The observation of COVID-19 trends in China gives us a view to the post-pandemic future, writes Gordon Domlija, Wavemaker's China Chief Executive Officer and Asia Pacific President.

1. Context is likely the best indicator of recovery. The context we observe will impact the shape and speed of recovery by market, with markets with higher levels of initial confidence, experiencing a V-Shape, W-Shape, U-Shape, or even L-Shape recovery. Our recommendation is to consider the context of your market, category or brand prior to this crisis. This will facilitate planning for recovery and growth in the ‘New Normal’.

2. Avoid over-commitment to fitness apps. Some trends are linked to the current disruption, such as workouts at home via fitness apps. Whilst these may see a short-term bounce, this will not sustain through the recovery period after the outbreak. Our recommendation is to leverage fitness apps flexibly in the short-term and avoid over-commitment.

3. Find the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness. Many brands have swung hard to efficiencies during COVID-19. As the recovery phase kicks off, refocusing on effectiveness is key. For some brands, this may mean reentering the market entirely, for others this may mean playing with media which also drives effective returns.

4. Innovate meaningfully. Innovation is key, as well as a great opportunity to capitalise on new accelerated trends. However resist copycat innovation, but ensure what you do is always relevant to your core objectives. Whilst considering innovation, review the balance of 'noise' around a new trend and set clear KPIs.

5. Refocus on brand purpose and review your consumer journey. We are now working with our clients to re-focus on the priming stage. Rebuilding brand bias is the next key battleground. This may also involve re-imagining your brand purpose or calling out elements which resonate more right now.

6. Recognise that many of marketing’s laws still apply – some even more so now. It’s easy to focus on the disruption, but we believe now is the time to deploy all we’ve learned, not jettison it. Sustained share of voice (SOV), the right blend of branding and activation, balancing short and long-term planning and creativity have all never been more important. 

7. Continue to monitor changes in how people feel: whilst unemployment will rise and downturns will take time to work through, many of the facts about culture and society will look quite consistent. Many will sustain their consumption habits. But your consumers will feel differently. Think about how brands can bring people together, create an emotional connection and actively contribute.