Global survey of senior strategists reveals challenges brought on by COVID-19 crisis
26% of respondents surveyed have seen headcounts decreased, and a further 18% were expecting them down the line. This is just one of the findings included in The Future of Strategy 2020 report, released today by WARC, following its annual worldwide survey of more than 1,200 senior strategists.
Fielded in May and June 2020, this year’s report focuses on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on strategy, across headcounts, budgets, and the role of strategy during the crisis.
WARC’s Future of Strategy 2020 key findings are:
- COVID-19 drives an increasing appreciation of strategy
Brands have had to lean on their strategists more than ever before as the pandemic has forced them to rapidly pivot away from planned marketing strategies.
- Headcounts decrease despite the value of strategy increasing
There has been a significant impact of COVID-19 on headcounts in strategy teams, despite strategists telling us that they are in more demand and feel more valued than ever. The impact has been acutely felt at junior levels – reminiscent of the 2008/09 crash.
- Budget cuts have a knock-on effect
COVID-19 has reduced the media spend of the majority of brands, which have responded by cancelling or shifting planned work. This has meant a change in role for some strategists, who have had to pivot their focus to advising clients on how to respond and recover.
- Short-termism and a shift in purpose
There has been a huge shift to short-termism as a result of budget cuts and a need to drive sales quickly as recession bites. Strategists feel this is a real threat to their role and the value they are able to provide. 72% of respondents said their clients are focusing more on short-term strategies as a result of the crisis.
Download sample report PDF. The full report, which includes expert commentary and opinion from around the world, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, as well as advice, is available to WARC subscribers on warc.com