4 min readSep 17, 2020


On the 4th September, Chuck Porter (chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky) presented on ‘The Real Answers As To When We’ll Get Back To Normal’ for ZeeMelt 2020.

With the subject at the front of everyone’s mind, we thought we’d compile some of the essential points he touched upon (in case you missed it):

First off, the industry is never getting back to ‘normal’.

We’re in a new normal because of three major factors:

  • The pandemic.
  • A ‘dramatically heightened emphasis on social issues’ and daily demonstrations.
  • Extreme political and social opinion polarisation.

These global influences are obviously going to change how the marketing world works. If the demand is totally different, so will be the approach.

In the wake of these events, the manner in which agencies and consultants operate and address certain issues is going to need to change, if it hasn’t already.

The marketing world has new core values.

These are to be:

  • Fast: keeping up with the changes in the industry and what your audience wants has never been more important. 💨
  • Nimble: adapt or die. Especially in turbulent times such as these.
  • Flexible: allowing for change in working life/ styles for staff, what we offer to clients and for ourselves to fit into the new normal.
  • Cost-effective: every dollar saved in a world heading into a recession always pays dividends. There is a need to do more with less. 🤑

These had already begun to pervade the industry but now stand with more prominence. The combination of the aforementioned factors has catalysed the arrival of the future like a ‘freight-train’. 🚂

With these as the new core of marketing, larger and more long-term production will decrease. There is a new demand for an increase in content, which predicates that that content will need to align with the new values.

‘People will always find more ways to create their own niches.’

Change is often a good thing and we are more likely to emerge with a stronger industry. It can be reinvigorating and evoke a better situation than before.

With the change, however, comes the inevitable question of employment. Porter emphasised that the following attributes would always be in necessity/high demand:

  • Smarts: remember smarts is not equal to your IQ. 🧠
  • Talent: recognise where your natural propensity lies — try things that you’re good at. 💥
  • Passion: think about what gets you up in the morning and do more of that. 🔥
  • Curiosity: we learn through trial and error so remember to keep learning (psst…go to 42courses.com) 🔎
  • Experience: if you’re young (or not) and you can’t find a job in what you want to do, make your own experience. 👏

The world is ‘always in a race for talent’ and you can use these assets to label yourself however you want to appeal for recruitment.

What will the ‘back to work’ world be like?

Large corporations such as Twitter, Shopify, Slack, Amazon and Facebook have said that people don’t have to go back into work if they don’t want to.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that no one will go back into work. There will be those who would prefer to continue to work remotely, just as there will be people who can’t wait to get back to a workspace.

There is more freedom and leeway to decide how and where you want to work. Though the 9–5 is likely an archetype of the past, it won’t fade in entirety.

What you do is more important than what you say.

Communication/Marketing in a crisis should have these 3 key features:

  • Honesty
  • Originality
  • Specificity

A good response to a crisis from a company is drastically more important than a good commercial. To go viral as the result of a positive deed is much better marketing than a well-received commercial.

If you’re going to take a position on an issue, the number one thing to do is to live it. Sincerity is key.

It’s important to be aware that you may alienate part of your audience in order to resonate more strongly with another part of your audience. There is more data available now than ever to really know your audience, so make sure you’ve done your due diligence.

With the burgeoning issues of the environment and social justice movements at the fore of society’s consciousness, there is the temptation to embrace the mentality that ‘insurgency and revolution are the new cool’. Beware of the consequences of jumping on the bandwagon.

At the end of the day, the ultimate branding goal is to find a way to address issues by uniting people instead of dividing them, difficult as this may be.

This is already such a time of intense conflict that further splits can only do more harm than good. Chuck Porter used the example of the MPR raccoon 🦝 of 2018 — positivity for the sake of positivity can be the greatest unifier! 🌻

Need some help thinking of new positive ideas? Head over to our How to Be More Creative course to hone your idea muscles! 💪




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