Today’s turbulent times offer brands the opportunity to fill the leadership gap and provide real solutions.
Written by: John Clark, Strategy Director
“It’s not a problem, it’s a growth opportunity”. The often-repeated words of an early boss came flooding back while listening to the speakers at the ‘Navigating Tough Times’ event last month. Kate Waters, Director of Client Strategy and Planning at ITV, Consumer Sustainability Expert and Author Georgina Wilson-Powell, and Shazia Arshad, Head of Communications and Creative Content, at Islamic Relief UK each shared their insights and inspiration for brands to not just survive – but thrive – in the face of the current polycrisis.
Each speaker acknowledged that things are undeniably tough right now. But while solutions may be in short supply and guidance is often lacking from the institutions we look to – this can be an opportunity for brands to fill the leadership gap and to act and provide real solutions. From Iceland’s provision of micro-loans to John Lewis’ fanfare-free stocking of Aab modest clothing, in times like these, actions truly speak louder than words.
But that’s not to say it’s easy. All the speakers stressed the importance of doing your homework – and then doing some more. To go beyond surface-level understanding and into a deeper knowledge, to understand not merely behaviours but the motivations, values and beliefs that drive them. Shazia brought this to life beautifully with two contrasting examples, a tone deaf and clumsy action from a make-up brand at Ramadan compared with Tesco’s Ramadan posters which connected to the value of togetherness, not merely the behaviour of breaking fast. And Kate, bringing us insights from ITV’s ‘Race to the Top’ research, talked of going beyond low price and even value, and instead thinking of fairness – an apparently uniquely British word. She brought this to life with a story of Octopus boss, Greg Jackson, receiving a grilling on energy costs on the Martin Lewis show but emerging unscathed by taking the time to explain and playing to the notion of fairness.
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