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COVID-19: A brand. New. Purpose.

May 1, 2020

The big reset

Purpose, accelerated

Purpose was already rising in importance. Now it matters more than ever. The pandemic is testing our humanity and values. COVID-19 has given us all a common purpose and thereby elevated the very idea of a company’s "purpose."

The Maslow uncertainty

Self-actualization has given way to basic needs, and CEOs must pay close attention to, and act upon, the needs of employees and customers in real-time.

What’s healthy for me becomes healthy for we

When we re-emerge, we can expect to see patterns of consumption and purpose very different from those we saw before. We are increasingly expected to make “right” choices about what we buy or do, and we will increasingly be criticized if we don’t.

Brand. New.

A key lesson of the crisis, not lost on employees and consumers, is that we can change things really fast when we want to. Just look at how many companies have pivoted assets, capabilities and priorities to innovate and contribute.

Crises drive innovation


of employees trust their employer to respond effectively and responsibly to the coronavirus outbreak.


of consumers expect brands to translate their values and promises into new and innovative products and services.

There will be many long-tail impacts on how companies need to navigate a newly sensitive society, even when the world is in recovery.

Brand. New rules apply

Get off the wall

Take your organization’s values off the wall and use them for guidance, every day. The rotation to digital is over. The shift to virtual has been accelerated and the new focus will be purpose-led.

Plan ahead for a brand marathon

It’s a sprint now, but it’s time to start preparing for the marathon of never normal as you outmaneuver uncertainty. Test day won’t go away. Wars are won in the general’s tent. Make time to plan for the quarters ahead.

Find metrics that matter

Identify the purpose metrics that matter. Know what you need to do (your North Star) and figure out how to measure it. A corporate vision that cannot be measured, cannot be achieved.

Love your employees

How you treat your employees is highly visible and everyone is watching. Make that your number one concern. It is shaping your brand more than you know.

Listen, observe

Watch the Maslow shift carefully. Listen hard, and focus on human insights. Become an expert in detecting human signals, what they mean for your organization, and how you can respond at speed. This will drive a ferocious era of innovation—if you engage.

Contact us

Mark Curtis

Global Sustainability and Thought Leadership Lead – Accenture Song

Jessica Long

Managing Director – North America Sustainability & Responsible Business​ Lead

Bill Theofilou

Strategy Advisor
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