Return on Involvement

April 9th 2020

2020 is cancelled. And everyone is trying to navigate this new reality. Although the road is unclear, the long-term consequences of our actions have to be considered. As brands need to engage even more, the changing principles of authenticity and modern leadership will prompt future change.

Nobody doubts that we are living unsettling, difficult and disruptive times. We are witnessing history in the making, as this COVID-19 crisis unfolds.
Consumers, businesses and brands are experiencing dramatic - partly uncontrolled - changes at unseen speed. COVID-19 will change how we eat, work, shop, exercise, manage our health, socialize and spend our free time.

In the near future, new rules and regulations will settle in, with ups and downs. Travel restrictions, privacy 2.0 and new legal frameworks will be enforced top-down while changing behaviours are embraced bottom-up. Working from home, a redefined work/life balance and innovative e-health tools are here to stay.

So, how can brands and businesses respond? On the one hand, this crisis shapes new opportunities, on the other hand, there is a clear need for balance, nuance and sensitivity.

“Crises are an opportunity to make companies pivot in an uncomfortable way”
- TBWA letter from China

Two key patterns are emerging that make leading brands and businesses stand out.
Smart authenticity. Netflix supporting the film production industry, IKEA’s ‘rediscover your home’ and Ford’s appeal to support America are all genuine responses of brands staying close to their true heartland.
Act now and solve real problems. Modern leaders are stepping up, not just by raising their voice, but by actually doing things and offering their services and expertise. Telenet is giving extra TV-entertainment to retirement homes. Delhaize launches solidarity promotions and BMW Belgium turns its test fleet into transport for essential professions.
In other words,

“Measure your impact on humanity not in likes but in the lives you touch, not in popularity but the people you serve.”
- Tim Cook, CEO Apple.

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Günther Van Lany Strategic Director April 9th 2020

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