown, the
following section
provides a guide
to them.
REFLECT THE
TIMES
1
BE CUSTOMER
FIRST
2
DEFINE YOUR
ROLE
3
CONNECT
EVERYONE
4
CONSIDER THE
JOURNEY
6
LISTEN AND
EVOLVE
7
STEP UP
COMMUNICATION
5
7
GOLDEN
RULES
42
1.
REFLECT
THE TIMES
It is fundamentally important for brands to be seen
to respond and reflect the times we live in. ​
​A ‘business as usual’ approach might seem tempting
but without any acknowledgement of current events
it could be seen as tone deaf.​
At the very least, brands need to ensure that they
don’t do anything that runs counter to Government
advice or adds to confusion.​
Every piece of communication should be reviewed in
the context of our new normal. Consider how it should
reflect the times both functionally and emotionally. ​
Sports Direct were forced
to u-turn on their decision
to stay open after claiming
that they were essential
for people staying home.​
Source: BBC News​
Chiquita’s redesigned logo
showing that Miss Chiquita
was already home drew
significant backlash.​
Source: Adweek​
43
In response to the crisis,​
Pernod Ricard (and many ​other
distillers) re-tooled ​production
lines to produce badly needed ​
hand sanitiser.​
Skoda published guidance​on
how to stay safe by disinfecting
key areas of the car.​
Both Mercedes Benz and​Audi
published colouring pages ​that
were free to download. ​
KFC has partnered with​non-
profit Blessing in the​Backpack
to help provide​weekend
meals to kids who​might have
otherwise gone​hungry.​
Netflix Party allowed people
to share their Netflix account
with friends around the
world for free.​
WhatsApp created a Covid-19
hub to combat misinformation
shared on its platform in
partnership​with the WHO,
Unicef, the UN​Development
program and the International
Fact Checking Network.
Headspace offered up ​
space on their platform​with
free meditation, ​sleep and
movement ​exercises. ​
UNDER ARMOR is helping
fitness fans remain active​
while in confinement, by​
launching 30-day “Healthy
at​Home” challenge.​
44
2.
BE CUSTOMER FIRST
In its simplest sense the lockdown has transformed
media consumption for most people. ​
Internet usage has increased 71%. Whilst TV, digital,
social, radio, digital audio and podcasts have seen
large listening spikes, predictably cinema and out
of home advertising have fallen (Source Kantar).​
We should be cognisant of both consumption
changes and of how needs have evolved.​
As the lockdown has taken over people’s lives,
we’re seeing subtle shifts in terms of customer need.
People are re-appraising their priorities in line with
their circumstances.​
Understanding what is more important for people
today should inform any changes that brands make.​
myBurgerLab Malaysia is extending
their services to the elderly and
those with restricted mobility by
paying their staff to run errands for
them during the movement control
order (MCO) period.​
Amazon offered the chance ​
to request at home access
to ​Adobe CC products for
Students and Educators.​
45
EMOTIONAL SERVICEPRODUCT
Emotional needs are most powerful
in changing behaviour
Core needs satisfied by the
product’s design
Needs associated with the delivery and
use of products, this area is especially
heightened in a world in lockdown
PEOPLE’S PRIORITIES HAVE FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED
THROUGH THEIR CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES.
Freedom Social
good
Belonging Security Confidence Well being
Thrill
To be the
person
they want
to be
Success Stand-Out
Price Convenience
Efficiency Reliability Experience
Design Performance
Functionality Compatibility
Empathy Transparency
Information Accessibility Fairness Control
Belonging
+
_
Researchers at Motista found that over 300 emotional motivators are at work behind customer purchase decisions.
Source: Harvard Business Review.​
We're seeing that those above the line have become more important whilst those below have lessened in importance.
46
Uncertainty as to who should
take responsibility; individuals,
governments or corporations,
for persistent large-scale,
complicated issues.
Companies are taking note
of a wider range of threats
emerging from culture
demanding new practices
and tools.
People are rejecting
secrets in favour of clarity
and truth.
People mistrust authority,
leadership and institutions.
BRAND
ACTIVIST
Brands are taking a stance
on political, social, or
ideological issues.
ICON
TOPPLING
BLURRED
RESPONSIBILITY
CULTURE
CENTRIC
RADICAL
TRANSPARENCY
3.
DEFINE
YOUR ROLE
Don’t underestimate the importance of the
role of your brand right now.​
People expect brands to take a stance, have
an opinion and be a reference point today.
This isn’t totally new, a number of trends were
already leading to this prior to the lockdown. ​
Brands need to ensure all communications
align to a central idea, and that this idea fits
your brand.​
47
A SIMPLE BRAND
FRAMEWORK
It is vital that the direction you
set be clear and simple.​
Something that places your
brand in the moment in a positive
sense, moving you from crisis
response to positive contributor.​
A simple framework can be
a powerful tool in aligning
teams internally and agencies
externally. We’ve found this one
to be especially effective on
a couple of clients.​
Align everything to your existing over-arching brand platform.​
Connecting to this is vital for credibility.​
Base your direction on a defined need people have in this period.​
What could your brand offer that no other could?​
How will you deliver on your role?​
Consider the mood of the nation. What does the public
in general expect?
How should this change the customer experience and
communications?​
BRAND PLATFORM​
INSIGHT​
NATIONAL MOOD​
ROLE FOR BRAND​
STRATEGIC PLATFORM​
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE​
48
4.
CONNECT EVERYONE
A single unified voice will be critical throughout this.
Nobody needs things to be more complicated than
they already are.​
Whilst your PR agency and lead Creative agency may
have been first out of the blocks when the lockdown
happened, it’s important that all agencies link arms.​
Then go further, consider how you might connect
suppliers to your cause. Any sponsorships and
partnerships you have in place could and should be
used to amplify what you’re doing.​
49
5.
STEP UP
COMMUNICATION
It’s easy to be consumed by immediate
crisis communications and operational
management.​
Brands that go beyond the basics to build
affinity and love can shine in a crisis. ​
Consider all forms of communication
and how it can build relationships
with your customers at this time.
That means everything from service
communications to re-launch.​
50
WE’RE SEEING A VARIETY OF BRIEFS
COME THROUGH, WITH OBJECTIVES
IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:
Ensure personal
relationships
are maintained
as services are
disrupted
SERVE
REPOSITION
EMPATHISE
GIVE BACK
RE-LAUNCH
Pivot product
and service
models,creating
totally new
communications
Show empathy
with social
communications
that bring warmth
and add value
Go further,
considering what
your business can
do to give back to
the community
Plan ahead for
a world post-
lockdown.
Other countries
have seen
a surge in
consumption
following
previous
pandemics.
51
6.
CONSIDER THE​
JOURNEY
We need to be sure that communications at his time
do not add to confusion or frustration. It’s especially
important that we consider the impact our calls to action
might have on call centres for example. ​
We’re recommending that each point in the customer
journey be reviewed in the context of new customer and
operational circumstances. ​
Calls to action on all communications from conversion
through to engagement, loyalty and win-back need to
deliver simple effective experiences that can be fulfilled.​
52
7.
LISTEN  EVOLVE
There has never been a more important
time to listen, learn and evolve fast. ​
Businesses have had to evolve rapidly as
the lockdown has been put in place. They
should be prepared to continue to do so as
we feel our way through this.​
It is highly likely that the public mood will
move through a number of significant
phases. Reactions to stress, anxiety, fear and
isolation will be strong and will heighten
responses to any advertising messages.​
It’s important to adopt agile ways of
working, reviewing hard performance and
social reactions among audiences daily. ​
This chart from Canvas8 shows the historic phases of emotional response to pandemics.
We need to be prepared for and adapt to ​these stages in our customers.​
53
3.
SILVER LININGS​Adrian Hoole​- Strategy Director
Anna Cole​- Strategy Director
Anna Laird​- Strategy Director
Han-Son Lee - Strategy Director​
Richard Colvile​ - Senior Strategist
54
RETAIL​
The Retail sector faces
significant disruption over the
coming months and years. Like
all forms of disruption there
will be those businesses that
are able to respond and those
that get caught out. We’ve
pulled together an overview of
how we think retail brands can
respond to the tidal wave of
change on the horizon.​
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​
1. How people shop is set to change and there are
opportunities for brands that are able to adapt.​​
2. What people buy in the future is likely to be
affected by the current restrictions on human
movement and product availability that they
experience today. ​​
55
RETAIL
HOW PEOPLE SHOP 
ONLINE​
Much has been said about the disrupting force of technology on our highstreets.
But until recently, adoption has been modest. The UK boasts the second largest
Ecommerce as a share of retail, behind China – however that only amounts to just
over 20% (2019 ONS). ​
But as the technology adoption lifecycle for ecommerce is being artificially
squeezed by necessary government measures, people are being forced online.
As a result, the ratio of online to instore (along with the general adoption of virtual
technologies) is set to skyrocket. ​
PHYSICAL
Lockdown has meant our physical experiences have become extremely limited.
Simply put, we can no longer shop where we want, whenever we want. People
are buying into brands or categories they’ve never bought into before, due to
unforeseen needs and demand outstripping normal supply (Kantar Worldwide,
Mar 2020). They are also shopping more locally. ​
It has not only thrown out the consumer spending patterns and predictive
modelling that retailers rely so heavily on – it’s also removed an essential part
of the retail experience: face-to-face service.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers have newfound confidence in ecommerce, giving
retailers the opportunity to scale cheaply.
2. Consumers will be more likely to adopt virtual technologies
e.g. virtual show rooms/stores as part of their purchase journey.
3. The normalisation of click and collect and drive through services also
presents an opportunity to bridge the physical and virtual worlds.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Greater appreciation of the human connection means consumers will
seek more, not less, service support for important purchase decisions.
2. Consumers preferring to shop locally and make more sustainable
choices will seek brands that play a positive role in their community.
3. Consumers will shift from being frustrated over a lack of choice
and availability, to being overwhelmed by choice in a
post-COVID-19 world.
56
RETAIL
WHAT PEOPLE BUY
PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE
SELECTIVE WITH THEIR PURCHASES​
COVID-19 has already redefined what people buy. For
many, it is the first time they have ever had to live with the
challenges of having a limitation on product availability. This
has led to many reassessing their purchases, evaluating the
type of products they want to spend their money on and
realising what they can live without. After all, 7 in 10 people
think the economy will get worse and two-thirds think they
will be personally affected (IPSOS Mori - Mar 2020). ​
It is these economic constraints that are necessitating a fresh
approach to consumption, one that prioritises ‘needs’ over
‘wants’ and favours retail brands that can be relied upon to
help people through these unprecedented times.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers diverting their attention to products positioned
as reliable, long-lasting and serving an essential purpose.
Resulting in, for example, luxury retailers experiencing a
downturn in demand.
2. Increased demand for products that reinforce ‘Fortress Home’
– making us feel in-control and enabling us to meet needs that
have been disrupted. Resulting in, for example, Gym closures
caused by a surge in demand for home exercise equipment.
3. Participation in pro-social behaviour – products that increase
human well-being and the greater collective. Resulting in, for
example, increased sales for Facebook Portal devices.
57
RETAIL
THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY
NOW​
PROVIDING ENHANCED SUPPORT
AND PRO-ACTIVE SOLUTIONS ​
NEXT
BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND
PROVIDING INSPIRATION
FUTURE
TRANSFORMING THE RETAIL
EXPERIENCE​
1. Guide and support consumers
using new remote / online retail
services for the first time.​
2. Strengthen initiatives that support
local communities and promote
temporary local services /
collection points.​
3. Pro-actively suggest alternative
products and services when
availability is limited.​
1. Invite customers to try new
tools and remote services while
they have more time at home.​
2. Create content relevant for
local communities
and audiences.​
3. Inspire consumers to
explore new categories and
products, with next best
recommendations.​
1. Create multi-faceted and connected
shopping experiences with people
at the heart of its service (whether
that be in-person or remotely).​
2. Engage in community focused
marketing initiatives and build
relationships with local suppliers /
producers.​
3. Work collaboratively to provide
curated shopping experiences and
marketplaces.​
58
AUTOMOTIVE​
The Automotive sector is facing a challenging time.
Supply has paused​
With factories closed around Europe and only a handful
of Asian and South American manufacturers open, the
impact of the coronavirus on car manufacturing has been
catastrophic. In the UK alone, a drop of 200,000 in new car
production* is expected in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.​
Demand has plummeted​
With people experiencing a period of significant economic
uncertainty, they are cancelling orders for new vehicles. With
every expense being scrutinised, people are putting off
buying high ticket items that are not completely essential.​
Restriction of movement means car and van journeys are
greatly reduced. Italy has seen a 70% reduction of road
traffic since the start of the crisis.​
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​
1. The way people move around and the
journeys they do make have become
more precious than ever before
2. How people research, buy and
communicate has changed and there
is new opportunity for car brands to
drag their customer experiences into
the 21st century
*Manufacture news March 2020/ Fleet News March 2020​
59
AUTOMOTIVE
HOW PEOPLE MOVE AROUND
A time of lockdown has forced people
into limiting their journeys, the amount
of time they spend away from their
locality and the way they spend their
free time.​When the rules are relaxed,
we can indulge in greater freedom of
movement, with a renewed interest.​
However, modes of transport will also
be subject to scrutiny like never before.
People in cities such as Wuhan have
seen ‘markedly lower’ pollution levels
since the lockdown​.
When we return to a life of normality,
there will be even stronger arguments
for carless cities and greener public
transport. These will be countered by
the view that those travelling by cars
and vans have a much reduced risk of
contracting the coronavirus compared
to public transport.​
OPPORTUNITIES
Renewed excitement from freedom
of movement​
After a period of isolation and restriction,
people are going to be doing more,
moving more and appreciating every new
journey they do make. ​
Therefore there is an opportunity for
Automotive brands to harness this renewed
freedom and inspire people to make every
journey they do take more fulfilling through
in-car tech and inspiring content.​
Cleaner mobility​
People in busy cities are more likely to
contract the coronavirus. Consequently, the
cleanliness of public transport has been
exposed to more scrutiny than ever before.​
This is an opportunity to push Electric
vehicles as the cleanest way to travel for
people and the planet.
*The Guardian 2020​
60
AUTOMOTIVE
HOW PEOPLE INTERACT
WITH CAR BRANDS
Lockdown means people are
changing the way they buy,
experience and communicate day-
to-day.​From virtual dinner parties,
a surge in online shopping and
huge increase in Zoom, Houseparty
downloads and live online events.​
Ecommerce is becoming more
crucial to everyday existence.
Large audiences in the UK who
have never done online banking
or online shopping are now
transacting this way. ​
Adoption of resources such as
Babylon means people are even
discussing things that they would
normally only do face to face
with their doctor.​
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Ecommerce – trust in online selling has
increased so it is a good time to launch
automotive ecommerce platforms​
2. As reliance on online platforms has
increased, there is an opportunity to
push contactless services – such as
virtual dealers, virtual test drives and
consultations ​
3. Self-service servicing. A pause in
MOTs, plus a reduction in service
centres means people are having to
carry out regular maintenance checks
on their vehicles
*Image: The BBC ‘Pop stars live-stream concerts from home to combat isolation’​
61
AUTOMOTIVE
THE OPPORTUNITY
NOW​
IN A PERIOD OF LOCKDOWN,
BEING RESPONSIBLE ABOUT
WHEN WE PROMOTE OUR
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
NEXT
​GREATER INSPIRATION
ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THE
MOST OF EVERY JOURNEY​
(CONTENT FOCUS)
FUTURE
A MORE CONTACTLESS,
DIGITAL CAR BUYING
EXPERIENCE​
(CHANNEL FOCUS)
1. Provide car and van care
maintenance tips for people
at home​
2. Only promote vans and cars to
businesses and people in need​
3. Manage the stock they already
have – get it to people who need it
1. Create personal inspirational
content about how to make the
most of freedom again​
2. Tie it to car technology such as
self parking cars, remote start
up, keyless technology​
3. Drive interest in ‘cleaner’
cars and their benefits to the
environment and customers​
1. Car brands invest in virtual dealers,
virtual test drives​
2. Ordering and buying cars online
from manufacturers becomes more
widespread​
3. More active promotion of EVs​
4. Supply issues are overcome by using
technology to show consumers
which vehicles are in stock
62
STREAMING
SERVICES (SVOD)​
COVID-19 is carving a life-altering new normal
as people forge novel ways to connect, stay
informed and keep their minds occupied. ​
As the living room routine becomes consumers’
reality, SVOD brands have a unique opportunity
to underpin evolving daily habits and routines. ​
Streaming platforms can become the balm
to uncertainty by filling the lockdown void. In
this way, they will establish themselves as an
indispensable part of people’s lives to drive
long-term loyalty. ​
Let the Streaming Wars commence!​
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​
New viewing behaviours​
How people watch live and on-demand
shows is likely to alter as people shift
away from solitary viewing and look to
brands to help them connect from afar.
New audiences​
Audiences that engage with SVOD
platforms in the future are likely to
diversify as older generations adopt
activities suited to their home-based hub.
63
STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD)
NEW VIEWING BEHAVIOURS​
Underscoring people’s desire to feel united, people are tuning
into video to tune into one another’s lives. ​
Brands such as Instagram are launching media sharing for users
to view posts simultaneously over Video Chat. Meanwhile Netflix
Party points to the power of people’s desire to stay connected
over virtual experiences. ​
In a life lived at home, traditional live viewing is also evolving.
Viewership for Facebook Live has increased by 50% since January
in the U.S. ​
With little to differentiate between Saturday and Monday night,
the chance to stream shows live rather than watch them later
on-demand offers people the chance to enjoy shared social
moments at specific times.
THREE THINGS STREAMING BRANDS
SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW
1. Provide services that help consumers maintain
the social moments they’ve always enjoyed.
By adding a sense of normality to a life turned
upside down, streaming services can become
fundamental in people’s pro-social habits.
2. ​Inspire new watching patterns through live
streaming and live broadcast TV. As people’s
habitual behaviours are broken by the pandemic,
soaps, news, regular slots and family shows have
the chance to reaffirm people’s schedules.
3. Cultivate community to aid programme
discovery. With people turning to their peers
for tips, tricks and recommendations to help
them through crises, streaming brands have the
opportunity to help communities recommend
favourites and make sharing shows seamless.
64
STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD)
NEW AUDIENCES
From escapist entertainment to expert education,
SVOD platforms are becoming a cornerstone of
uncertain times. Globally, over 50% of people are
watching more streaming services as a result of staying
at home. Yet streaming services have been primarily
used by younger audiences. In 2019, over half of SVOD
users were under 35 with just 14% of viewers
aged between 45- 54 years old. ​
Those over 35 have previously missed out on the
benefits of on-demand viewing: entertainment curated
around their personal interests and available to watch
at any time. ​
With more time at home to reflect on their own
interests, SVOD brands will attract a broader audience
to adopt their services.
THREE THINGS STREAMING BRANDS
SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW
1. Drive home the benefits of personalised viewing
to attract older customers and delight existing
subscribers​
2. ​Incentivise new viewers outside their traditional
audiences with free trial subscriptions and
limited time upgrade trials​
3. Demonstrate the benefits of anytime, anywhere
viewing as the perfect accompaniment to ‘the
new normal’, as people adapt to new viewing
routines and cycles
65
THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY
STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD)
NOW​
CULTIVATE COMMUNITY AND
GIVE-BACK TO AUDIENCES
NEXT
REWARD CUSTOMERS FOR
THEIR LOYALTY
FUTURE
A CORNERSTONE OF HUMAN
CONNECTION
1. By creating experiences designed
to be shared virtually, SVODs
have the opportunity to become
a social pillar in people’s lives. ​
2. Lean in on social proof. Make
it easy for people to share
recommendations with peers
and help people feel a sense
of community in their viewing
experience.​
3. Attract new, older audiences with
free platform trials tailored to the
kind of content they love. ​
1. As people tighten their belts post
COVID-19, they may experience
subscription fatigue and look to
narrow the services they use. ​
2. The brands that will win the
streaming wars will not just match
their customers’ content cravings
but reward them with privileged
content access, unique viewing
opportunities and other tangible
expressions of value, such as
events linked to shows they love. ​
1. Curate mood-based viewing.
People are beginning to turn to
SVODs throughout their day when
they are experiencing everything
from uncertainty to hopefulness. ​
2. Where content has been typically
segmented by genre and
recommendations based on past
viewing habits, mood-matching
responds to viewers changing
mindset within their daily routine. ​
66
FMCG
For the first time in many generations,
the whole world is experienced a
new form of FMCG – Not Fast Enough
Moving Consumer Goods.​
As supply chains struggle with the new
demands being placed on them from
previously staple products, and in a time
where everyday essentials threaten to
become the new gold, adjusting to a
new reality of FMCG may have bigger
consequences than first meets the eye.​
SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​
1. Product essentials being prioritised means
traditional FMCG brands will have opportunity
to strengthen their position and drive their
innovation quicker to market.
2. How people shop is set to change and there are
opportunities for brands that are able to adapt
to new local norms.​
67
FMCG
WHAT PEOPLE BUY
SEEKING LOCAL ALTERNATIVES
With the disruption of global supply chains, ongoing trade wars that drive
up prices for imported goods, people are seeking local product alternatives. ​
Under this new reality, companies will be forced to actively consider
ways to diversify their supply chains and reduce their dependence on any
single country. ​
We will be seeing rises in small, regional brands, providing local competition
and decentralised alternatives – as long as they can deliver to a consistent scale.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL
CONSCIOUSNESS
Consumer concern about sustainability and environmental impact is set
to increase as pandemic exposes the vulnerability of our ecosystems.​
Activist groups are calling on various levels of Government to prioritise
supporting greener and sustainable industries and companies after the crisis. ​
FMCG brands may need to rethink their end-to-end product life cycle to
meet the new consumer expectations.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers will seek brands and products that use local ingredients
and rely on regional production.
2. Production disruptions, largely due to logistical issues, will pose
challenges to food supply chains and food brands. Consumers are
likely to be impacted through higher prices or forced to choose
less-preferred alternatives.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers will expect brands to play a much more active role in
tackling the looming environmental disasters.
2. Governments and international organizations will play much larger
role in driving the environmental agenda.
3. A brand’s focus on how it treats and manages its people will come
into the public eye at greater speed than ever.
68
FMCG
HOW PEOPLE BUY
EXPANSION OF E-COMMERCE
As people get used to shopping online for a large variety of products and
services, we will see the emergence of new forms of e-commerce solutions
for FMCG brands that work locally and directly to the consumer. ​
Brands will consider a larger reliance on O2O platforms for local delivery in
the future, potentially shifting some demand away from e-commerce giants. ​
DTC business models will also morph and take new forms in response to
Covid-19. The cloud-based e-commerce company Shopify has seen its stock
surge amid Covid-19, a testament to a move towards direct e-commerce
presence for a variety of brands.
PRIORITISING ESSENTIALS
After the 2008 recession, industrywide structural changes allowed the
consumers greater access and choice to the products. For some companies,
this period of accelerating competition paved the way to success, while others
struggled to survive, or lost the battle altogether.​
Covid-19 crisis is expected to wipe out mid-market brands with high debt levels
and startups without a clear path to profitability.​
Traditional FMCG brands like Unilever or PG have so far been less affected
and are faring quite well, as consumers prioritise essentials.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers will develop a repertoire of shopping behaviours online,
moving away from reliance on one e-retailer for all product categories.
2. FMCG brands need to reconsider how their marketing approach will fit
with the new e-commerce boom. In the offline environment, successful
FMCG brands have applied shopper marketing strategies to help
people make intuitive choices while driving sales.
3. To protect their market share in the New Normal, FMCG brands need
to leverage retailer relationships and perfect their presence on more
online touchpoints that are relevant to different consumer types​.
OPPORTUNITIES
1. Consumers will revaluate their purchases in response to anxiety
and financial pressures, so brands should consider emphasizing
value and price.
2. It is common for people to be sticking to the brands they know
during the time of crisis and uncertainty. Anxiety and nostalgia go
hand in hand — when times are tough, people tend to reminisce
about what can seem like simpler times. Brands can act as
comfort blankets.
69
THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY
FMCG
NOW​
PROVIDING SOLUTIONS THAT
DRIVE GENUINE UTILITY
NEXT
BUILDING CONFIDENCE
AND RE-ADJUSTING TO
THE NEW NEEDS
FUTURE
​TRANSPARENCY OF SUPPLY
CHAINS WILL BECOME A KEY
BRAND COMPONENT
1. Whether it’s brands providing free
products or expanding their CSR,
there is a consensus on brands
supporting consumers, their
people and the wider community.​
2. For some brands, this will
mean being more pro-active,
suggesting alternative services
and product uses when
availability is limited.
1. ​Brands need to adopt a more
agile and data driven approach
to marketing planning, constantly
evaluating the changing customer
segments and needs, and nimbly
adjusting strategies, tactics.​
2. ​Inviting customers to try new
product offering, delivery options
and services that have been
developed in response to the
changing consumer behaviours.​
1. The Employer Brand and Consumer
Brand are set to become one a lot
faster than ever before.​
2. Community focused marketing
initiatives and building relationships
with local suppliers / producers will
be a vital opportunity for brands.​
70
4.
SETTING THE ​TONE​Kate Amos - Head of Data
Hannah Thomason - Data Planner
Daryl Swinden - Senior Data Director
71
As customers, we have all
experienced a surge in the
number of emails we receive daily.
Brands are wanting to keep us
updated on how they are reacting
to the Crisis and how this is
changing day by day. ​
When considering how to engage
over the next months it’s important
to define the tone you want to
set across all communications at
this time. Every brand will need
to approach things in their own
way. For some a dry service led
approach will be necessary, for
others a warmer celebration of life
in lockdown might be appropriate.​
Before we set the tone we need to
understand the current sentiment
brands are using.​
Our Data Science team have used
Natural Language Processing to
analyse emails from over 140 brands
during the period 6th March - 29th
March. We wanted to understand the
sentiment of the language brands are
using and the content topics.​
Based on this insight, we have some
ideas about how brands can use
sentiment to improve the way they
communicate with their customers
during this very difficult time. ​
SERVICE HAS BEEN
THE FIRST PRIORITY
Analysis of sentiment in emails has
demonstrated how brands have reacted at
speed to a rapidly changing environment
and taken a customer centric approach.
Subject line: COVID-19 dominates the subject line.
From: Emails are coming directly from the CEO/Founder and
personally addressing their customers. This is demonstrating
how seriously brands are treating the situation. 
Format: Brands are using long form informative emails to
support and inform their customers.
Service messages: Brands are reaching customers who they
have a direct relationship with but who are not opted into
marketing communications. Brands must ensure that they
remain within the restrictions of service messages.
72
73
CUSTOMERS COME FIRST
HIGH FREQUENCY:
With most common words used, the focus is on the customer
and the promise of supporting the customer.
Help, service and team are used to reassure the commitment
to helping customers
Shop and online are key to reminding customers there
are other ways to shop.
Brands are using will and help to demonstrate their commitment
to their customers.
Support and time are key to manage customer expectations
Brands are saying to their customers please and thank you.
There is a need for brands and customers to work together.
HIGH POSITIVE SENTIMENT SCORE: 
NEGATIVE SENTIMENT SCORE:
 COVID-19 is the official name of the virus and most used by brands.
Will is both positive and negative, the initial actions brands are
having to take are negative.
Government advice/law is the reason why brands
are taking this action. This is not the brands’ choosing.
POSITIVE
SEN
TIM
ENT
HIGH FREQUENCY
NEGATIVESENTIMENT
Support
W
ill
Us
Customer
Hel
p
Time
PartnerTeam
Colleague
Please
Thank you Online
C
O
VID-19Now
C
oronavirusStayWillG
overnmentAdviceNeedFuture
Help
Custom
er
Will
N
eed
Service
Support Home
W
orkin
g
BRAND
SENTIMENT
Words darker in colour and closer to the centre of the circle are used more frequently. 
74
BRANDS ARE
GIVING BACK
Free dominates the emotive
words used by brands.
We can see how brands have
sought to contribute positively
to the situation. Offering services
free and ensuring that customers
know that disruption won’t leave
them out of pocket.
There is an opportunity for
brands to use even more emotive
language more frequently such
as “love”, “trust”, “proud” and
“grateful” rather than terms
related to value and cost. 
EMOTIVE WORDS: FREQUENCY OF USE
free sure
love
trust
down
grateful positive proud
committed
75
IT’S TIME TO LOOK AHEAD
Brands have quite rightly been focussed on responding to the crisis.  It’s time
to begin to look ahead, responding to customer needs as they change rapidly
over the next few months. 
We have seen a decline in the search for Sport  Travel as the crisis has
progressed. COVID-19 has dominated search but towards the end of the month
we have started to see consumers searching for a broader range of topics.
Testing for the virus, food, business and employment have started to trend.
As the next month emerges, and we become more accustomed to the new
normal we expect these searches to broaden and diversify into a number
of topics related to life in lockdown.
SPORT
COVID-19
POSITIVE TEST
FOOD
FINANCE
BUSINESS
EMPLOYMENTTRAVEL
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Search Category
0
1000000
2000000
3000000
4000000
5000000
6000000
7000000
8000000
SearchVolume
Search trends:
March 2020
Google Trends data: UK search terms 1st March-31st March 2020
76
It is important that our changed circumstances, and the
crisis as a whole, is reflected sensitively throughout all
communications. ‘Business as usual’ is not relevant at the
moment and could lead to accusations of tone-deafness.
Brands need to react to customers’ needs and
serve relevant content first and foremost. It’s important
that the service message remains true to its purpose.
Once we move beyond core service messages this is
an opportunity for brands to expand their vocabulary.
Using positive  emotive language will help build
brand value. 
The art will be to chose a positive and emotive
tone that fits the brand and demonstrates sensitivity
to the circumstances. We’re working with a number
of brands to define their own flavour of positivity,
appropriate to the time.
The Economist’s tone is a conversation that invites you
to be part of a discovery. They’re a brand that expresses
itself in a way that’s as thought provoking and biting as
its content. For them, asking pointed questions about
how the crisis might develop will be key.
Audi is actually all about over simplification. Audi
drivers pay a premium to have things done for them
(keyless opening, mirrors that adjust themselves etc). In
our communications each interaction has a simple and
singular thought, minimum copy and a single button
for your next action. Frictionless, just like the ownership
experience – especially important at this time.
For PG we’re working to develop communications that
support their corporate brand mission to help people
Live, Learn and Thrive. Ensuring that our positivity has a
purpose at the heart of the home throughout the crisis.
PURPOSEFUL POSITIVITY
77
THANK
YOU
JOE BRAITHWAITE
MANAGING DIRECTOR
+44 (0) 780 3853 052
BRAITHWAITE.J@PROXIMITYLONDON.COM
Thank you to everyone involved in the creation of this document, those
named throughout and those working tirelessly behind the scenes to make
it happen. Special thanks should go to Hannah Pazda and Teii Sampaga
for design, as well as Francesco Perillo for editing skills extraordinaire.

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Proximity London - The New Normal

  • 1. 1 THE NEW NORMALHOW THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE SHOULD EVOLVE FOR A WORLD IN LOCKDOWN APRIL 2020
  • 2. 2 “THIS IS THE DAY, YOUR LIFE WILL SURELY CHANGE.​ THIS IS THE DAY, WHEN THINGS FALL INTO PLACE.”​ There has never in our lifetime been a more powerful global shared experience.​ Or a stronger sense of community. So, now the novelty is wearing off, it’s time to lift our eyes from the day to day and reflect more deeply on the new normal. Months not weeks – and potentially over a year – of disruption to our ways of working, living and interacting.​ How should brands that want to deliver excellent customer experiences negotiate these challenges? And, ultimately, how can they help people feel positively about this extraordinary time? Talking openly to your customers has never been more important. ​ People are looking for a sense of stability and continuity. So we believe our clients should be beacons of consistency, support and inspiration. That means moving beyond crisis communications to consider the impact this new normality will have on the whole customer experience. ​ Experiences must evolve.​ Many of our clients are already considering how they might change. Some will be compelled to by store closure and operational shut-down; others driven by a desire to serve people forced to live more isolated lives. You will no doubt be considering how targets will be met as the year moves on. There’s a danger that this becomes a race to the bottom. A desperate clutching at the pound in people’s pocket. If so, this is the wrong way round.​ People first. Last. Always.​ It is vital that we remain focussed on people. People whose needs have changed. People who are looking at brands to respond. Those brands that do this well can turn this crisis into a mutually beneficial opportunity. Building relationships and brand trust for the long term, rather than being seen to profiteer in the short term.​ This report provides some simple guidelines to help. Adam Fulford, Chief Strategy Officer, Proximity Matt Johnson – The The
  • 3. 3 ”In a world where people are increasingly focussed on the very basics of life and living, the truth is that we work more naturally at the top of the hierarchy of needs. We shape brands that create a sense of belonging and enable people to express themselves and their sense of identity. ​ So, at a time like this, it’s important that we remember marketing’s duty to serve and understand where and how we can make the right kind of difference. That is about brand stewardship and it’s about selfless creativity.”​ Richard Huntingdon ​ Chairman and CSO - Saatchi of people think ​brands should stop ​advertising in ​ response to Coronavirus Think brands should support them in ​their daily lives Say brands should ​inform them of ​what they’re doing Think companies ​ shouldn’t exploit the situation 8 78 74 75 % % % % Source: Kantar 2020
  • 4. 4 How people are reacting to the change and how relationships with brands must evolve. Key things to consider in evolving the customer experience. Specific opportunities we’re seeing in different client categories. How different brands have set the tone and how the way we speak is as important as what we say. 1. THE NEW NORMAL  2. GOLDEN RULES 3. SILVER LININGS 4. SETTING THE TONE CONTENTS
  • 5. 5 1. THE NEW NORMALAlexa Lynwood​- Strategist Jessica DiMaio​ - Strategist Chloe McMahon - Associate Strategy Director
  • 6. 6 As 1/3 of the world’s population are adjusting to life in lockdown, working remotely, virtual social gatherings, and total reliance on digital services are fast becoming the new norm.​ Businesses are adapting to serve their clients and customers during this time of fear and instability, but forward-planning is critical. ​ The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will shape our economy, politics and culture for years to come.​ And many of our long-held beliefs and behaviours will be changed forever. This section explores eight ways in which the Human experience has been changed fundamentally by life in lockdown. For brands to remain relevant it is important to understand and respond to them.
  • 7. 7 MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE 8HUMAN EXPERIENCES LOSS OF CONTROL RENEWED HEALTH SAFETY CONCERNS PHYSICAL DISTANCE SHIFTING PRIORITIES DISRUPTION OF HABITS UNCERTAINTY LACK OF VARIATION
  • 8. 8 LOSS OF CONTROL When things are happening in the environment around us that feel completely out of our hands, we clutch for ways to retain some level of control or influence, no matter how small or unconventional.
  • 9. 9 LOSS OF CONTROL ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  Stockpiling has become the new norm. At the beginning of March, 10% of UK consumers had already started. Supermarket shelves were quickly emptied, leaving insufficient essential supplies for those who need it most.​ 3.8m people over the age of 65 live alone in the UK, 58% of whom are over 75. Major supermarkets are operating special opening hours for these customers and rationing certain essential goods to make sure that the most vulnerable members of society don't miss out. There has been a reinvigorated sense of patriotism towards those working on the ‘front line’ of the COVID-19 crisis - including doctors, nurses, teachers, pharmacists, shop workers as well as politicians who are delivering daily briefings to the nation. ​ This sense of patriotism has long been linked to those in the armed forces – especially in the US – but the pandemic is making the public aware of other groups who deserve suitable recognition for their work.​ Empty shelves in Aldi​ Medic team at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital in Woolwich, SE London​ IF IN DOUBT, PANIC BUY REINVIGORATED PATRIOTISM Crises can truly bring out the best and the worst in humanity. Some seek to exploit the pandemic: evidenced in the rising number of opportunistic crimes seen in the UK. Crimes include theft of hospital resources, puncturing of ambulance tyres and stealing from foodbanks, as well as scamming elderly people on their doorsteps. ​ As the police are stretched beyond capacity people are taking it in their own hands to tackle anti-social, and ‘non-isolating’ behaviour. Armed vigilantes in Maine use a tree to block their neighbour into quarantine​ VIGILANTES VS OPPORTUNISTS
  • 10. 10 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  LOSS OF CONTROL The pandemic is a good time for brands – especially those with large global influence – to lead in empathy and offer comfort to consumers. Louis Vuitton struck the right balance between relief and sensitivity when posting heartfelt messages to customers in China on WeChat. They also were quick to help remedy panic buying by producing their own brand of hand sanitiser in their perfume factories. PROVIDING COMFORT Now is a time of anxiety and uncertainty for millions of customers. Services are being disrupted and people are facing challenges that they never imagined coming up against. When emotions are running high, understanding and honesty go a long way.​ Many brands have shifted to a more personal tone when things have gone wrong, admitting shortcomings, apologising for inconvenience, and reassuring customers of the steps being taken to minimise it. HUMAN TO HUMAN “Every paused journey will eventually restart. Louis Vuitton hopes you and your beloved ones stay safe and healthy.”​ Ocado Sainsbury’s
  • 11. 11 In the short term, consumers may find comfort in words of solidarity and clear, concise information. But, as the weeks and months pass, and lockdown measures are relaxed, they will look for practical tools to help them understand and regain control of their ‘new normal’.​ For example, those who have suffered financially may demand more streamlined management of utilities and finances, and want additional help planning for the future now that the business landscape has shifted.​ As more people become familiar with a greater range of digital services, some brands will have more data at their disposal than ever before. And the expectation for personally relevant solutions will be greater still.​ THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  LOSS OF CONTROL
  • 12. 12 People need people. The need for physical closeness among humans is extensively documented. One very practical, immediate side effect of self-isolation is a significant reduction, if not total loss, of ‘touch’ with other humans – with physiological, cultural and commercial repercussions. PHYSICAL DISTANCE
  • 13. 13 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  PHYSICAL DISTANCE Though we still have some way to go, recent years have seen a marked increase in the emphasis placed on the importance of mental health. And the speed at which it became a big part of the online conversation once self- isolation began in earnest, demonstrates the progress that has already been made.​ Many recognised the acute threat associated with people spending long hours alone in their homes and posted messages of support and solidarity.​ RENEWED ATTENTION TO MENTAL HEALTH ​ In 2011, Sherry Turkle (Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology) published a book called ‘Alone, Together’ – exploring the shift in relationships and communication as a result of our increased reliance on technology. She warned of a degradation of ‘real life’ interactions, as we come to rely on messaging services and social platforms.​ ALONE, TOGETHER, VIRTUALLY In the current crisis, there is a greater reliance than ever on the platforms that she argues have led to this behaviour. But the way people use them is evolving. Facebook shared evidence that use of video and voice calls on Messenger and WhatsApp have doubled, and ‘Houseparty’ – the video chat app allowing ‘spontaneous’ virtual get togethers with games and activities – saw over 2m downloads in the last week of March alone.
  • 14. 14 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  PHYSICAL DISTANCE Where possible, brands are still trying to maintain a presence at all times to answer and respond to customer comments and queries. As physical stores and businesses have shut, the in-person experience has been replaced with social media, websites and hotlines. But be prepared to face a flurry of complaints as systems will inevitably crash. BEING THERE 24/7 Many brands whose products bring people together or have a shared experience are finding ways to continue to do so. Brewdog have created an online bar with quizzes, games, and tastings with the co-founders. Netflix Party synchronises playback and includes a group chat feature so friends can discuss movies and shows as they watch. FACILITATING TOGETHERNESS ​Ford Credit (US) Ocado and other grocers responding to queries within minutes and around the clock​ Brewdog Online Bar​ Netflix Party
  • 15. 15 Brands who have been able to respond quickly and provide customers with the services and information they require in the most seamless, timely way will set the bar for others in the months to come.​ Whilst humans will always yearn for physical contact with other humans, brands could benefit from considering ways to monetise the increased familiarity and comfort with virtual group experiences. THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  PHYSICAL DISTANCE
  • 16. 16 DISRUPTION OF HABITS Social interaction aside, a significant number of the services we use and the activities we routinely engage in are no longer available to those in lockdown. As a result, people are experimenting with new ways to resolve their immediate needs and achieve longer-term goals.​
  • 17. 17 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  DISRUPTION OF HABITS For years, telemedicine has been on the side-lines, but the spread of Covid-19 is accelerating these services into the mainstream. As health services become overloaded, remote GP ‘visits’ are encouraged, helping to ensure that patients who need the most critical care will receive it. GROWTH IN TELEMEDICINE Ironing board badminton, balcony beer halls, and living room HIIT workouts. All over the world people are finding ways to recreate their everyday habits at home. Restaurant closures have seen a surge in home cooking, and country-wide school closures mean millions of parents have taken to educating their children at home.​ RECREATING THE WORLD IN THE HOME Between the 11th to the 18th of March 2020, Microsoft Teams’ daily active user base grew by 12 million to a total of 44 million users as businesses sought out remote working tools to help them remain operational during the pandemic. Some consider this virus as a societal wake-up call to the commercial benefits of more flexible and digital first ways of working. Others believe professionals will return to the office more appreciative than ever of the value of a physical shared workspace. SUDDEN DEMAND FOR REMOTE WORKING SOLUTIONS
  • 18. 18 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  DISRUPTION OF HABITS Many brands are adapting their services in order to inspire and motivate those stuck indoors, helping them make the best of their time, and quickly establish new routines. With most gyms in the UK now closed, fitness brands and influencers are keeping their customers/followers active with at-home workout plans and live exercise classes. This kind of constructive content helps people feel productive, whilst sustaining brand engagement. PROVIDING GENUINE UTILITY Given financial uncertainty, and the fact that some services cannot easily be digitised or performed remotely, many people are DIY-ing things they would usually pay for. Some brands have tapped into this behaviour, building relationships with their customers by helping them become more self-sufficient. Supermarkets are easing the pressures of home catering by providing tips for cooking with limited ingredients and making meals last. Bleach London has launched ‘Hair Party’, a virtual salon created to ease people into at-home haircare since they cannot attend salon appointments. EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO DIY PE with Joe Wicks New CH4 series ‘Keep Cooking Carry On’ with Jamie Oliver, inspired by store cupboard ingredients ​ Barry’s bootcamp streams live workouts on Instagram
  • 19. 19 Brands will come out of this crisis changed in unexpected ways. In business and at home people are becoming more open to exploring new ideas and innovations – a continued adaptation to ‘the new normal’. And even though people may not remain quite as self-sufficient once the pandemic is over, learned habits such as home cooking, virtual conferences, self-care and daily exercise will not be forgotten overnight.​ Brands that have encouraged and helped people form new behaviours today will be valued for helping people maintain those behaviours in the long term. Digital services that have proved themselves more convenient than their physical predecessors will live on. ​ THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  DISRUPTION OF HABITS
  • 20. 20 UNCERTAINTY An evolving global emergency can be an unsettling time for many. We depend on strong leadership from businesses, governments and brands to put our mind at ease. When experts fail, irrational behaviour has the potential to take over.
  • 21. 21 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  UNCERTAINTY Experts in the fields of health, science and statistics have been thrust into the limelight as the general public seeks the best advice during this time of extreme uncertainty. Boris Johnson happily shares his stage with Chris Whitty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer. Now implementing mass changes to society as we know it, how many people knew his name before COVID-19 took over? EXPERTS KNOW BEST  Anxiety in response to COVID-19 has in some cases metastasized into xenophobia and racism towards Asians as people seek scapegoats. In extreme cases this has resulted in physical attacks and verbal abuse. But it has also manifested itself in more subtle yet damaging ways, like declining sales for Asian businesses. Proof that not all groups are experiencing this crisis equally. THE PATHOGEN OF PREJUDICE Whilst most panic buyers prioritise soap and loo roll, others are stockpiling drugs to provide stress relief in these anxiety-inducing times. In the US, cannabis sales have rocketed as high as 75%. In the UK, consumers are hoarding painkillers like paracetamol in anticipation of being infected. This has led to national shortages of the drug, to the detriment of those with a genuine and immediate need. STOCKPILING DRUGS    SOLUTIONS Injuries of Jonathan Mok who was attacked on London’s Oxford Street in February Cannabis smoker PM Boris Johnson with experts Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance
  • 22. 22 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  UNCERTAINTY With safety and business protocols being updated almost daily, some brands are feeling the pressure to overload communications with information to ensure their customers are in the know. Though well intentioned, the number and complexity of Covid-19 related messages reaching consumers has been overwhelming. Concise, easily digestible language is vital for cut through and brands must decide when their customers need information, and when alternative forms of support are more appropriate. INFORMATION OVERLOAD As well the various crisis experts, for whom the public have a renewed respect, the pandemic and its consequences has revealed a number of everyday heroes. People are recognising that the hard work and indispensability of healthcare providers, delivery drivers and supermarket workers deserves to be noticed and celebrated. Many brands and service providers have taken this opportunity to thank their employees. THE NEW HEROES Daunting vs digestible – brands communicate information they deem essential Creature made shareable signs to thank the people who are still working in essential jobs during the coronavirus crisis
  • 23. 23 Trust in authority is fickle and brands have already shown their ability to help put consumers’ minds at ease in times of uncertainty. If the advice of experts fails to deliver an acceptably positive outcome for people and businesses, there could be an even greater opportunity for brands to step in and support where they can. By proving their reliability and altruism in testing times, brands can sustain engagement, protect their profitability, and enjoy reinvigorated respect in the long term. THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  UNCERTAINTY
  • 24. 24 LACK OF VARIATION Huge numbers of people are having their first experience of living and working in the same place, with the same people, doing the same things – for weeks on end. Whilst a stay-at-home lifestyle has its perks, the novelty can quickly wear off and many fear that they will turn stir-crazy well before the lockdown ends.​
  • 25. 25 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  LACK OF VARIATION Sales of intimate toys are on the rise as lockdown leaves many people with more time on their hands than they can fill. A recent YouGov survey found that Brits are admitting to having sex to ‘pass the time,’ on par with ‘taking up a new hobby’ or ‘playing board games’. Some experts are even anticipating a second baby-boom once the pandemic has subsided. LONELY HEARTS CLUB Lawyers are predicting that the increase in households isolating together is likely to spike the number of divorces and break-ups. With reduced personal time and space, family tensions are more likely to bubble to breaking point. And country-wide school closures could add even more pressure to strained relationships. Some local registries in China reported reaching the maximum number of divorces permitted by government at the pandemic’s height.  ​ CHANGING FAMILY DYNAMICS ESCAPISM When people in China were asked what activities they were engaging in most frequently at the height of quarantine, 58% reported watching ‘long-form video,’ and 54% were sleeping more to pass the time. Entertainment streaming services have experienced surges in viewership as those in lockdown try to alleviate boredom in the absence of live experiences. Frequent flyers in the US escape the monotony by daydreaming about their first post-lockdown getaway - 55% say they ‘may’ or will ‘likely’ purchase a future holiday whilst in self-isolation.​
  • 26. 26 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  LACK OF VARIATION The severity of this pandemic and its consequences for people all over the world cannot be understated. But some brands are balancing reassurance with humour to provide light relief from stress-inducing headlines. Sensitivity, however, should always be kept front of mind. RELIEF THROUGH HUMOUR Brands that exist to entertain are experimenting with ways to help their customers pass the time in lockdown. EA games reduced the price of The Sims 4 just days after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, allowing those in isolation to escape their situation and create a new virtual life. Museums, operas, theatre plays, and zoos all over the world have moved online, allowing people to live-stream culture from their living rooms. PROVIDING A MEANS OF ESCAPE Nando’s is called out for making light of the crisis with their pandemic-reactive ad mocking KFC’s famous slogan Wash Your Hands song generator, adds fun to imposed hygiene routines
  • 27. 27 Many French and Italian psychologists agree that the key to combating the negative psychological effects of long-term isolation is reminding people that their experience, and their pain, is shared by millions of others. However, despite all of our best efforts to stay busy and stay positive, when the isolation measures are finally relaxed brands need to be ready for the surge in demand for live experiences, in-person social activities, and travel. THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  LACK OF VARIATION
  • 28. 28 SHIFTING PRIORITIES A significant proportion of the population now have more time on their hands. This, added to a forced shift away from mindless consumerism, means many are taking the opportunity to re- evaluate and adjust what is really important in their lives.​
  • 29. 29 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  SHIFTING PRIORITIES Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort predicts that we are entering a ‘quarantine of consumption’ - meaning we will adjust to becoming happy with the simpler things in life as our buying habits and behaviour completely change. Edelkoort argues that we are currently being ‘forced to do what we should have done in the first place’. So this pandemic could be a time for us to reset our values – especially in our approach to the environment as planes are grounded and factory production is halted. A TIME FOR HUMAN RESET Galleries, museums, places of worship, theatres and festivals are just some of the many sites closing their doors to facilitate social distancing. These closures threaten the livelihood of millions of artists and the future existence of cultural venues, many of which rely on donations. With current access to shared experiences so severely limited, people are reminded of the importance of cultural institutions during times of need. Viewing art, for example, has been found to reduce stress and anxiety, increase motivation and act as a mood booster.  ARTISTIC INDUSTRIES ON THE EDGE #VIRALKINDNESS With a sharp focus being placed on the most vulnerable within society, the space and time afforded by self-isolation is breeding a wave of outreach from those in a position to help. Community-oriented behaviours such as helping vulnerable neighbours with their shopping or offering a friendly phone call to someone in need, are being revived and elevated to a global movement under the banner #viralkindness. This global solidarity in the face of a shared threat, although idealistic, could lead to greater long-term national functionality, and a decline in polarisation.
  • 30. 30 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  SHIFTING PRIORITIES Lockdown is not the time for brands to be seen to be competing with one another. Instead, consumers expect brands to exhibit a sense of shared responsibility, and rally together in the face of adversity to continue serving the nation. This has been seen in the UK grocery sector – a notoriously competitive arena – where supermarkets have temporarily set aside their differences to help feed the UK. WORKING IN HARMONY WITH COMPETITORS Since the pandemic began to unfold, some brands have been able to offer their goods/services for free – or at a discounted price. For example, Pret-a-Manger recently revealed that they would give NHS workers hot drinks for free and half price lunches, with many retailers following suit. This kind of activity not only helps keep up national morale – it can increase brand love and loyalty as the crisis develops. DISPLAYING GENEROSITY Gary Neville Ryan Giggs have opened up their inner-city Manchester hotels to NHS staff for free ‘Working to feed the nation’ statement from UK grocers Pret-a-Manger
  • 31. 31 The public’s expectation that brands should behave responsibly, and demonstrate a positive contribution to the environment, has risen steadily in recent years. The pandemic could likely see these factors move closer to the top of consumers’ decision making criteria. It will no longer be enough to pay lip service to CSR initiatives. So the ‘one-upmanship’ we’ve seen from brands competing to do the most good during the crisis should endure. And give rise to some truly innovative altruistic action, along with real headway in the battle against climate change. THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  SHIFTING PRIORITIES
  • 32. 32 RENEWED HEALTH SAFETY CONCERNS COVID-19 has changed the way we think about health and safety for good. Although sales of hand sanitiser are through the roof, bigger shifts are starting to occur – hygiene rules are changing the way we interact with one another, with implications for global industries.
  • 33. 33 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  RENEWED HEALTH SAFETY CONCERNS Although the last few decades have seen a decrease in social touch – attributed to the increasingly tech-driven, socially disconnected world we live in, as well as the ‘Me Too’ movement – COVID-19 is likely to embed these changes further. For example, while the two metre distancing rule is obviously designed to prevent infection during the pandemic, preventative measures such as this could result in a lasting negative association between touch, personal space and hygiene long after. Social touch and the emotions related to it may never be the same again. A DECLINE IN TOUCH Billions of people struggling with the reality of COVID-19 are seeking comfort in their faith. Congregational gatherings that are such a large part of many major religions can contribute to the spread of the virus. With social distancing now enforced across the world, the internet has quickly become a safe space to ‘worship from home’, with religious services becoming available via live stream.  RELIGION: A SAVIOUR A RISK WE’RE STAYING PUT Fear of catching or spreading the virus means consumers are choosing not to travel. Alongside this, travelling to and from many countries is also currently prohibited. Combined, the impact on the travel and tourism industries has been devastating. Those affected include US Airlines (employing 750,000 people), who will face bankruptcy without government intervention, BA who have been forced to cut its capacity by 75%, and EasyJet who have grounded all of its fleet.  US Department of Homeland Security Grand Mosque in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, shut amid coronavirus fears Empty airport check-in terminals
  • 34. 34 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  Brands can build and nurture consumer relationships by acting as a trusted source of information. Many brands have taken the initiative to actively promote government advice, such as Lush who invited in passers-by to wash hands in their sinks (using Lush products of course). In a recent survey by YouGov, the BBC was found to be the go-to source for COVID-19 related info – above Government and NHS sources – demonstrating the power that familiar and well-loved brands can hold during times of rising health and safety concerns. PROPAGATING INFO AND ADVICE Whilst health safety is of utmost importance, communications to customers must be as transparent as possible. A strong brand culture and a clear set of brand purposes are invaluable. Where appropriate, brands should be telling customers exactly what they are doing to ensure safety standards in line with real-time news: e.g. closing operations or deep cleaning stores. TRANSPARENCY COVID-19 advice from the WHO on TikTok Lush stores RENEWED HEALTH SAFETY CONCERNS
  • 35. 35 Though the pandemic has seen many people reassessing and improving their own personal hygiene habits, it shouldn’t take a global health crisis for a brand to do the same. As more questions and concerns will inevitably surface in the aftermath of this emergency, a redoubling of employee and customer safety, plus an ongoing commitment to transparent and truthful communications, should remain a priority. THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  RENEWED HEALTH SAFETY CONCERNS
  • 36. 36 MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE It has taken a global pandemic to reveal that our actions and our ways of thinking require fundamental revisions. Policies, practices and systems have been stretched by the virus – shining light on where we may have been ‘going wrong’ for years.
  • 37. 37 ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURAL PHENOMENA  MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE COVID-19 is a national emergency – manifesting itself in subsequent economic, health and political crises. However, the pandemic has also shone light on the UK’s long-standing social crisis. It has taken a novel virus to reveal that a quarter of adults in the UK have no savings – increasing to 50% of 22-30 year olds. 4.7m are employed in the unstable gig economy and 70% of small businesses suffer from cash flow issues even in ‘normal’ times.  Without drastic action sustained after the pandemic’s peak, a social crisis could persist, or even worsen. SHINING LIGHT ON A SOCIAL CRISIS NEW REFORMS IMMINENT New reforms especially in health and education are likely to occur in the aftermath of the pandemic. There are learnings from the HIV/AIDS crisis – where earlier reforms could have prevented millions of deaths – that governments could benefit from during this pandemic. The gay community – in response to mass government and societal failings – resorted to banding together and using their own collective knowledge to fight the HIV/AIDs virus. Reuters headline The UK’s strict new measures intended to ‘flatten the curve’ *True as of 23/03/20 As the virus ravages developed nations like the UK and US, it has shown individualist market systems to be ‘deeply unsuited at coping with an infectious pandemic’. Moves to ‘flatten the curve’ such as self-isolation and social distancing haven’t come easy: fundamentally because they mean we have to change our individualist thinking.  On the other hand, China – a socialist market economy – has started to rebound from the virus according to official figures. Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, has reported a fifth day without new cases* as strict, authoritarian lock down laws begin to be lifted. FROM INDIVIDUALISM TO AUTHORITARIANISM NHS top of the government agenda in daily briefings The Conversation headline
  • 38. 38 HOW BRANDS ARE RESPONDING  In a time where fake news and broken promises by those in power are commonplace, trust in authority, and by association trust in brands, is low. Brands that put their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting those in need are being praised by consumers and the media alike. WALK THE WALK Many brands have been slated for not looking after their staff in times of crisis. Not only can this be awful for short-term PR, long-term it can turn customers against your brand in the future, too. Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin has come under fire for telling his 40,000 staff to ‘get a job at Tesco’ as they face no pay for weeks. Virgin boss Richard Branson has been heavily criticised for making airline staff take 8-weeks of unpaid leave – with people going as far to label him the ‘real villain’ of the pandemic. STAFF TREATMENT AND BRAND PERCEPTION ARE CLOSELY LINKED Ethical clothing store Lucy Yak detailing the steps they are taking to protect their staff in a customer email LVMH factory line of hand sanitisers ‘Pay your staff’ graffitied on a Wetherspoons pub in South London MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
  • 39. 39 ‘Talk is cheap’ but enforcing real action can come at a high price. Brands that underwrite change or support worthy causes will have to ensure they can fund their promises, or risk damaging their future long after this virus is over. Only brands that sustainably fulfil these commitments in the long-term will come out on top. ​ THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE  MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
  • 40. 40 2. GOLDEN RULESAdam Fulford​- Chief Strategy Officer John Treacy​ - Executive Creative Director
  • 41. 41 We believe there are seven key rules that brands need to live by as they communicate with customers in lockdown, the following section provides a guide to them. REFLECT THE TIMES 1 BE CUSTOMER FIRST 2 DEFINE YOUR ROLE 3 CONNECT EVERYONE 4 CONSIDER THE JOURNEY 6 LISTEN AND EVOLVE 7 STEP UP COMMUNICATION 5 7 GOLDEN RULES
  • 42. 42 1. REFLECT THE TIMES It is fundamentally important for brands to be seen to respond and reflect the times we live in. ​ ​A ‘business as usual’ approach might seem tempting but without any acknowledgement of current events it could be seen as tone deaf.​ At the very least, brands need to ensure that they don’t do anything that runs counter to Government advice or adds to confusion.​ Every piece of communication should be reviewed in the context of our new normal. Consider how it should reflect the times both functionally and emotionally. ​ Sports Direct were forced to u-turn on their decision to stay open after claiming that they were essential for people staying home.​ Source: BBC News​ Chiquita’s redesigned logo showing that Miss Chiquita was already home drew significant backlash.​ Source: Adweek​
  • 43. 43 In response to the crisis,​ Pernod Ricard (and many ​other distillers) re-tooled ​production lines to produce badly needed ​ hand sanitiser.​ Skoda published guidance​on how to stay safe by disinfecting key areas of the car.​ Both Mercedes Benz and​Audi published colouring pages ​that were free to download. ​ KFC has partnered with​non- profit Blessing in the​Backpack to help provide​weekend meals to kids who​might have otherwise gone​hungry.​ Netflix Party allowed people to share their Netflix account with friends around the world for free.​ WhatsApp created a Covid-19 hub to combat misinformation shared on its platform in partnership​with the WHO, Unicef, the UN​Development program and the International Fact Checking Network. Headspace offered up ​ space on their platform​with free meditation, ​sleep and movement ​exercises. ​ UNDER ARMOR is helping fitness fans remain active​ while in confinement, by​ launching 30-day “Healthy at​Home” challenge.​
  • 44. 44 2. BE CUSTOMER FIRST In its simplest sense the lockdown has transformed media consumption for most people. ​ Internet usage has increased 71%. Whilst TV, digital, social, radio, digital audio and podcasts have seen large listening spikes, predictably cinema and out of home advertising have fallen (Source Kantar).​ We should be cognisant of both consumption changes and of how needs have evolved.​ As the lockdown has taken over people’s lives, we’re seeing subtle shifts in terms of customer need. People are re-appraising their priorities in line with their circumstances.​ Understanding what is more important for people today should inform any changes that brands make.​ myBurgerLab Malaysia is extending their services to the elderly and those with restricted mobility by paying their staff to run errands for them during the movement control order (MCO) period.​ Amazon offered the chance ​ to request at home access to ​Adobe CC products for Students and Educators.​
  • 45. 45 EMOTIONAL SERVICEPRODUCT Emotional needs are most powerful in changing behaviour Core needs satisfied by the product’s design Needs associated with the delivery and use of products, this area is especially heightened in a world in lockdown PEOPLE’S PRIORITIES HAVE FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THROUGH THEIR CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES. Freedom Social good Belonging Security Confidence Well being Thrill To be the person they want to be Success Stand-Out Price Convenience Efficiency Reliability Experience Design Performance Functionality Compatibility Empathy Transparency Information Accessibility Fairness Control Belonging + _ Researchers at Motista found that over 300 emotional motivators are at work behind customer purchase decisions. Source: Harvard Business Review.​ We're seeing that those above the line have become more important whilst those below have lessened in importance.
  • 46. 46 Uncertainty as to who should take responsibility; individuals, governments or corporations, for persistent large-scale, complicated issues. Companies are taking note of a wider range of threats emerging from culture demanding new practices and tools. People are rejecting secrets in favour of clarity and truth. People mistrust authority, leadership and institutions. BRAND ACTIVIST Brands are taking a stance on political, social, or ideological issues. ICON TOPPLING BLURRED RESPONSIBILITY CULTURE CENTRIC RADICAL TRANSPARENCY 3. DEFINE YOUR ROLE Don’t underestimate the importance of the role of your brand right now.​ People expect brands to take a stance, have an opinion and be a reference point today. This isn’t totally new, a number of trends were already leading to this prior to the lockdown. ​ Brands need to ensure all communications align to a central idea, and that this idea fits your brand.​
  • 47. 47 A SIMPLE BRAND FRAMEWORK It is vital that the direction you set be clear and simple.​ Something that places your brand in the moment in a positive sense, moving you from crisis response to positive contributor.​ A simple framework can be a powerful tool in aligning teams internally and agencies externally. We’ve found this one to be especially effective on a couple of clients.​ Align everything to your existing over-arching brand platform.​ Connecting to this is vital for credibility.​ Base your direction on a defined need people have in this period.​ What could your brand offer that no other could?​ How will you deliver on your role?​ Consider the mood of the nation. What does the public in general expect? How should this change the customer experience and communications?​ BRAND PLATFORM​ INSIGHT​ NATIONAL MOOD​ ROLE FOR BRAND​ STRATEGIC PLATFORM​ CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE​
  • 48. 48 4. CONNECT EVERYONE A single unified voice will be critical throughout this. Nobody needs things to be more complicated than they already are.​ Whilst your PR agency and lead Creative agency may have been first out of the blocks when the lockdown happened, it’s important that all agencies link arms.​ Then go further, consider how you might connect suppliers to your cause. Any sponsorships and partnerships you have in place could and should be used to amplify what you’re doing.​
  • 49. 49 5. STEP UP COMMUNICATION It’s easy to be consumed by immediate crisis communications and operational management.​ Brands that go beyond the basics to build affinity and love can shine in a crisis. ​ Consider all forms of communication and how it can build relationships with your customers at this time. That means everything from service communications to re-launch.​
  • 50. 50 WE’RE SEEING A VARIETY OF BRIEFS COME THROUGH, WITH OBJECTIVES IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS: Ensure personal relationships are maintained as services are disrupted SERVE REPOSITION EMPATHISE GIVE BACK RE-LAUNCH Pivot product and service models,creating totally new communications Show empathy with social communications that bring warmth and add value Go further, considering what your business can do to give back to the community Plan ahead for a world post- lockdown. Other countries have seen a surge in consumption following previous pandemics.
  • 51. 51 6. CONSIDER THE​ JOURNEY We need to be sure that communications at his time do not add to confusion or frustration. It’s especially important that we consider the impact our calls to action might have on call centres for example. ​ We’re recommending that each point in the customer journey be reviewed in the context of new customer and operational circumstances. ​ Calls to action on all communications from conversion through to engagement, loyalty and win-back need to deliver simple effective experiences that can be fulfilled.​
  • 52. 52 7. LISTEN EVOLVE There has never been a more important time to listen, learn and evolve fast. ​ Businesses have had to evolve rapidly as the lockdown has been put in place. They should be prepared to continue to do so as we feel our way through this.​ It is highly likely that the public mood will move through a number of significant phases. Reactions to stress, anxiety, fear and isolation will be strong and will heighten responses to any advertising messages.​ It’s important to adopt agile ways of working, reviewing hard performance and social reactions among audiences daily. ​ This chart from Canvas8 shows the historic phases of emotional response to pandemics. We need to be prepared for and adapt to ​these stages in our customers.​
  • 53. 53 3. SILVER LININGS​Adrian Hoole​- Strategy Director Anna Cole​- Strategy Director Anna Laird​- Strategy Director Han-Son Lee - Strategy Director​ Richard Colvile​ - Senior Strategist
  • 54. 54 RETAIL​ The Retail sector faces significant disruption over the coming months and years. Like all forms of disruption there will be those businesses that are able to respond and those that get caught out. We’ve pulled together an overview of how we think retail brands can respond to the tidal wave of change on the horizon.​ SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​ 1. How people shop is set to change and there are opportunities for brands that are able to adapt.​​ 2. What people buy in the future is likely to be affected by the current restrictions on human movement and product availability that they experience today. ​​
  • 55. 55 RETAIL HOW PEOPLE SHOP  ONLINE​ Much has been said about the disrupting force of technology on our highstreets. But until recently, adoption has been modest. The UK boasts the second largest Ecommerce as a share of retail, behind China – however that only amounts to just over 20% (2019 ONS). ​ But as the technology adoption lifecycle for ecommerce is being artificially squeezed by necessary government measures, people are being forced online. As a result, the ratio of online to instore (along with the general adoption of virtual technologies) is set to skyrocket. ​ PHYSICAL Lockdown has meant our physical experiences have become extremely limited. Simply put, we can no longer shop where we want, whenever we want. People are buying into brands or categories they’ve never bought into before, due to unforeseen needs and demand outstripping normal supply (Kantar Worldwide, Mar 2020). They are also shopping more locally. ​ It has not only thrown out the consumer spending patterns and predictive modelling that retailers rely so heavily on – it’s also removed an essential part of the retail experience: face-to-face service. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers have newfound confidence in ecommerce, giving retailers the opportunity to scale cheaply. 2. Consumers will be more likely to adopt virtual technologies e.g. virtual show rooms/stores as part of their purchase journey. 3. The normalisation of click and collect and drive through services also presents an opportunity to bridge the physical and virtual worlds. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Greater appreciation of the human connection means consumers will seek more, not less, service support for important purchase decisions. 2. Consumers preferring to shop locally and make more sustainable choices will seek brands that play a positive role in their community. 3. Consumers will shift from being frustrated over a lack of choice and availability, to being overwhelmed by choice in a post-COVID-19 world.
  • 56. 56 RETAIL WHAT PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE SELECTIVE WITH THEIR PURCHASES​ COVID-19 has already redefined what people buy. For many, it is the first time they have ever had to live with the challenges of having a limitation on product availability. This has led to many reassessing their purchases, evaluating the type of products they want to spend their money on and realising what they can live without. After all, 7 in 10 people think the economy will get worse and two-thirds think they will be personally affected (IPSOS Mori - Mar 2020). ​ It is these economic constraints that are necessitating a fresh approach to consumption, one that prioritises ‘needs’ over ‘wants’ and favours retail brands that can be relied upon to help people through these unprecedented times. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers diverting their attention to products positioned as reliable, long-lasting and serving an essential purpose. Resulting in, for example, luxury retailers experiencing a downturn in demand. 2. Increased demand for products that reinforce ‘Fortress Home’ – making us feel in-control and enabling us to meet needs that have been disrupted. Resulting in, for example, Gym closures caused by a surge in demand for home exercise equipment. 3. Participation in pro-social behaviour – products that increase human well-being and the greater collective. Resulting in, for example, increased sales for Facebook Portal devices.
  • 57. 57 RETAIL THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY NOW​ PROVIDING ENHANCED SUPPORT AND PRO-ACTIVE SOLUTIONS ​ NEXT BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND PROVIDING INSPIRATION FUTURE TRANSFORMING THE RETAIL EXPERIENCE​ 1. Guide and support consumers using new remote / online retail services for the first time.​ 2. Strengthen initiatives that support local communities and promote temporary local services / collection points.​ 3. Pro-actively suggest alternative products and services when availability is limited.​ 1. Invite customers to try new tools and remote services while they have more time at home.​ 2. Create content relevant for local communities and audiences.​ 3. Inspire consumers to explore new categories and products, with next best recommendations.​ 1. Create multi-faceted and connected shopping experiences with people at the heart of its service (whether that be in-person or remotely).​ 2. Engage in community focused marketing initiatives and build relationships with local suppliers / producers.​ 3. Work collaboratively to provide curated shopping experiences and marketplaces.​
  • 58. 58 AUTOMOTIVE​ The Automotive sector is facing a challenging time. Supply has paused​ With factories closed around Europe and only a handful of Asian and South American manufacturers open, the impact of the coronavirus on car manufacturing has been catastrophic. In the UK alone, a drop of 200,000 in new car production* is expected in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.​ Demand has plummeted​ With people experiencing a period of significant economic uncertainty, they are cancelling orders for new vehicles. With every expense being scrutinised, people are putting off buying high ticket items that are not completely essential.​ Restriction of movement means car and van journeys are greatly reduced. Italy has seen a 70% reduction of road traffic since the start of the crisis.​ SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​ 1. The way people move around and the journeys they do make have become more precious than ever before 2. How people research, buy and communicate has changed and there is new opportunity for car brands to drag their customer experiences into the 21st century *Manufacture news March 2020/ Fleet News March 2020​
  • 59. 59 AUTOMOTIVE HOW PEOPLE MOVE AROUND A time of lockdown has forced people into limiting their journeys, the amount of time they spend away from their locality and the way they spend their free time.​When the rules are relaxed, we can indulge in greater freedom of movement, with a renewed interest.​ However, modes of transport will also be subject to scrutiny like never before. People in cities such as Wuhan have seen ‘markedly lower’ pollution levels since the lockdown​. When we return to a life of normality, there will be even stronger arguments for carless cities and greener public transport. These will be countered by the view that those travelling by cars and vans have a much reduced risk of contracting the coronavirus compared to public transport.​ OPPORTUNITIES Renewed excitement from freedom of movement​ After a period of isolation and restriction, people are going to be doing more, moving more and appreciating every new journey they do make. ​ Therefore there is an opportunity for Automotive brands to harness this renewed freedom and inspire people to make every journey they do take more fulfilling through in-car tech and inspiring content.​ Cleaner mobility​ People in busy cities are more likely to contract the coronavirus. Consequently, the cleanliness of public transport has been exposed to more scrutiny than ever before.​ This is an opportunity to push Electric vehicles as the cleanest way to travel for people and the planet. *The Guardian 2020​
  • 60. 60 AUTOMOTIVE HOW PEOPLE INTERACT WITH CAR BRANDS Lockdown means people are changing the way they buy, experience and communicate day- to-day.​From virtual dinner parties, a surge in online shopping and huge increase in Zoom, Houseparty downloads and live online events.​ Ecommerce is becoming more crucial to everyday existence. Large audiences in the UK who have never done online banking or online shopping are now transacting this way. ​ Adoption of resources such as Babylon means people are even discussing things that they would normally only do face to face with their doctor.​ OPPORTUNITIES 1. Ecommerce – trust in online selling has increased so it is a good time to launch automotive ecommerce platforms​ 2. As reliance on online platforms has increased, there is an opportunity to push contactless services – such as virtual dealers, virtual test drives and consultations ​ 3. Self-service servicing. A pause in MOTs, plus a reduction in service centres means people are having to carry out regular maintenance checks on their vehicles *Image: The BBC ‘Pop stars live-stream concerts from home to combat isolation’​
  • 61. 61 AUTOMOTIVE THE OPPORTUNITY NOW​ IN A PERIOD OF LOCKDOWN, BEING RESPONSIBLE ABOUT WHEN WE PROMOTE OUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES NEXT ​GREATER INSPIRATION ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY JOURNEY​ (CONTENT FOCUS) FUTURE A MORE CONTACTLESS, DIGITAL CAR BUYING EXPERIENCE​ (CHANNEL FOCUS) 1. Provide car and van care maintenance tips for people at home​ 2. Only promote vans and cars to businesses and people in need​ 3. Manage the stock they already have – get it to people who need it 1. Create personal inspirational content about how to make the most of freedom again​ 2. Tie it to car technology such as self parking cars, remote start up, keyless technology​ 3. Drive interest in ‘cleaner’ cars and their benefits to the environment and customers​ 1. Car brands invest in virtual dealers, virtual test drives​ 2. Ordering and buying cars online from manufacturers becomes more widespread​ 3. More active promotion of EVs​ 4. Supply issues are overcome by using technology to show consumers which vehicles are in stock
  • 62. 62 STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD)​ COVID-19 is carving a life-altering new normal as people forge novel ways to connect, stay informed and keep their minds occupied. ​ As the living room routine becomes consumers’ reality, SVOD brands have a unique opportunity to underpin evolving daily habits and routines. ​ Streaming platforms can become the balm to uncertainty by filling the lockdown void. In this way, they will establish themselves as an indispensable part of people’s lives to drive long-term loyalty. ​ Let the Streaming Wars commence!​ SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​ New viewing behaviours​ How people watch live and on-demand shows is likely to alter as people shift away from solitary viewing and look to brands to help them connect from afar. New audiences​ Audiences that engage with SVOD platforms in the future are likely to diversify as older generations adopt activities suited to their home-based hub.
  • 63. 63 STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD) NEW VIEWING BEHAVIOURS​ Underscoring people’s desire to feel united, people are tuning into video to tune into one another’s lives. ​ Brands such as Instagram are launching media sharing for users to view posts simultaneously over Video Chat. Meanwhile Netflix Party points to the power of people’s desire to stay connected over virtual experiences. ​ In a life lived at home, traditional live viewing is also evolving. Viewership for Facebook Live has increased by 50% since January in the U.S. ​ With little to differentiate between Saturday and Monday night, the chance to stream shows live rather than watch them later on-demand offers people the chance to enjoy shared social moments at specific times. THREE THINGS STREAMING BRANDS SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW 1. Provide services that help consumers maintain the social moments they’ve always enjoyed. By adding a sense of normality to a life turned upside down, streaming services can become fundamental in people’s pro-social habits. 2. ​Inspire new watching patterns through live streaming and live broadcast TV. As people’s habitual behaviours are broken by the pandemic, soaps, news, regular slots and family shows have the chance to reaffirm people’s schedules. 3. Cultivate community to aid programme discovery. With people turning to their peers for tips, tricks and recommendations to help them through crises, streaming brands have the opportunity to help communities recommend favourites and make sharing shows seamless.
  • 64. 64 STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD) NEW AUDIENCES From escapist entertainment to expert education, SVOD platforms are becoming a cornerstone of uncertain times. Globally, over 50% of people are watching more streaming services as a result of staying at home. Yet streaming services have been primarily used by younger audiences. In 2019, over half of SVOD users were under 35 with just 14% of viewers aged between 45- 54 years old. ​ Those over 35 have previously missed out on the benefits of on-demand viewing: entertainment curated around their personal interests and available to watch at any time. ​ With more time at home to reflect on their own interests, SVOD brands will attract a broader audience to adopt their services. THREE THINGS STREAMING BRANDS SHOULD DO RIGHT NOW 1. Drive home the benefits of personalised viewing to attract older customers and delight existing subscribers​ 2. ​Incentivise new viewers outside their traditional audiences with free trial subscriptions and limited time upgrade trials​ 3. Demonstrate the benefits of anytime, anywhere viewing as the perfect accompaniment to ‘the new normal’, as people adapt to new viewing routines and cycles
  • 65. 65 THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY STREAMING SERVICES (SVOD) NOW​ CULTIVATE COMMUNITY AND GIVE-BACK TO AUDIENCES NEXT REWARD CUSTOMERS FOR THEIR LOYALTY FUTURE A CORNERSTONE OF HUMAN CONNECTION 1. By creating experiences designed to be shared virtually, SVODs have the opportunity to become a social pillar in people’s lives. ​ 2. Lean in on social proof. Make it easy for people to share recommendations with peers and help people feel a sense of community in their viewing experience.​ 3. Attract new, older audiences with free platform trials tailored to the kind of content they love. ​ 1. As people tighten their belts post COVID-19, they may experience subscription fatigue and look to narrow the services they use. ​ 2. The brands that will win the streaming wars will not just match their customers’ content cravings but reward them with privileged content access, unique viewing opportunities and other tangible expressions of value, such as events linked to shows they love. ​ 1. Curate mood-based viewing. People are beginning to turn to SVODs throughout their day when they are experiencing everything from uncertainty to hopefulness. ​ 2. Where content has been typically segmented by genre and recommendations based on past viewing habits, mood-matching responds to viewers changing mindset within their daily routine. ​
  • 66. 66 FMCG For the first time in many generations, the whole world is experienced a new form of FMCG – Not Fast Enough Moving Consumer Goods.​ As supply chains struggle with the new demands being placed on them from previously staple products, and in a time where everyday essentials threaten to become the new gold, adjusting to a new reality of FMCG may have bigger consequences than first meets the eye.​ SUMMARY OF OPPORTUNITY​​ 1. Product essentials being prioritised means traditional FMCG brands will have opportunity to strengthen their position and drive their innovation quicker to market. 2. How people shop is set to change and there are opportunities for brands that are able to adapt to new local norms.​
  • 67. 67 FMCG WHAT PEOPLE BUY SEEKING LOCAL ALTERNATIVES With the disruption of global supply chains, ongoing trade wars that drive up prices for imported goods, people are seeking local product alternatives. ​ Under this new reality, companies will be forced to actively consider ways to diversify their supply chains and reduce their dependence on any single country. ​ We will be seeing rises in small, regional brands, providing local competition and decentralised alternatives – as long as they can deliver to a consistent scale. ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS Consumer concern about sustainability and environmental impact is set to increase as pandemic exposes the vulnerability of our ecosystems.​ Activist groups are calling on various levels of Government to prioritise supporting greener and sustainable industries and companies after the crisis. ​ FMCG brands may need to rethink their end-to-end product life cycle to meet the new consumer expectations. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers will seek brands and products that use local ingredients and rely on regional production. 2. Production disruptions, largely due to logistical issues, will pose challenges to food supply chains and food brands. Consumers are likely to be impacted through higher prices or forced to choose less-preferred alternatives. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers will expect brands to play a much more active role in tackling the looming environmental disasters. 2. Governments and international organizations will play much larger role in driving the environmental agenda. 3. A brand’s focus on how it treats and manages its people will come into the public eye at greater speed than ever.
  • 68. 68 FMCG HOW PEOPLE BUY EXPANSION OF E-COMMERCE As people get used to shopping online for a large variety of products and services, we will see the emergence of new forms of e-commerce solutions for FMCG brands that work locally and directly to the consumer. ​ Brands will consider a larger reliance on O2O platforms for local delivery in the future, potentially shifting some demand away from e-commerce giants. ​ DTC business models will also morph and take new forms in response to Covid-19. The cloud-based e-commerce company Shopify has seen its stock surge amid Covid-19, a testament to a move towards direct e-commerce presence for a variety of brands. PRIORITISING ESSENTIALS After the 2008 recession, industrywide structural changes allowed the consumers greater access and choice to the products. For some companies, this period of accelerating competition paved the way to success, while others struggled to survive, or lost the battle altogether.​ Covid-19 crisis is expected to wipe out mid-market brands with high debt levels and startups without a clear path to profitability.​ Traditional FMCG brands like Unilever or PG have so far been less affected and are faring quite well, as consumers prioritise essentials. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers will develop a repertoire of shopping behaviours online, moving away from reliance on one e-retailer for all product categories. 2. FMCG brands need to reconsider how their marketing approach will fit with the new e-commerce boom. In the offline environment, successful FMCG brands have applied shopper marketing strategies to help people make intuitive choices while driving sales. 3. To protect their market share in the New Normal, FMCG brands need to leverage retailer relationships and perfect their presence on more online touchpoints that are relevant to different consumer types​. OPPORTUNITIES 1. Consumers will revaluate their purchases in response to anxiety and financial pressures, so brands should consider emphasizing value and price. 2. It is common for people to be sticking to the brands they know during the time of crisis and uncertainty. Anxiety and nostalgia go hand in hand — when times are tough, people tend to reminisce about what can seem like simpler times. Brands can act as comfort blankets.
  • 69. 69 THREE HORIZONS OF OPPORTUNITY FMCG NOW​ PROVIDING SOLUTIONS THAT DRIVE GENUINE UTILITY NEXT BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND RE-ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NEEDS FUTURE ​TRANSPARENCY OF SUPPLY CHAINS WILL BECOME A KEY BRAND COMPONENT 1. Whether it’s brands providing free products or expanding their CSR, there is a consensus on brands supporting consumers, their people and the wider community.​ 2. For some brands, this will mean being more pro-active, suggesting alternative services and product uses when availability is limited. 1. ​Brands need to adopt a more agile and data driven approach to marketing planning, constantly evaluating the changing customer segments and needs, and nimbly adjusting strategies, tactics.​ 2. ​Inviting customers to try new product offering, delivery options and services that have been developed in response to the changing consumer behaviours.​ 1. The Employer Brand and Consumer Brand are set to become one a lot faster than ever before.​ 2. Community focused marketing initiatives and building relationships with local suppliers / producers will be a vital opportunity for brands.​
  • 70. 70 4. SETTING THE ​TONE​Kate Amos - Head of Data Hannah Thomason - Data Planner Daryl Swinden - Senior Data Director
  • 71. 71 As customers, we have all experienced a surge in the number of emails we receive daily. Brands are wanting to keep us updated on how they are reacting to the Crisis and how this is changing day by day. ​ When considering how to engage over the next months it’s important to define the tone you want to set across all communications at this time. Every brand will need to approach things in their own way. For some a dry service led approach will be necessary, for others a warmer celebration of life in lockdown might be appropriate.​ Before we set the tone we need to understand the current sentiment brands are using.​ Our Data Science team have used Natural Language Processing to analyse emails from over 140 brands during the period 6th March - 29th March. We wanted to understand the sentiment of the language brands are using and the content topics.​ Based on this insight, we have some ideas about how brands can use sentiment to improve the way they communicate with their customers during this very difficult time. ​
  • 72. SERVICE HAS BEEN THE FIRST PRIORITY Analysis of sentiment in emails has demonstrated how brands have reacted at speed to a rapidly changing environment and taken a customer centric approach. Subject line: COVID-19 dominates the subject line. From: Emails are coming directly from the CEO/Founder and personally addressing their customers. This is demonstrating how seriously brands are treating the situation.  Format: Brands are using long form informative emails to support and inform their customers. Service messages: Brands are reaching customers who they have a direct relationship with but who are not opted into marketing communications. Brands must ensure that they remain within the restrictions of service messages. 72
  • 73. 73 CUSTOMERS COME FIRST HIGH FREQUENCY: With most common words used, the focus is on the customer and the promise of supporting the customer. Help, service and team are used to reassure the commitment to helping customers Shop and online are key to reminding customers there are other ways to shop. Brands are using will and help to demonstrate their commitment to their customers. Support and time are key to manage customer expectations Brands are saying to their customers please and thank you. There is a need for brands and customers to work together. HIGH POSITIVE SENTIMENT SCORE:  NEGATIVE SENTIMENT SCORE:  COVID-19 is the official name of the virus and most used by brands. Will is both positive and negative, the initial actions brands are having to take are negative. Government advice/law is the reason why brands are taking this action. This is not the brands’ choosing. POSITIVE SEN TIM ENT HIGH FREQUENCY NEGATIVESENTIMENT Support W ill Us Customer Hel p Time PartnerTeam Colleague Please Thank you Online C O VID-19Now C oronavirusStayWillG overnmentAdviceNeedFuture Help Custom er Will N eed Service Support Home W orkin g BRAND SENTIMENT Words darker in colour and closer to the centre of the circle are used more frequently. 
  • 74. 74 BRANDS ARE GIVING BACK Free dominates the emotive words used by brands. We can see how brands have sought to contribute positively to the situation. Offering services free and ensuring that customers know that disruption won’t leave them out of pocket. There is an opportunity for brands to use even more emotive language more frequently such as “love”, “trust”, “proud” and “grateful” rather than terms related to value and cost.  EMOTIVE WORDS: FREQUENCY OF USE free sure love trust down grateful positive proud committed
  • 75. 75 IT’S TIME TO LOOK AHEAD Brands have quite rightly been focussed on responding to the crisis.  It’s time to begin to look ahead, responding to customer needs as they change rapidly over the next few months.  We have seen a decline in the search for Sport Travel as the crisis has progressed. COVID-19 has dominated search but towards the end of the month we have started to see consumers searching for a broader range of topics. Testing for the virus, food, business and employment have started to trend. As the next month emerges, and we become more accustomed to the new normal we expect these searches to broaden and diversify into a number of topics related to life in lockdown. SPORT COVID-19 POSITIVE TEST FOOD FINANCE BUSINESS EMPLOYMENTTRAVEL Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Search Category 0 1000000 2000000 3000000 4000000 5000000 6000000 7000000 8000000 SearchVolume Search trends: March 2020 Google Trends data: UK search terms 1st March-31st March 2020
  • 76. 76 It is important that our changed circumstances, and the crisis as a whole, is reflected sensitively throughout all communications. ‘Business as usual’ is not relevant at the moment and could lead to accusations of tone-deafness. Brands need to react to customers’ needs and serve relevant content first and foremost. It’s important that the service message remains true to its purpose. Once we move beyond core service messages this is an opportunity for brands to expand their vocabulary. Using positive emotive language will help build brand value.  The art will be to chose a positive and emotive tone that fits the brand and demonstrates sensitivity to the circumstances. We’re working with a number of brands to define their own flavour of positivity, appropriate to the time. The Economist’s tone is a conversation that invites you to be part of a discovery. They’re a brand that expresses itself in a way that’s as thought provoking and biting as its content. For them, asking pointed questions about how the crisis might develop will be key. Audi is actually all about over simplification. Audi drivers pay a premium to have things done for them (keyless opening, mirrors that adjust themselves etc). In our communications each interaction has a simple and singular thought, minimum copy and a single button for your next action. Frictionless, just like the ownership experience – especially important at this time. For PG we’re working to develop communications that support their corporate brand mission to help people Live, Learn and Thrive. Ensuring that our positivity has a purpose at the heart of the home throughout the crisis. PURPOSEFUL POSITIVITY
  • 77. 77 THANK YOU JOE BRAITHWAITE MANAGING DIRECTOR +44 (0) 780 3853 052 BRAITHWAITE.J@PROXIMITYLONDON.COM Thank you to everyone involved in the creation of this document, those named throughout and those working tirelessly behind the scenes to make it happen. Special thanks should go to Hannah Pazda and Teii Sampaga for design, as well as Francesco Perillo for editing skills extraordinaire.