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New Study Shows Brands Overlook Human Touch in Drive for Resilience

Brands have embraced agile working practices in the drive for resilience, but are neglecting key contributory factors – including ‘Humanity’ – that could help future-proof them against subsequent crises, according to a new study out today.

The research, from global digital transformation business Kin + Carta, found that ‘Humanity’ – engaging with audiences to form relevant emotional connections – was a significant area of neglect in organisations as they adapt at speed in the face of COVID-19.  A third (33%) of organisations analysed showed exposure to risk here, with factors including accessibility, inclusivity and tone of voice across their digital estates hindering users experiences.

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The findings come from the Kin + Carta Brand Resilience Index 2020, a deep analysis of four factors that make up business resilience and enable brands to survive and thrive through times of rapid change: Agility, Responsibility, Humanity and Maturity. The analysis takes into account considerations including business model, agile working practices, long-term purpose and balancing people, purpose and profit.

Key findings include:

  • Four of the top ten brands in the Agile indicator come from the financial services sector
  • Although Agility scored highest of the factors assessed, one third of brands (37%) still fall short on this indicator
  • More than a third (41%) of brands excelled in Responsibility and were identified as using their business as a force for good
  • FMCG and B Corp businesses comprised 42% of these Responsible businesses, with the likes of Innocent, Pukka Teas and Ella’s Kitchen all scoring highly

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“2020 has thoroughly tested the resilience of brands. However, just because a business has survived or even thrived through the impact of Covid, it doesn’t mean it is truly resilient – or would necessarily survive a different crisis,” said Claire Robinson, customer experience director at Kin & Carta Connect.

“The purpose of the Brand Resilience Index 2020 is to explore what makes up resilience, and create a baseline from which we’ll continue to measure ourselves and others going forward. We now have a valuable set of metrics to evaluate the long-term health of brands.

“While every business has a different set of priorities, and it is hard to judge like-for-like across such a broad swathe of businesses, some clear trends emerged – such as the need for brands to be more human in their approach.”

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Robinson added: “No business was scored as being resilient across all four categories, but all brands – ourselves included – are on a journey, and we can’t do everything at once. It does make sense that so many have prioritised Agility in the first instance, given the current uncertain economic climate. Even more so considering those doing it best were often the ones hit hardest following the 2008 financial crisis.

“We look forward to seeing how the Index develops over time. As many younger people place greater value on purpose than profit, it will be interesting to see if Responsibility and Humanity will become strategic drivers for brand resilience in the year to come.”

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