Clarity During Uncertainty
Clarity is the beating heart of any good business strategy. It means being concise, striving for simplicity and avoiding all that is complex or confusing. The strategic process is a mix of convergent and divergent thinking, initially starting wide but ending deep – landing on a clear set of principles that are easy to understand and execute.
If the end product can’t be communicated in a couple of sentences, then it is simply a broken strategy. At MCCP, we work to the rule of, can you explain what we’re doing to someone who doesn’t work in the industry? If the answer comes back negative, then we go back to the drawing board to refine the process.
In a world clouded with uncertainty and insecurity, clarity is even more important in the way that we live and how we work.
How We Live
COVID has catapulted all of us into an imposed reality. It has forced us to adapt our lifestyle and behaviours as Government restrictions have taken hold. If we cast our minds back just a few months, we remember the palpable sense of fear and anxiety that gripped our nation. It was a time when steady leadership was needed to calm nerves and bring clarity to the situation.
If COVID-19 has, as some believe, brought us closer together as a country, then the banner under which we have been united has been Dr Tony Holohan. He has shown us how to access a situation with emotional detachment to think calmly and clearly – to logically outline, where we are, where we are going, what we are doing and how we’ll do it.
During the pandemic, we have also become accustomed to Educational and Instructional messaging from government. MCCP has worked with the Department of Health as their dedicated research and communications partner since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have helped shape the clarity behind the government’s response to the situation.
The crisis has shown us that at times of uncertainty, consumers will respond favourably to clear unambiguous instruction. Confusion is the bedfellow of inaction. When people are confused, they are uncertain how to act and often choose not to.
How we work
As most of us are confined to working remotely at present, many of the basics of human communication have been restricted. We now communicate with our colleagues through virtual mediums like Zoom, which strip away all of the physical elements of human interaction. Physical body language is the subtle yet vital component that helps leaders clearly land their message in a way everyone understands. Virtual communication has placed a greater emphasis on the need to think and communicate clearly to help us act more effectively. Virtual communication has imposed heavy limitations particularly in the creative industries where physical interaction, brainstorming concepts and ideation is all part of the daily routine.
MCCP and Clarity during COVID
For MCCP, like many of you, COVID has become central to all of our clients’ activities, so it’s in our business interest to be at the discovery stage of any new trends that could improve clarity to shape future consumer behaviour.
Since the outset, MCCP has undertaken weekly qualitative research with consumers, through Zoom, across all demographics. Our aim was to understand how they were dealing with the outbreak and subsequent restrictions. We worked with the Department of Health comms teams to develop clear, informative and compelling communications to educate and reassure the public and to illustrate the role they needed to play to flatten the curve, so that we could reopen the economy.
MCCP also undertook critical research on behalf of the LVA, VFI and their partners in Heineken, IDL and Diageo, among others. We conducted research to bring clarity on the public’s attitude and expectations for returning to the pub once lockdown was lifted.
The output was a set of ‘Golden Principles’ based on insight that gave directions to publicans on how to win people back into their bars and pubs in a safe and compliant way.
The need for Clarity right now
It is clear that as the COVID fallout deepens, marketing budgets, which have always been keenly fought for, are now more likely to come under more scrutiny, at best, or deprioritised at worst. As a result, marketers will face challenges that will define their career for the short- to medium-term. Confronted with a harsh reality of delivering strong results on shrinking budgets, clear strategic planning will be a vital organ of survival.
A good strategy tells your team what they need to know, not what an agency thinks they should know. The end result is a plan that is well conceived, simple and easy to understand and deliver. Clarity is not always an easy destination to find, it takes hard work. However, the rewards far outweigh the effort. If a plan is well conceived and communicated it doesn’t need to be complex in order to be complete.
Our new business reality means that all marketers will have to fight harder for our customers spend in the coming months. The businesses that have a clear, well-articulated strategy and are prepared to rise to this challenge will come out stronger. The ones who don’t will suffer.
Navigate with Clarity Series
MCCP is running a content series called “Navigate With Clarity” which is designed to bring clarity to the tough business choices that will need to be made in the coming months. Through a series of webinars, blogs, video posts and social posts, we will share our POV on what strategic clarity means and how it ultimately drives better business results.