exercise 1 header


This exercise will help you figure out what’s changed since the COVID crisis began. It’s designed to help you understand the wider context - we’ll get into the detail later on - so try to keep your observations high-level.

Think about the trends and shifts that are taking place. Specifically, what are the changes that could or will have a direct impact on your business, customers, competitors and industry?

We’ve included a few prompts to get the ball rolling, but you’ll want to include your own as well. 

This is a quickfire exercise. Don’t spend too much time trying to think of every single thing that’s changed. Jot down headlines and then move on.

We’ve also included a couple of reasons to be cheerful - thankfully, it’s not all bad news!

Political changes:
How has the political context changed for your business?

  • Immediate impact of the lockdown on society.
  • Likelihood of higher taxes for consumers and businesses.
  • End of government support as we move out of the emergency phase.
  • The phased transition out of lockdown, with some industries starting earlier than others.
  • Reason to be cheerful: less political polarisation.
Are there any other political changes that might impact your business, industry, customers or competitors?


Economic changes:
What are the economic changes that will impact your business or market

  • Customers, businesses and competitors are spending less.
  • Likelihood of a recession.
  • Budgets will be focussed on ROI, efficiency and productivity.
  • Increased focus on agility, scalability and being nimble.
  • Many businesses will fold, releasing their customers into the market.
  • Discretionary or luxury spending will fall.
  • Reason to be cheerful: markets will shift as businesses adapt, creating new opportunities.

Beyond these macro trends, how might other changes in the economic landscape impact your business, your industry and your customers and competitors?

60% of businesses have discovered new ways of working that they might use after the lockdown ends - Econsultancy


Social and cultural changes: 
How might your business be impacted by changes in our social and cultural and behaviour?

  • Re-evaluation of core values and purpose.
  • More of a focus on family and key relationships.
  • More willingness to seize the moment.
  • Increase in working from home.
  • Far less international travel.
  • Less patience for commuting or attending unnecessary meetings.
  • Some habits returning to normal as people return to work.
  • Reason to be cheerful: people will focus on the things that really matter to them.
What other social and cultural changes can you think of that might impact your business, industry, customers or competitors? 

Just 10% of consumers expect things to ‘return to normal’ - Marketing Week


Technological changes:

How might recent changes in how people use technology impact your business?

  • Massive increase in online shopping and selling.
  • Video conferencing has become the norm.
  • Consumers will expect smooth digital experiences from now on.
  • Businesses more reliant on digital channels.
  • Reasons to be cheerful: technology has brought us closer together.

What other technological changes can you think of that might impact your business, industry, customers or competitors?

Retail email open rates are 40% higher than pre-COVID - Econsultancy
45% of consumers spending more time on social media - Econsultancy

Legal changes

How might recent changes in legislation impact your business?

  • Significant employer obligations under The Coronavirus Act 2020
  • Health & Safety regulations and obligations are ever more stringent
  • Implications across HR and employee rights and expectations
  • HMRC and payroll appreciably impacted
  • And Brexit is still around the corner

Are there other legislative changes that might impact your business, industry, customers or competitors? 

Environmental changes

What are the Environmental changes that will impact your business or market?

  • Emissions are down and we have more interest in green technology
  • Greater investments in R&D in green and clean technologies
  • Significant reduction in recycling rates right across the globe
  • Heightened risk of environmental non-compliance
  • Will people expect us to maintain the new environmental levels or is it just a blip?

What other environmental changes might impact your business, industry, customers or competitors? 


Despite a 19% fall in global CO2 emissions in May 2020 compared with 2019, reductions for 2020 as a whole are likely to be 6-8%. This level of reduction would be needed each year for the next 30 to meet the internationally agreed target - IRENA/Nature Climate Change



You now have a list of all the major trends and shifts that have happened in your market since this crisis began and some ideas for how you can take advantage of those changes.

In the next exercise, we’ll look at how these trends relate to your business.

Go to exercise 2 Return to overview

Conclusion overview