The business impact of Covid-19

In mid-July, we were proud to be part of a groundbreaking study on the business impact of Covid-19. This was the brainchild of Stephen Priestnall of Oomph and Decision Juice, and delivered in partnership with Panelbase, Halo Media, and ourselves.

What was particularly interesting about the survey was its use of the Coronavirus Impact Indicator (CVII) scale, which established both individual and corporate attitudes towards Covid, and how this had affected confidence.  The CVII provides a really valuable categorisation, so you can understand where on the attitudinal and emotional spectrum someone is, and how this might change over time.

Whilst there were many very interesting insights, the most interesting to me was how individuals were more confident about their own outlook than they were about their organisations.  

Click here to view the full themes and topics discussed.

Here is one insight of interest:

Key thoughts: Being local will be a key benefit as part of the social transformation from Covid. Businesses that are already local have a potential advantage over larger organisations and can look to punch above their weight.  But there is also a new market opportunity to support local businesses to take full advantage and to provide this infrastructure.

Local businesses are asking for the most support, but have the opportunity to “punch above their weight”

Whilst remaining economically active is important for all types of companies, those operating at a local level only said it was most important (82% said it was extremely or very important, compared to 76% overall).

But, more than any other group, local companies consistently said other categories of support were most valuable as well. Whether it was leadership in terms of policy and practice (80% vs 67% overall), greater levels of communication (67% vs 57%), digital and specialist comms support (67% vs 56% overall) and even guidance around social distancing (76% vs 61% overall), local businesses flagged that they would like help the most.

Local businesses, without other peers within the organisation to confer with or rely on, were always likely to need the most help; this becomes most obvious when compared to international companies, who were consistently the least in need (just 42% of international businesses wanted social distancing guidance, compared to the 76% of local ones, as mentioned above).

But what is most interesting is with the social transformation on the back of it, there will be a greater focus on the community wherever you are. The benefits of international organisations’ greater scale will be hampered for the short to medium term. Therefore, it’s local companies, and those that have links with specific communities (in a B2B context), that have an opportunity to punch above their weight in terms of impact in the post-Covid world. 

Many local businesses need to embrace the opportunity that this new world presents, and build a “transformation” approach for the future and not be tempted to switch into a “recovery” mentality to get back to how things were before. Already in response to Covid, we are seeing high street suburban locations being turned into local co-working spaces and business hubs to enable local companies to have the same advantages at big cities ( Local business should focus on the medium-term opportunity to outperform larger organisations that may lack that local connection to communities.

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