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The importance of evidence in uncertain times

Kyle Gollins EVP, Head of Americas Commercial 17/04/2020

A persepective from the Americas

What questions should businesses be asking themselves right now?

During uncertainty, broaden your perspective, look outwards not just internally… don’t simply narrow your focus.

Many businesses will be fighting the urge to ‘scratch the itch’ and narrow their focus onto the immediate problem of responding to the difficulties of COVID-19. It’s a natural human reaction. But organizations need to fight that instinct and maintain a broader view. To not simply look at internal responses but use evidence, intuition and insight to fuel decision making.

The aim for businesses should be focused on ensuring clarity and confidence – both for employees and their customers. Businesses and their leaders need to ensure that they have the agility, capacity and resilience to make good decisions that they can stand by.

During uncertainty, broaden your perspective, look outwards not just internally… don’t simply narrow your focus. There is opportunity in crisis too….to show your customers you care and drive long-term loyalty or emotional commitment….or to use crisis as a source of innovation, creativity and new ideas in your response.

While there is a clear requirement to be cautious in the decisions taken, balancing immediate needs with ensuring readiness to quickly respond to the changing situation, including when things start to return to the “new” normal.

Timely customer and market feedback is critical, as are agile commercial responses. After the initial rush to respond to the pandemic, now is the time to identify what is going to be best going forward – practically and emotionally for organisations, their employees and customers.

Evidence from previous economic shocks – be it the 2008 financial crisis or otherwise – tells us that how brands react and communicate is significant in the moment and beyond – decisiveness and customer centric decisions are crucial. That means more evidence not less in uncertain times is crucial.

For example, can you answer these questions for your business?

  1. How are customers in your market responding?
  2. How are behaviors changing and what is expected of your brand?
  3. What marketing should you be doing/ not doing and how can you cut through and resonate at this time?
  4. What will the crisis impact your brand’s longer-term? How are your decisions and actions impacting the ability to come through this crisis in the best shape possible?

…for some that can even be better than they went in because of how they are handling it!

Whatever the decisions to be made, research insights, and evidence should play an important role in ensuring you make better decisions.

As an immediate resource Savanta’s weekly tracker, with 1,000+ US respondents, will keep you informed on how US consumers are reacting to the COVID-19 crisis. The tracker has been running since early March to monitor the changing emotions and behaviors across the country.

As well as our weekly consumer tracker, Savanta is running daily and weekly coronavirus surveys in the UK as well as a business focused tracker in the US and UK. Both brands and businesses can ask their target audience a range of custom questions to dig deeper into the key topics each week.

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