What if 2020 was the year we rebuilt the world’s systems? The time when we rebuilt our processes, rebuilt our infrastructures and even rebuilt even our own thinking. What if we used this year to champion ‘good’ and really begin to lay the foundations for the future that we all want and need.
We’ve been given this unique opportunity to take some time out and reassess what is important to us. We’ve watched the world begin to heal as we’ve been forced to slow down. We’ve been able to really appreciate what we have and see that mindless consumption isn’t the way forward. We’ve watched the Black Lives Matter movement rise up and say enough is enough. It’s amazing the change that can take place in a short number of months.
We know that only 9% of Britons want to return to ‘normal’ once lockdown is lifted so why should we?
We’ve seen the impact that just a short space of time can have on our planet, whether that’s air plummeting air pollution or CO2 levels. With social movement restricted, planes grounded and factories closed we’ve seen a marked improvement in air quality.
Many cities have taken notice and are already committed to changing their ways for the better through the introduction of new bike lanes, schemes to get more people cycling and banning cars from public spaces.
As business begins to ramp back up, we’ve also seen purpose-driven businesses calling for the health of our planet to be put at the heart of all recovery business decisions. Over 60 epic organisation signed a letter to the government stating how this should be done. Others are following suit. The leading figures within the UK arts’ have recently joined the call for a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis despite the continued concern for their sectors as many of these places, such as theatres, could be the last to reopen.
Fashion powerhouse Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, recently announced that the brand would go seasonless and that it would be decreasing the number of shows it holds each year from five to two. In a number of Instagram posts on the brand’s account, he recognised the fact that the fashion industry had been moving too fast and wrote ‘a time that now, more than ever, is necessary to build new and more powerful narrations’.
Businesses are speaking out and taking action across industries and sectors and giving us hope that more change for the better is imminent. These steps are just the starting point.
We’ve also seen action being taken within communities. Whether that’s been the incredible acts of kindness taking place to ensure our most vulnerable have been supported throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the country coming together to clap for the NHS on a Thursday evening or the strong support for and the dedication to learning in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
It’s been an incredible time of learning for everyone and will continue to be. The learning being that when people and communities come together, use their voice and stand united against a threat, be it the virus, the climate crisis or racism, change can happen.
As an agency, we’re storytellers at heart. We help brands to communicate their social and environmental stories. We know the power words can have. We shouldn’t be striving to ‘get back to normal’ or even to a ‘new normal’. The definition of normal is ‘the usual, typical, or expected state or condition’, and we know the majority of people don’t want that.
We need to communicate the future we want. Words lead to action and they have the ability to shape that future. They have the ability to help us build back better.