Whitepaper6 months ago

Crystal Balls don’t bounce back, they smash.

In the race to win the Covid rebound, SomeOne co-founder, Simon Manchipp asks — what will help brands keep rolling?

While graphs, pie charts, and infographics have been surging in popularity… You could be forgiven for thinking we now live in a world of mystics, shaman and wizards.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many predictions and magical abilities to see into the future published in so many channels..

And of course, we know that guessing is notoriously unreliable. Which is why Doctors don’t guess what’s wrong with you. You need proven facts and a historical basis to act as a foundation for actions. Or you lose the wrong organ, no one wants that.

Frankly — with all these visionaries — you may as well place the entire future success of your products, organisations and services on the ability of a horse you’ve never seen, to win a race you’ve never watched.

Guessing seems to be more than a tad irresponsible when safeguarding jobs, growing businesses and pioneering new ideas for brands.

The marketing ‘Crystal Balls’ are useless for anyone other than those who inhabit darkened rooms and ask customers to ‘cross their palm with silver’

Far more reliable is to use a compass to navigate and look to the future.

As recently departed Mr Bezos will tell you, he bet Amazon’s lunch on what will NOT change… ‘I very frequently get the question: “What’s going to change in the next 10 years?” I almost never get the question: “What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?” And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two… 

In their case Books. 

And the delivery of them. 

People are always going to want to read. 

Build from there. (They’ve done quite well, I checked)


So looking at what has happened and succeeded in previous times of concern, you see the same behaviours.

‘Human nature is based on an instinct for freedom: a drive to be free, creative, free of external constraints’ Noam Chomsky, Linguist and Philosopher.

Get an individual, a group, or nation in lock down and their first instinct is to embrace freedom like never before.

From soldiers playing football the moment truce is called, to the roaring 20’s response to the end of war.

Covid has significantly restricted a generation. Which means people will be looking everywhere for more freedom ASAFP.

Brands that can demonstrate they are an outlet for that freedom are doing well and will continue. Less predictable behaviour, more spontaneous moments. Less routine thinking, more variety. Less conformity and more personalisation is winning already. Ultimately people hate not knowing.

“Any idiot can face a challenge, it’s the day to day living that wears me down” as Chekhov famously said.

People are increasingly searching for some kind of certainty — at an acute level in times of crisis.

So brands that lead confidently — and help customers and clients navigate choppy waters — gain an immediate advantage. End speculation through decisive actions. The leveraging of empathy is over, brands must move towards leveraging authority.

The cautious brand is losing out to leaders who are moving at speed — even if they are not always right.

Being a brand — a service, product or firm — that actually helps is a biggie.

1% of UK Adults ‘feel lonelier’

The Red Cross 2020 Study

The hardest part about the lockdown isn’t the lockdown — it’s the opening back up.

Detachment is a relatively swift process — reattaching takes real time and effort. ‘What has been found repeatedly is that reintegration after isolation takes time, is sometimes not easy, and requires support.’ Dr Susan Albers, Psychologist.

From prisoners to SARS survivors — you see the same behaviours… increased stress levels, detrimental effects on mental health and real challenges when trying to re-establish relationships. Feelings of isolation is at an all time high — 41% of UK Adults ‘feel lonelier’ according to studies from the RedCross in 2020. So brands that can actively get involved to help people get back to their lives will win. These brands will win through actions not words. Big gestures, while a great opener will not be enough, this needs ongoing, sustained support.

Interestingly — tough times unite people. We all loved a cheer and a clap at the end of a tough week of fearful lockdown. But as these periods of challenge pass, bonds weaken — so the brands that help people remember and sustain social bonds gain significant traction. By forming a kind of social glue, a collective virtual velcro — bands can move from looking exclusive to being more egalitarian and concerned with the collective, reinforcing communities identities.


In summary, the big moves for brands in 2021 will be to:

Be less predictable — to refuse to conform.

Guide people through uncertainty.

Set out to unite communities of all types.

Deliver just one of these moves with authenticity that isn’t surface mounted and you’ll see success in the face of the supermassive changes already clear on 2021’s horizon.

But tread carefully if the endeavours are not already deeply engrained in easily proven values & behaviours.

Todays hyper connected, speedily-scrutinising population means no amount of woke-washing, green-washing or purpose-washing, washes well for long.