Quarterly newsletter

October 2021

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us all hard lessons about resilience and adaptability, forcing individuals and organisations to reckon with a deep, enduring crisis that has threatened our lives and our livelihoods.

While the world of sales has changed in so many ways, people have fundamentally remained the same. Incentive programs are more relevant than ever as an effective way to keep your teams and your channel partners engaged and committed to excelling in a greatly disrupted business landscape.

At Achievement Awards Group, we believe that the most effective incentive solutions are people-centred, grounded in tried and tested design and adapted for current trends. Lately, we find ourselves adapting to incorporate principles of crisis recovery.

In this, our very first edition, we share some of those principles, plus a few post-crisis consumer trends. We also look at what companies need to do differently now, to refocus and move successfully into the future.

I hope you find the articles here helpful and informative.

Thank you for reading.



How to navigate a crisis

What are the 2 most important crisis-recovery traits for any business? Agility and curiosity.

Agility is the ability and resolve to act quickly to adapt to new paradigms. It allows you to take bold, decisive action. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to pursue outside-the-box solutions, no matter how extreme they might be.

Curiosity is a willingness to explore and seek new opportunities and solutions by using data and feedback as a guide. Curiosity helps you uncover new solutions, explore, question and ensure that they’re the best course of action.

If curiosity and agility are so important to success during this crisis, and those in the future, how do you foster a work environment where these traits can take root and grow among your employees?

3 Ways to foster curiosity and agility.

  1. Build a culture where creativity is encouraged and celebrated

Create a safe, welcoming environment for expression of new ideas. Encourage people to come forward with new and different solutions to business challenges, or ways the company can add client value and be more competitive in the market.

Nothing fuels creativity like personal passion, so provide opportunities for people to work on projects that engage their hearts and minds. Encourage collaboration across business units and divisions. Respect everyone’s ideas and publicly acknowledge all contributions.  Remember, building culture is a process that must be nurtured every day.

  1. Constantly collect feedback from all available sources

We live in a time when even the most widely accepted ideas about how to run a business are in a constant state of flux. Conventional notions about customer needs and product-market fit need to be completely re-examined under the lens of a new social and economic reality.

Gathering feedback, constantly and across multiple areas of focus, is critical to ensure we’re taking the best courses of action as we navigate this new territory. Sending surveys and establishing customer advisory boards are two relatively simple strategies that can go a long way to understanding how people are coping in this moment and how you can assist.

  1. Take action on the feedback you gather

Once you’ve gathered the intelligence you need to formulate—or validate—your strategy for moving forward, the next step is successful execution.  It may seem obvious, but collecting feedback is only useful if you act on it.

The world changed for better and for worse in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic affected us all, and we acclimatised. Emerging trends accelerated, and the way we behave, spend and consume will never be the same.

What are consumers looking for in 2021?

Resilience and adaptability are the driving forces behind the top global consumer trends in 2021. The pandemic created, influenced or accelerated each of these trends, forever altering consumer behaviour. Despite the hardships faced last year, consumers are still speaking with their wallets to support the brands that are contributing to a better tomorrow.


Consumers demand that companies care about issues beyond revenue and no longer accept that profits are the be all and end all of business. COVID-19 has reinforced consumer expectations that businesses operate in ways that respect the health and interests of society and consider the future of the planet.  


Consumers are craving the ease, convenience and hands-on service of the pre-pandemic shopping experience. The fitting-room assistance, the cosmetic sampling, and the other little things that were taken for granted before shopping habits were completely upended.

Businesses are under pressure to adapt their operations and provide a customer experience that offers safety and convenience in equal measure.  


Phygital Reality is a hybrid of physical and virtual worlds where consumers can seamlessly live, work, shop and play both in person and online.

Delivering virtually enabled at-home experiences remains imperative to drive e-commerce sales and gather valuable customer data. Even non-digital businesses need to get busy developing phygital reality experiences before competitors beat them to it.  


Consumers are fed up. Distrust in leadership has become the norm. Companies can cater to the restless and rebellious through more transparent marketing, full disclosure in response to any controversy and regular public dialogue on social media. People want to be heard, they want answers to their concerns and questions and woe to the brand that doesn’t deliver.  


Safety is the new wellness.  The fear of infection and a heightened focus on health has reshaped customer priorities. Companies need to take regular and visible steps to demonstrate to customers that health and safety is a paramount concern. Regularly sanitising public areas is greatly reassuring. (People really do notice.) Contactless services are a bonus when you can provide them.  


Having come through the extraordinary trials of 2020, consumers have a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world. They’re in pursuit of a more fulfilled, balanced life and are drawn to brands that support resilience and well-being.


Discretionary spending is declining due to the uncertain economic environment. Thoughtful thrifty consumers are prioritising value-added and health-focused products and services.

Companies should pivot towards value-for-money propositions and offer affordable options without sacrificing quality. Premium attributes should be reinforced with a strong tie-in to health and wellness, self-care or mental wellbeing.


Working outside the office has had a rippling effect on consumer life; from clothing choices to technology spending to eating habits and beyond. Businesses should recognise the challenges and opportunities this trend offers and aim to provide products and services that fulfil the unique needs of a remote workforce.

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