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Discover The Future of Work

The year 2020 was full of pain, anxiety, confusion and chaos. While we all want to leave the cursed number 2020 behind us as quickly as possible, the effects (isolation and unemployment, among others) of the devastating virus will be felt for years to come. But the year also brought opportunities to reflect, realise and challenge the status quo. We recognized that good health isn’t a given (59% of consumers are now more conscious about their overall health as a result of COVID-19); we grasped that many brands’ claims on the environment, sustainability, and customer care are cliché-filled promises which tattered when they mattered the most; and we underscored the human-planet connection as our transformed individual and corporate actions rejuvenated the climate and environment (the induced lockdowns resulted in blue skies and clean air).

The shift in consumer habits, behaviors, and expectations will not be “put back in the box.” The year 2021 will mark the beginning of a brandcare — a brand that genuinely cares about consumers, employees and the environment, as we all expect much more from brands now. In fact, 62% of people agree that their country will not make it through this crisis without companies playing a critical role. For a bank, this could mean the financial wellbeing of customers, especially during difficult times. For an insurance provider, this could mean extending the insurance premium date by a couple of months without any penalty for customers who are unable to pay. For a grocery store, this could mean educating consumers about purchasing healthy products. Some brands are already becoming brandcare by converting their promises into actions:

  • Scandinavian Airlines offered fast-track healthcare training to staff made redundant during the pandemic. Reskilling the laid-off staff shows that a brand truly cares for their staff.
  • Unilever pledged to add carbon labels to 70,000 of its products, part of an ambitious set of climate goals. Also, Unilever is targeting $1.2 billion in sales for plant-based foods. Being open and transparent about your sustainability goals can encourage good purchasing behavior in your consumers.
  • Australian mobile network Belong launched an app allowing users to quantify the environmental impact of their phone usage. Although consumers aren’t going to stop swiping their smartphones, brands that educate them about the downside of their endless usage will redefine the brand-to-consumer relationship.
  • Microsoft unveiled new features in its Teams video conferencing platform that allow users to schedule a virtual commute to create a better workday structure to mitigate the effects of burnout. The company also plans to integrate the meditation app Headspace and add an emotional check-in feature to gauge daily wellbeing.

Brands that prove themselves to be authentic change-makers, that put humans and the environment before profits, will earn consumer trust. Putting authenticity at the core of your brand means being transparent about what you say, do, and deliver. People will have zero tolerance for brands that fail to turn promises into actions. They will demand measurable results of your environmental and corporate social responsibility promises. To get to this place, brands must reevaluate the purpose of their.

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