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Creating Tomorrow: recession planning for the design world

Did you know that during the second world war, cosmetics in Great Britain were rationed, but that Prime Minister Winston Churchill insisted lipstick was kept in production as a morale-boosting purchase for women across the country?

Moral of the story? Even during the worst times in history, people still needed to treat themselves.

Second moral of the story: make sure you listen to our new podcast, Create Tomorrow, not just because that’s where I learned about Churchill’s support for lipstick production (thank you, WGSN Beauty Team) but because it’s where we’ve also really started thinking about what comes after this strange time of pandemic.

As governments across the globe start to hint at lockdowns being relaxed, and with restrictions being lifted in some countries, our thoughts turn to what comes next.

Sadly, what comes next is more than likely a global recession.

While the waters might be choppy, a recession is something those of us in the creative industries have more practice with, certainly more practice than we do with viral pandemics. You and your colleagues may have been firefighting for the past few months as your business felt the brunt of lockdowns, changing consumer attitudes and behaviour, but now is the time to start seriously planning for a period of curtailed spending.

Thankfully, I remain convinced that consumers everywhere, myself included, will still want the odd treat or two in the coming years. Although as more of a mascara girl than a lipstick lover, I don’t intend to ration myself when it comes to that particular essential beauty buy.

If we look back to the recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis, consumers spent their money with brands they trusted and on products that would help protect their families. It’s likely that this time will be no different, except that what constitutes a brand someone trusts is not just about a household name that generation after generation has relied on, and as much about a brand that has purpose and speaks to them as an individual. A D2C brand can rank as highly as a multinational conglomerate. And when it comes to helping protect, that has taken on a whole new meaning in light of Covid-19.

It’s time to evolve the products you have and think seriously about new ones you plan to bring to market. The #creativityVcrisis that the design world has powered will need to continue even after the pandemic subsides.

Recommended listen: Create Tomorrow – The WGSN Podcast

The first episode of WGSN’s new podcast explores the role the beauty industry will need to play in a post-coronavirus world, and how a focus on hygiene will allay consumer anxiety.

Listen on: iTunes | Spotify

 

 

 

 

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