Truth | Insights


McCann Bristol | Senior Account Executive  | 

Kathryn Ellis, Managing Partner at McCann Bristol, discusses how the pandemic has created an opportunity for brands to fast forward to the future.

We are living through a crisis unlike any other. And at a time when the end appears to be in sight it seems timely to talk about what the world will be like after COVID.

Global research conducted by McCann World Group shows half of us believe the world will be forever changed by the pandemic. And here lies the opportunity, as 77% of people also believe that in this new world brands have a greater ability to create positive change than governments*.

We have been around since 1912, so we know short-term crises often give way to long-term cultural shifts. We have helped our clients through everything from the Great Depression of the 1920s to the financial crisis of 2008; and we believe that brands have the power to create positive, lasting change. The smart marketeers will act while others choose to pause and wait for normalcy. Now is a time for renewal, where businesses can help foster the new spirit of collaboration, optimism and solidarity that we are seeing emerge in our ever-resilient consumers.

At McCann, we have used our global research to develop a whitepaper and toolkit on the topic of renewal. The aim is to help brands explore all the ways they can unlock their next strategic opportunity and earn a meaningful role in the lives of their consumers.

Here are five key takeaways from the whitepaper:

  1. When competitors pause, opportunities present themselves: As your competitors slow down their marketing spend, the category landscape becomes quiet. This is the perfect opportunity for brands to capture share of voice and subsequent market share.
  2. Capture share of voice that can outlast recession: Numerous pieces of research and case studies show that when marketers maintain or increase their marketing spend during tough times, the share of voice they gain lasts far beyond the crises. 86% of people had companies that advertised during tough times top of mind when making purchase decisions. ** And 25% of all companies that boosted ad spending in the challenging financial period post 9/11 saw market share rise more than twice as fast during a stable economy. ***
  3. Prime time to take advantage of new revenue streams: As brands have been forced to take another look at lines of business, channels to market and ways of working this could help unlock new revenue streams through innovation. The 2008 financial crisis gave birth to Kindle, Uber and Airbnb. It is a time to re-contextualise your meaningful role to address new, emerging need states.
  4. Brands that stand up build affinity and trust: Crises are opportune periods to further build trust and impart security upon consumers, especially as they are facing unknown realities. 76% of people globally say its meaningful when a brand can reassure them today. *
  5. Short-term tactics can mean long-term pain: Many brands notoriously partake in slash and burn tactics when economic disasters strike. However, sacrificing long-term success for short-term gains is very rarely the strategy to adopt. Remember the words of Binet and Field, “There is a tension that exists between short-term response activity and long-term brand building. It is possible to generate a strong volume response quickly but not necessarily with the best-long term business outcome for the brand”. ****

There is no one size fits all approach for brands as we move out of this crisis. But we are applying our knowledge and toolkit to help our clients maximise their opportunity for success.

For more information on the comprehensive toolkit or to discuss how to apply the principles of renewal to your business, please contact


*McCann World Group (2020) Truth About Culture and COVID-19 Wave 4

**Cahners Advertising Report (2001)

*** Harris Interactive (2020) Yankelovich Survey

**** Binet and Field (2016) The Long and Short of It

Photo by Jordan Wozniak on Unsplash