The Road Ahead



Author —Auteur — Michelle Bell

Let’s shake the dust off and start planning. At times like this, it can be easy to follow the darker headlines. Hope and optimism have a call that is harder to hear. That said, we are not asking you to rely on hope. Let’s rely on the facts, the insights, the indisputable truths… Let’s get started.  

What do we know?

Fact:  This is not permanent.

Emotionally, it may feel like it will be, or perhaps has been. Rationally, we know there are several ways this can play out.  But regardless of which path, it does play out.

Fact:  It will not change overnight.

While it may fear as though the closing of businesses and the guidelines for social isolation happened “overnight”, a quick review of the news will remind us that our current situation was a journey. Somehow, it caught most of us by surprise. The way out does not have to be the same. Let’s be on the lookout.

Fact: This is not the new normal.  

This is a tricky one. There are “panic” behaviours that are starting to become normalized. For example, hoarding of canned goods, self staples and toilet paper. The panic behaviours will pass. But, the deeper cultural changes will stay.

As much as we need to focus on when and how COVID-19 will end, we need to give equal consideration to how consumer behaviour will be permanently impacted by it. 

Here are a few ways we think consumer behaviour will change:

1 – Online Channels

Let’s start with the easy one. Isolation has amplified our reliance on online channels.   More importantly, it has broadened our tolerance for what we are willing to buy online, and brought newbies into the mix. The need for online presence – and transactions has never been greater. 

2 – Remote Workforce

We will have finally answered the burning question of “did we really need to meet in person?”. For many, our jobs will naturally take us back out of our homes. For others, there will be a decision to be made between the couch and the cubicle. The impact of remote workers will dramatically impact our needs, as well as our foot traffic in stores. 

3 – Social Purpose

20 years from now, the COVID-19 business stories we will tell will be of the brands that took a stand and either rose to the challenge and fought the virus or bravely stayed home, and encouraged their consumers to do so as well. Trust has always been an important feature for brands, but we have never seen the market tested to this extreme. We will remember and repay those who put the community first and will look for this quality in brands even more so in the future. 

4 – Big Vs. Small

Small brands and smaller businesses have taken the biggest hit with COVID-19. Most do not have the supply chain or cash flow to pause gracefully, redirect manufacturing, or ad spend. As a result, the Goliaths have taken much of the spotlight. The smaller brands can come back, but it is a reminder that there is only so much share of mind, time and spends with consumers. 

5 – Patience

I admit it. Less than a month ago, I would be frustrated if my online order did not process immediately, with next day delivery and tracking along the way. Through this process, we have learned to chill, learn the difference of want vs. need, and the intricacies of the supply chain. I don’t know if this trend will last, but we hope that a little self-regulation and empathy will linger on and the brand can invest in processes and efficiencies that matter more. 

6 – Brand Loyalty

This is a tough one. We have seen the best and worst of brands. There have been shameless, opportunistic ads that have made me scorn some brands, and acts of heroism that have made me pledge allegiance to others. That said, desperate times call for desperate measures and with limited supply and trips out of the home, I have been willing to forgo my regulars.  Shamefully, I have learned to “love the one I am with”. This does not mean that brand is not important – it is a reminder that “ease of use” is a significant part of the brand health equation. 

7 – Survival vs. Sanity Products

Whether we admit it or not, we all have some complex 2 x 2 matrices running in our heads plotting our next “shopping trips”. While the government took a big step by classifying essential vs. non-essential business, it was riddled with loopholes, and we have been left to ask ourselves “is it really essential?”, and reflect on the merits of products we need to feel sane, and not just physically survive.  

So, what does that mean for marketers?

This list is long.  As unclear as the situation is, we are willing to bet that you know more than you think you know. There is more you can be doing to help stabilize, insulate, protect and maybe even grow your business. 

  1. Reevaluating your creative and media for the next few weeks, and the next few months as we learn to go back into business. 
  2. Reacquaint yourself with your consumers. What need do you solve? How has it changed? 
  3. Develop an omnichannel approach. How can you transition to, or accelerate your move to digital

Still not sure?

History has taught us that brands and businesses who “wait and see” in times of crisis often crumble at the end. Those who charge without a plan often trip and lose the faith of the public. Those who persevere with a strategy survive (and sometimes thrive). 

So, what now? What should your specific business do?

Good question. Give us a call. We are helping our community in the best way we can right now, and offering free consults to get you started.   

Please stay home, be kind and take care of your community in the best way you can right now.

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle has over 18 years of experience in marketing and operations. She has worked in traditional brand management for global consumer packaged good brands. In addition, she has worked in marketing and business strategy for the public sector, including Canada 150 for the Royal Canadian Mint.

More Insights


For those of you who have never heard of a B-Corp, it is...
Connection We are simultaneously hardwired and starved for it. A recent study cited...
Personal Growth
Life has been quite full this past week…and may have even overflowed a...

Rob Hyams

Chief Creative Officer

Rob has been building brands and campaigns since he came out of the womb…or at least that’s what it feels like. He has a rare gift; an ability to distill the complex into a succinct and compelling story.

Brent Martel

Web Development & Marketing Automation

Brent is our resident experts on making websites that convert and simplifying your marketing technology to make it work for you. Sounds good, right?

Alan Horic

Senior Digital Ads Strategist

Alan is all-knowing (no joke) when it comes to deploying your digital marketing strategy; from search to display to Account-Based Marketing, he can turn your ads into a revenue generating machine.

Francesca Désulmé

Account Coordinator

Artist, communications enthusiast and social justice advocate, Francesca brings a plurality of lived experiences to the table. Organized, passionate and creative, she’ll help bring your projects to the next level.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

A Buddha-loving, health nut who races in Ironmans and marathons in his free time. He brings a ton of heart and intense questions to every moment. Trust us… 

Bárbara d’Oro

Content Strategist

Barbara is a journalist by trade who loves talking to people, asking great questions and giving a voice to their stories. Being Brazilian, she also loves a mean BBQ marathon at your local churrascaria.

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle is an intensely caring, and lovably nerdy, triple-threat: her creative, strategic & engineer brain are the perfect recipe for taking your organization to the next level.

Karen Bramhill

Chief Experience Officer

Artist, epidemiologist, operations specialist and true lover of life; Karen is a true polymath that brings a wealth of care and knowledge to every engagement. And for the record, ambiguity and her are not the best of friends.


Creative Designer

Having been in the hospitality industry for years, Jennifer is passionate about creating meaningful experiences. Fuelled by string cheese, she applies a very thoughtful & practical mindset to her designs.


Account Coordinator

Gen will bring the energy to kick-start your project and the grit to see it through. Her conscience will find you the best strategy and probably save the planet along the way.

Jenna Araujo

Creative Lead

Jenna is the Swiss Army knife of creative…with a smile. She’s got a design solution for almost any problem accompanied by the most infectious giggle in the industry.