To keep my finger on the pulse, and as an ex Market Researcher, I can’t resist answering the occasional behavioural survey or questionnaire much beloved by psychologists and FMCG Marketers everywhere. A frequent topic of late during the Covid-19 crisis has been questions around the extent to which in future I may prefer to give my custom to brands or businesses that have been caring and supportive? Will I support local shops say over the big chains, that kind of thing?
Within our own business, we weren’t able to take the easiest route and furlough every employee as we felt this would unfairly penalise clients by putting at risk their past investment in Online Marketing (as once effort ceases campaigns would gradually lose prominence just as a Jumbo without fuel will slowly or not so slowly drift back to earth, creating a huge future challenge to regain the lofty heights). So we took the unusual step of supporting clients who had to drop to 50% budget and in some cases even worked for free to help keep clients businesses afloat.
So I’d like to think as an agency in a generally dodgy industry we are very much on the good side of the fence and we collaborate with our clients, most of whom repay the kindness many times over. It is thinking like this that also led us to become better than carbon neutral as early as 2014 as we strive to also be a good global citizen.
Sadly not all businesses think like this, many adopt a combative stance and I suspect it’s a trend that’s only going to worsen post-COVID-19.
From our own experience during the virus so far we have seen great behaviours exhibited from companies like Westfield Health Insurance, and poor ones from the likes of Grenke Leasing and our various Banks who are as difficult to communicate with and as inflexible as ever. Some businesses also, sadly, seem to be adopting a more aggressive stand generally, whether than presents itself through pushing up prices, using every opportunity to milk the furlough funds and/or make staff redundant or work even harder for less pay, or just being downright aggressive when it comes to negotiating business deals. It feels as if the virus is bringing out the best and worst in people, not only at home but at work too.
I hope this isn’t a harbinger for the decade ahead. It would be great to think that as we’ve come through the worst together (when we get through Covid-19 obviously), we should go forward as more collaborative and helpful businesses that look out for each other, rather than just chase every dollar at whatever cost. If we can build strong businesses, we can pay our people a fair wage for a fair job, most employees will then repay that with better than ever customer experiences creating a win-win all road.