Brands will have to accelerate and humanise to thrive



13 May 2020

With 45% of people not wanting to go into a shopping centre and 39% of people saying their shopping habits have changed due to lockdown, brands will have to accelerate and humanise to thrive

Powered by data-science and behavioural sciences, Unlimited introduces a four-step reactivation plan that will enable brands to understand new audiences quickly and map strategies for a rapid recovery

Today, Wednesday 13th May Unlimited has introduced a new four-step insight-led system for clients looking to move out of COVID19 in a dynamic way. With no playbook for this kind of recovery, the solution places emphasis on understanding exactly how audiences’ attitudes and lifestyles have changed so they can reactivate their brand in ways that are sensitive to the new customer landscape and remain or increase relevancy.

Over the past five weeks there has been much speculation as to what the ‘new normal’ will look like for consumers and businesses. Many have successfully pivoted over the short-term, adapting their finances, operations and communications to cope with the spike or decline in demand whilst some are still struggling. But as businesses look to navigate their way out the other side of COVID through the lock-down lifts and social distancing measures, it is clear there is a need to understand what the new normal will look for categories and businesses to de-risk strategical decision making.

Walnut Unlimited has been tracking the pulse of the nation with the help of a community of scientists and neurologists since before and during COVID to understand how consumers attitudes and behaviours are changing to life in general. Our ‘Understanding The Nation’ study which takes 2,000 UK consumers polled monthly since 2018, recently indicated that behaviours and routines towards shopping had changed demonstrably with only 30% of people feeling comfortable at the thought of returning to their workplace as normal and nearly half saying they wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a shopping centre. The research also revealed that lockdown has led to 60% of the nation have done some gardening, 39% have looked for new recipes, 38% are exercising more and 37% have done some DIY.

Says Tim Hassett, Unlimited CEO “In today’s world, genuine human understanding has never been more important. Despite its scale and severity, Covid-19 won’t change the fundamental rules of marketing but understanding how people perceive and feel the world around them and why they do what they do is critical to re-building connections between brands and their audiences.

Combine that with the current climate and a deep unknown of what the new normal will look like for people and certain industries, it’s imperative brands get under the skin of their customers during this time to ensure they remain empathetic, commercially focused and come out the other side positively. This 4-step reactivation plan does exactly that – focusses on unpicking the new normal and provides a quick route to recover rapidly and with the customer front and centre of that.”

Brands need to understand what new behaviours, attitudes and feelings have developed and how this has impacted their category and customer. Using Realise Unlimited’s expertise in data and analytics, we are combining our Understanding the Nation findings with existing behavioural data and client’s customer data, to enable us to simulate the impact on client’s businesses. We’re able to predict which behaviours are likely to stick or change over the medium and longer-term, enabling us to recommend dynamic strategic solutions across product, price, promotion, place and the customer, that are rooted in scientific human truths.

Unlimited is an integrated agency group with Human Understanding at the heart. Our world-class data, insight and technology drive our creativity and define our solutions – creating genuine business advantage for clients. Our four award winning divisions deliver across data and research, marketing, communications and digital technology.



For further information, please contact

Sarah Shilling | Chief Marketing Officer | Tel: 07815 091758 |


Notes to editors

  1. Our tight-knit community of neuroscientists, behavioural scientists and data analytic experts are all available for interview and to talk to clients directly about business challenges in the first instance
  2. All figures related to Walnut Unlimited research and available upon request

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