Marketing Leaders discuss getting #Back2Biz as the UK starts to reopen

On Thursday 22nd of April, Yext hosted a virtual breakfast briefing to support brands with their strategy for getting back to business as the UK opens up once again. With a packed agenda and exceptional speakers, we’ve rounded up the event highlights and the inspiration that your brand can use to reopen more successfully. 

Mike Coupe kicked off the session, who, as Group CEO of Sainsburys between 2014 and 2020, and Director of Testing at NHS Test and Trace, has seen first-hand the impacts of COVID-19, and navigated the uncharted territory of leading during a pandemic. In his talk, entitled ‘Five Years in Five Weeks’, Mike spoke to how his leadership model has changed over the past year, and shared his top tips to leading through a crisis: 

  • Values-based approach: doing the right thing regardless of the cost or financial implications and consciously prioritising the customers who need extra support
  • Delegation is key to reacting at speed
  • Communicate relentlessly with your customers to keep them informed 

Like many businesses, Sainsbury’s quickly pivoted to new ways of working, with Mike remarking that the employees would have thought him “completely mad” if he’d told them that they’d be working from home full time. However, he also shared his cautious optimism about the future, owing to the wave of money likely to return from the consumer space and the opportunities that await us as we slowly return to normal. 

Next to take the virtual stage was our customer panel, made up of Lisa Smith from Edwardian Hotels London, Stéphane Knapp from LEGO 
and Bert Middendorp from Hunkemöller. Each touched on how they have innovated and transformed in response to the past year, with varying levels of disruption faced by each brand in the face of COVID-19. 

  • For Lisa, delivering flexible options for travellers has become paramount. With more and more hotel guests wanting to combine work and leisure, and with shorter city breaks on the rise, Edwardian Hotels London have taken a ‘bleisure’ approach, by developing innovative hybrid rooms which serve both business and leisure customers.
  • LEGO is focussing on how they can provide memorable experiences to get customers back into stores and continue to build excitement about getting back to business. Stéphane spoke to how it is now vital to make sure that every step of the customer journey provides them with the information they need, as consumers shift the ways that they interact with the brand. 
  • Bert from Hunkemöller touched on how different markets are adapting to reopening, and the trends that he’s seeing as certain regions reopen, and the excitement that people have to be returning to stores. In the past year, the brand has seen that customers are taking a truly omnichannel path to purchase, with much more research taking place online, but with consumers still looking to have the in-store experience to make a purchase. 

With fascinating insights from all of our speakers, the overarching message was one of cautious optimism and the innovations and trends which will continue to develop as we all get back to business. For even more inspiration, download our #Back2Biz Checklist, to make sure you’re ticking every box as we return to ‘normal’ – whatever that is!

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