How have priorities changed since lockdown? It’s no surprise that social and interpersonal relationships have leapfrogged to the forefront of consumer priorities; accompanied by a strong deprioritisation of material ownership. Car sales were down 35% year on year, if big ticket items are becoming more of a luxury, it begs the question of the future of such industries and what they need to do in order to survive.

But what can brands expect as a result of this change in consumer mentality from material to meaning? In our poll we asked, ‘as we head out of lockdown and begin to reclaim our work and home lives, what should companies strive to do?’ with 66% of respondents believing that organisations should use this as an opportunity to revolutionise their approach and fundamentally change the way they operate.

In our recent panel discussion, experts discuss what brands can expect to face coming out of this period of lockdown based upon the latest consumer trends and the measures that need to be considered if they are to survive this period of uncertainty.

Kalina Janevska, Director of Research and Insights at ENGINE, hosted the session and was joined by ENGINEs Will Lowe, Chief Data Officer, Suzi Bentley-Tanner, Strategy Director and Liz Bains, Head of Brand Communication Strategy.

The conversation took many turns, but the key themes remained around the customer, transformation and brand purpose.


of respondents believing that organisations should use this as an opportunity to revolutionise their approach

What is the customer experience you want to be able to deliver to help you stand out? What are the enablers of this?

With restrictions that were put in place for the lockdown period, naturally online purchases saw a steep increase, with consumers opting to shop online for good such as groceries through to ordering cars. At the minute it’s ambiguous whether these habits will be adopted long term and how this could require physical stores to change how they operate.

It could be that business opt to transform their retail spaces and add in additional components, or even introduce experiential events in stores to help boost the high street. As consumers opt to shop local to support independent retailers and local heroes, is there scope for larger businesses to partner with independent brands?

How can data improve the customer journey?

Some may embrace the acceleration in digital ambition. There are two main ingredients in the mix which must be present for successful data transformation, these are; data culture and organisation. You can’t move along the digital ambition without considering everything else. Now things have eased, we are in the position to see how organisations can align and create an ambition, with a clearly articulated strategy to understand how that end-to-end customer journey interacts with digital. Digital’s role is must be combined with a robust operating model to align with the new journey.

Purpose vs profit?

From the brand resilience study, for bankingretailinsurance and grocer, the data shows that consumers want to see companies who:

  1. Are socially responsible
  2. Look after the people who work for them
  3. Are prepared for future pandemics
  4. Reduce prices
  5. Focus on supply chain and transparency

It is apparent the way companies chose to approach the pandemic has had a major influence on customer perception, with consumers leaning towards businesses that are socially responsible and authentic. For example, Weatherspoons receiving negative press for their treatment of staff at the start of lockdown, vs Brewdog who have transformed their strategy to produce hand sanitiser to those most vulnerable. There is no point considering purpose if it’s merely a tokenistic nod to a good cause – consumers are cleverer than you think.

To hear the conversation in full – watch the webinar now! 

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