Throughout history, global pandemics have shaped society, culture, value systems and institutions. As we find ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, one pandemic and subsequent recovery that shares several similarities with what we are seeing today, is the bubonic plague—or Black Death—which devastated Europe and Asia in the 14th century.

Though the Black Death was as grim as it sounds, there was a silver lining: It’s believed that the socio-economic impacts of the Plague on European society—particularly in Italy—helped create the conditions necessary for arguably the greatest post-pandemic recovery of all time—the Renaissance.

Fast-forward 700 years later and several themes believed to have led Europe out of the Middle Ages have started to reemerge in the wake of COVID-19’s impact on global commerce, consumer values and shopper behavior. In this latest report, we review key themes to explore how they might manifest in our modern economy and what actions brands can take to prepare themselves for a post-pandemic world.

Key lessons from the Middle Ages

• Entrenched powers and authorities will be challenged.

• Priorities will change and new business models will emerge.

• Innovation, driven by necessity will accelerate.

Brand action plans

• How to assess and diversify supply chain and fulfillment strategies while empowering teams to implement real-time network visibility.

• How product assortments should evolve and how to communicate health and safety benefits as differentiators.

• Why distance shopping is here to stay and how to adjust marketing mix accordingly.

• How to make your business robust and resilient and why efficiency is no longer enough.

• Rethinking retailer partnerships and shopper marketing in a post-COVID economy.

COVID-19 has changed the rules. Brands, marketers and even consumers have been given a blank canvas. We can learn old lessons from the past and apply them to the new challenges of today—using technology, data and creativity to build better experiences and a brighter future. As we enter the recovery phase, and many of us eagerly await a return to “normal,” let’s remember one thing:

We Are Not Normal—We Are Extraordinary.

This is our time, this is our recovery—this is our Renaissance.

Recovery? This Is Our Renaissance Report

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