When life gives you lemons: Turning disruption into lemonade

As COVID-19 changes consumer behaviour and forces brands to pivot, what can you do to succeed?
30 September 2020
lemons disruption
Nina Rahmatallah

Chief Client Officer, UK

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As part of day one of Kantar Talks, I spoke to Elaine Rodrigo (RB), James Watt (Brewdog) and Ollie Lloyd (Hearst) about what it takes to pivot amid constraint.

It is clear it’s been a challenging time for everyone – professionally and personally. It is also clear that pivoting is hard at the best of times, let alone at the worst of times. In a recent study with 4.5k organisations around the world we saw that only 5% had not been impacted by events of the last 6 months. Only around half of organisations had been able to pivot to meet changing consumer needs and demands. Around the same amount had (or planned to) put more focus on building ecommerce focus/capabilities (a low proportion considering the surge to digital), and only around a third had been able to do more to support society and local communities, despite the ever increasing desire from consumers for brands to do so.

As we face the reality of a global economic recession and the potential for a second wave in many markets around the world, the only thing that will likely remain the same is the ongoing change and the need to continue to pivot… or start to pivot, if you are in an organisation that has not yet done so.

So what advice do we have to help you? Six things to keep in mind:

1. Create a community

Get closer to the people you serve in whatever way you can. Think about how you can involve them in what you do. Make them part of the thinking process. They will be your advocates.

2. Prioritise the experience

In a digital world, this is the thing that sets the winners apart from the rest. As people, we crave experiences… now more than ever. Make sure your digital experience delivers. Not just on the functional but on the emotional front too.

3. Think dynamic & make data-driven decisions

This will serve you well, but it requires having the basics in place. Put time into having the foundations ready – because of course a pivot requires an anchor. Have a plan, and start getting closer to consumer behaviour change now, even if you have to pivot (again) to track different consumers and different behaviours in the future. And explore how to predict the future rather than measure the past. The right partners can help you.

4. Be human

Do your Zoom calls in your car with your kids climbing all over you. Have virtual meetings in your living room in your pyjamas, drinking beer from a mug (if you want to channel James Watt!). Be you, and don’t feel guilty about it. This is the great value we will all take from these challenging times: an understanding of what it means to be our authentic selves. To invite others to do the same. To look out for each other; to be kind. To be humans not just professionals.

5. Do something you believe in

If you don’t believe in it don’t do it. Life is too short. Period.

6. Start now

Especially on the big hairy topics. Like digital transformation. Like purpose. Be brave. Make a plan (any plan is better than no plan). Take the first step. Remember, it might feel like you’ve got to eat an elephant. And you can, if you break it down into chunks. So take that first step. Do it. Do it now.

Watch this session, and others from Kantar Talks, on demand here.

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