Brands should take lead on post-pandemic change – WTI report

post-pandemic world - wt report

Consumers want brands to lead the way on change in a post-pandemic world, according to a new report called Regeneration Rising: Sustainable Futures from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

We are on the cusp of an exciting new era, with an unparalleled opportunity to reshape the way we live, learn, work and do business for the better, by harnessing regeneration.

Post-pandemic change

Cultural change is now possible. People are willing to change their lives, make personal sacrifices for the planet, giving up simple pleasures.

A reported 94% are making some effort to live more sustainably (2018: 92%) and 46% are doing all they can (2018: 39%)

Post-pandemic, people have an appetite for change, and they are looking to brands to lead the way (86%), according to the WT report.


post-pandemic world - wt report
Save the planet: People want brands to lead the way on change.

Regeneration goes beyond sustainability, aiming for a positive and restorative impact, rather than just seeking to do less harm.

Wunderman Thompson’s new original futures report, based on extensive desk and field research in the UK, US and China, delves into this and more, featuring interviews with key opinion and thought leaders in the sustainability space.

“There is no doubt that sustainability has become one of the top corporate priorities in recent years”, said  Neil Dawson, Global Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson.

“We increasingly hear from clients that they want their brands to lead the way in creating positive impact, and that their company needs and wants to address sustainability for a better future”.

post-pandemic world - wt report
Green pastures: Sustainability is at the heart of change needed to save the planet.

“Sustainability drives the bottom line, and we’re thrilled to be leading the conversation with Regeneration Rising, helping translate corporate strategy into sustainable, actionable insights”, continued Dawson.

Key Highlights of the report:

  • Concerns over planet and biodiversity remain high despite the dramatic health and economic impacts of the pandemic. On a list of problems, the world faces, people choose climate change as the second biggest threat behind infectious disease, chosen by 41% of respondents (34% in 2018).
  • The onus is now firmly and strongly on brands to step up to this challenge. People firmly believe businesses should be about more than just profit, and they want sustainability to drive decision-making.
  • The pandemic has really raised expectations of brands in terms of civic leadership, illustrating that dramatic change can be achieved almost overnight when the will is there. 75% say that business responses to COVID have raised their expectations of them when it comes to helping fight some of the world’s biggest problems – like climate change.
  • Regenerative brands, that step up and show leadership, advocating for a positive impact across the three pillars of planet, people and prosperity will build resilience for the long-term AND engage audiences.
  • People and their wellbeing are now central to the sustainability debate – with growing focus on inclusion and equality. The events of 2020 have brought equality and social justice to the forefront, and brands will now need to consider these alongside environmental concerns.

Following the pandemic, our relationship with nature has also been reset, with a deeper understanding of how our wellbeing depends on that of the planet.

The report covers nine emerging trends across the pillars of planet, people and prosperity, including: Back to the Earth, Intersectional Environmentalism, The Climate Tech Boom, Planet, and People and Prosperity Trends.

post-pandemic world - wt report
Wellbeing world: Leadership needed from brands who need o step up.

“If we are to have any hope of tackling climate change, we now need brands to step up and show real leadership”, said Marie Stafford, Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

“This means prioritising people, tackling social issues like poverty and inequality, which our research shows are inextricably linked with the climate question”. 

“Pioneering brands, who commit to being truly regenerative, aiming for a positive impact on people, planet and prosperity will reap the rewards. 

“Those are the brands that will be more resilient, more aligned with people’s values and best-placed to tap the opportunities identified in our trends,” continued Stafford.