More than two-thirds (69%) of businesses expected to end the second half of 2020 in decline, according to Global Business Compass, Kantar’s survey of about 4,500 business leaders around the world. Twenty-seven percent expect that recovery from the impact of Covid-19 will take at least two years, and about two in three leaders don’t feel like they have the right operating model to be competitive.

Kantar identified three imperatives for marketers to support their business’s rebound and recovery. The first focused on embracing a purpose-led strategy; the second was about digital transformation;  and the third relates to organisational performance: how do you set yourself up for success? Recovery will require businesses to make changes to old ways of working and significantly review and invest in organisational performance.

The Covid-19 pivot

During the pandemic, only 20% of businesses experienced growth. Fifty-nine percent of the companies that achieved growth, or didn’t suffer any losses, pivoted their business model. More than a quarter invested more in innovation.

As a result of the pandemic and changing consumer behaviour, 64% of business leaders expect they will need to fundamentally revisit their long-term strategic priorities, with 84% expecting to change the organisational structure and 72% revisiting their ways of working.

The way a company organises work is an important element for business performance, customer experience and loyalty. The Global Business Compass shows that 60% of companies offered mental health support to employees, took measures to facilitate working from home (89%), and improve hygiene levels in office spaces (79%). Supporting and developing your workforce will be part of the recovery story: being aggressive about hiring the best new talent will be important for growth.

Organisational capability is a foundation of being able to create customer and employee experiences in the moments that matter most.

The experience matters, so make this central to your organisation

In its article on the imperative of digital transformation, Kantar talks about the importance of experience: the brands with an omnichannel experience that meets the needs of their consumers will win.

This sits at the heart of an organisation’s design. What do you want your customer experience to be, and how do you set yourselves up to achieve that? Instead of fixing potholes, create and share a vision of this ideal state, and work towards it. Of course, it’s a challenge to empower an organisation to link and orchestrate all channels to create those optimal experiences.

One of the popular mantras for businesses these days is to “be more human”: it’s clear from Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer that people crave human interactions. Thinking about experiences is a way to recognise that: business needs to move away from a legacy siloed nature of work and have an aligned focus on creating the best omnichannel, human-centric experience possible. Think holistically about product, pricing, acquisition, communication and media strategy, to offer a more consumer-centric experience across the buying journey. That means rethinking your ways of working across the various touchpoints or “moments” to create the right content.

This approach relies on a clear vision from leadership and insights about your customers and colleagues.


Insights lead to innovations: be ready to act on them

The uncertain marketplace we find ourselves in means that innovation in terms of products, service, route to market, and communication is increasingly important as a route to growth. Lean and agile innovation inspired by start-up approaches is an enabler of success — if it’s done in the right way. We can learn a lot from agile start-ups, but bigger businesses are well placed to balance agility with stability.

Start-ups might be good at getting products out quickly, but they can miss useful insights that could increase their chances of success. Moving at speed is great, but it’s also important to incorporate the right amount of consumer insight. Being relentlessly customer-centric and able to innovate around customer needs will help protect you against the next big disruption. Maybe you could even create it.

Understanding people deeply is essential. This needs to start with what people are thinking, feeling and doing in their day, week and life stages. What is their connection with the brand at these moments? Only then can we assess the gaps between the reality and our ideal vision, and do something about it.

2020, with so many changes in consumer behaviour and customer needs, has introduced many chances for understanding and innovating. More people are shopping online. Many shoppers are prioritising health and hygiene. Those stuck at home have a newfound love for DIY, homemade meals and wholesome family entertainment. What is driving them, and how can you help them in the right moments? Is your organisation set up to understand and meet new needs effectively and efficiently?


Insights aren’t just there to validate something you’re already doing, and you shouldn’t get so bogged down that you can’t move or make decisions. Use data to spot patterns and apply what you learn with creative courage.

Kantar recommends creating a feedback loop with your employees and consumers to ensure your corporate narrative and long-term strategic priorities remain relevant, and creating agile teams that can deliver on those insights. As the world changes, businesses need to change — and putting human understanding at the heart of that business is a great place to start.

Want to find out more?

Join the FM Redzone digital discussion on Tuesday, March 9 at 9am hosted by Arye Kellman, TILT chief creative officer; Ivan Moroke, Kantar SA CEO; and Natalie Otte, Kantar Insights Division chief client officer, on learning and growth opportunities for your brand and business highlighted by the SA-specific findings from Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer and Global Business Compass.

Joining them in the hot seat will be Abey Mokgwatsane, managing executive of brand communication and sponsorship at Vodacom, and Kunal Sahgal, marketing director at Reckitt Benckiser Health Africa.

Click here to register your place >>>


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