Accelerated expectations in the age of chaos – trust in the post-Covid world

Covid-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to businesses and their reputations. This is something we may already know – but in a data-led presentation from Sandra Macleod, Group CEO, Echo Research, we get the hard facts about what these challenges look like, and how businesses are responding to them.


Speaking on the second day of the AMEC Virtual Global Summit on Measurement, Sandra draws on Echo research, including interviews with 300+ C-suite members and 1,000 members of the public, combined with analysis of 7.1m social media posts.


“The age of chaos has led to accelerated expectations, both external and internal,” says Sandra. “So, now’s the time to address it with planning, purpose and proof.”


Sandra paints a picture of the pandemic’s impact on trust among business leaders and the general public. Not only is trust in decline, but companies’ values are increasingly being tested. We may even be entering an era when values are the de facto measure against which reputations are assessed.


Indeed, ESG issues have become increasingly important, and now have a distinct influence on market capitalisation. Climate change has grown in importance to the public over the past year, and yet only half of business leaders are taking the right actions to address it.


But that may be set to change, as Sandra reveals that the key learning that many business leaders have gained from Covid is the capacity to adapt and pivot. They followed this with a newfound attention to people-first issues – mental health, wellbeing, working from home. Despite such issues having clearly been front of mind for many employers, the public still does not believe that business is doing enough to put people first.


Huge tensions remain. The public worries about the state of the world after Covid. There are great expectations for increased empathy around mental health and fairness.

Replacing fear, there is a rising anger in the business world.


But there are positives too. Covid has been a great accelerator: the advances in technology; the awareness of inequalities; the transformations going on across the world. And the growing focus on ethics and values challenges the ways we worked in the past and points to a better future.