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Coming back stronger after a pandemic

Dr Nick Baker Chief Research Officer 21/04/2020

Post COVID-19: learning from the past

“I don't care where you've been or what you plan to do…. Turn, turn, I wish you'd learn….I am the resurrection”.

Decisive decision making – then as now – was also the key to generating a positive economic impact coming out of the pandemic.

Where we stand today, mid-paradigm shift, or systemic change, or for some still in denial, in a blip before things go back to where they were (…as the pigs fly past) The Stone Roses classic reminds us that – resurrection lies in turning to the past, to learning.

It’s just that we have to look a long way back. A long way.

A new study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York looks at the experience from the pandemic of 1918–20. It was commonly known as the Spanish Influenza. About 500 million people, or one-third of the world’s population, became infected with the virus, leading to at least 50 million deaths worldwide.

Clearly then as will be the case now, the pandemic had a negative economic impact. But…decisive decision making – then as now – was key to limiting the impact during the pandemic. Crucially, it was also the key to generating a positive economic impact coming out of the pandemic. Or as Ian Brown sang…the resurrection.

Specifically, the work by the Federal Reserve Bank explains that “areas that were more severely affected by the 1918 Flu Pandemic saw a sharp and persistent decline in real economic activity. Second, we find that cities that implemented early and extensive NPIs suffered no adverse economic effects over the medium term. On the contrary, cities that intervened earlier and more aggressively experienced a relative increase in real economic activity after the pandemic subsided.”

So, if the four horse men of the apocalypse are coming, acting decisively and making swift, better decisions than others is crucial. Whatever the new normal is, it’s not here yet and to be ready it’s about acting now, it’s about genuine agility and rapid responses. Not simple tactical stuff but making sure you have the evidence to make those better decisions, as well as the ability to deploy swift customer and market feedback tools to support decision-making.

So to be at the leading edge of the resurrection, perhaps what is needed is a rapid response toolkit, a genuine customer listening ability to fuel agile decision-making. An ability to fast-track the right moves, but not compromise on quality or make the mistake of simply trusting recent norms or hunches?

As an immediate resource Savanta’s daily tracker, with 1,000+ UK respondents every day, will keep you informed on how the UK population are reacting to the COVID-19 crisis. The tracker covers 5 key areas: concern & impact, home & work, out-of-home & retail, news sources and approval ratings.

As well as our daily tracker, Savanta is running weekly coronavirus surveys in the UK, US and other regions as well as a bi-weekly survey for UK & US businesses. Both brands and businesses can ask their target audience a range of bespoke questions to dig deeper into the key topics each week

We will be updating our coronavirus tracker daily and weekly as this unprecedented pandemic unfolds. Please get in touch for more information.

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