VIA BEETCAM — People can learn a lot from a crisis. And we can also learn a lot about businesses.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Rob Norman, senior advisor to GroupM, the world’s largest media agency, says the coronavirus pandemic will allow us to assess brands against their stated goals.

“We’ve had any number of enterprises in the package goods business, and beyond in financial services, telling us that they are purpose-driven and that their brands and their business must have a wider purpose than simply profit in order to justify their existence,” Norman says in this interview recorded remotely due to the crisis.

“Now, these are all very easy things to say at times of great prosperity, when the only way is up.”

So Norman says organizations need to assess whether they are making good on three typical pledges many have made:

  • “Our people are our most important asset.”
  • “We serve all constituents, not just shareholders.”
  • “We are a purpose driven business.”

The coronavirus pandemic threatens millions of lives globally, with many health systems expected to be over-whelmed, if they aren’t already.

In business, the virus is already threatening a catastrophic effect. The closure of theaters and cinemas will cause large revenue dents. Share prices are plummetting.

But Norman thinks companies should be concerned with more than finances.

“If we fight to only minimise their losses, the consequential loss in other parts of their business, and eventually to the underlying the asset they hold, will be catastrophic,” he says, urging businesses to “think about … the less-served in our communities”.

“This really should be the communications business’ golden moment,” Norman adds.

Norman was interviewed remotely at home via the BeetCam powered by Zoom.