FCB20 2.0

Posted by Paul Shale

Published in NZ Marketing Magazine's "Marketing in Lockdown" edition.

Some time before lockdown, travelling north from Auckand on SH1, I was forced to divert, bypassing the Northern Gateway tunnel. This sparked a flashback – me at 10 years old, excited because we were stuck in a traffic jam crawling through Waiwera on the old SH1.

Sometime during lockdown, LinkedIn posts seemed to either pray for a new way of life or predict a return to sameness. Lockdown wasn’t long or severe enough to fundamentally change enduring human behaviour, or even to break most daily habits, but it was long enough to reassess. The forced break from automaton life will nudge life as usual. 

Covid-19 has three clear phases. The first was to React. The second to Reset. And the third (from 2021) to Rebuild. In NZ, we reacted with Level 4, and now coming out of lockdown, our Reset will become the remainder of 2020. A new version of 2020, I call “20 2.0”. Fundamentally the same, but different. Whilst business now needs to think about both Reset and Rebuild, your Reset in 20 2.0 is the most immediate and will demand immediate thinking and action.

Decades on from that traffic jam I still head North, that 3km re-routing of SH1 has irrevocably changed the bustling Waiwera of my childhood into today’s peaceful backwater. 3km isn’t far off the beaten track, but we all know that in business seemingly small differences can make material differences – profit or loss, a bonus or not. We all play the game of inches. Nudges count. Right now, nudges might define a business’ survival and next decade.

Some behaviour change will be intentional and overt (eg: middle-class on paycuts or reduced hours trading down to meet their new budget), whilst some will be consequential and hidden (eg: my regular physio has no system set up to take L2 appointments so I have moved to a new physio). There are small and larger butterfly effects everywhere.

To illustrate, let’s turn to one of a billion lockdown surveys. This survey was internal to FCB staff members, the purpose being to gather lockdown learnings to use the crisis to improve our ways of working:

Our team’s response seems to be shared with other companies, agencies and major consultancies. Corporates will require teams to return to offices, but new ways of working need to be built around how people work best – so 70% of a company believing it would be more productive to alter how they work will result in some level of change.

This will not only affect traditional ways of office working, but combined with other companies our change would create a broader impact. Not just less demand for commercial property but many businesses are located on the basis of daily office worker flow. Cafes, gyms, service stations, supermarkets. Permanent WFH will also affect how homes are set up. For some of our team, it would mean up to 3 hours of their weekday commute returned. It’s easy to envisage many Covid-19 butterfly effects.

Covid-19 has many mutations and symptoms, attacking different people in different ways. Similarly, no business model is affected the same way. There’s no business vaccine, no one-size-fits-all solution. Some will be most affected by the supply chain disruption that the lean, just-in-time thinking created (PS: it would be foolish not to prepare for a second wave, even in NZ). Some businesses will reinvent based on the forced adoption of videoconferences and e-commerce. Each business model has different diversions to deal with. For those facing new customer behaviours, the nudges you will need to focus on will be unique to your business. Even compared to your competitors. Each business will need to work through this with a start-up mentality.

Personal experiences, social interaction, distractions and uncertainty make behaviour pathways dynamic. The improving ability to respond immediately to live data (fail fast, follow fortune) has replaced the managerial mindset requirement for measurement. Any linear, locked-in, lovely-looking customer journey can now be archived.

Post-lockdown, Behaviour Dashboards are not a vanity marketing project – they have an immediate impact on both your 20 2.0 results and the following horizon which is to Rebuild from 2021. A rapid and iterative blend of quant and qual identifies and prioritises critical behaviours. Data-based dashboards monitor changes that matter.

We’ve all learnt to React with agility. TVCs on air the day they were briefed. e-Commerce sites up in weeks. But in Reset and Rebuild, these urgent efforts and resources need to be focused, especially when teams are cross-functional. Real time marketing responses need feedback and insight. If you have a map of a new highway nudged a mere 3km over, you can innovate and adapt services to prevent important parts of your business being relegated to recessionary backwaters.

If the lockdown taught us anything, it was that customer behaviour makes or kills business. Customers are revenue. For once it is abundantly clear that everything else is secondary. You cannot achieve profit by cost-cutting in a business with no revenue. Merging two businesses with no revenue equals no revenue. We know from normal times that moments of re-evaluation allow customers to reassess loyalties (eg: mortgage renewals and the entire subscription economy). In an environment where clarity of focus on customer revenue will be king, it’s time for Behaviour Dashboards to have their day.

Welcome to 20 2.0.