The Forum Weekly Roundup: on confronting the inevitability of uncertainty, repurposing resources to give back and communication theory

David Cowan

Managing Director

The Financial Services Forum

Confronting the inevitability of uncertainty

With lockdown measures extended for another 3 weeks, most of us have begun to accept that restrictions on our ability to return to an increasingly alien ‘normal life’ are set to continue into the indefinite future. Leading teams and businesses in a time of such undetermined uncertainty presents new challenges for many of us. And, strategy-setting aside, the human element of this crisis underpins every decision, continuously rooting us back to the health and well-being of the people who work for us and the customers we serve.

With our teams (rightfully) speculating how businesses might change in the near and distant future, the only certainty we really have to offer is uncertainty. Which is in fact a familiar beast in many ways. As marketers, we analyse our environment then position the odds in favour of success, via brand building, product, promotion, experience, language and even internal culture.Time spent hypothesising on the outcome of marketing actions is indeed important, but to do so is still just supposition.

Developing and quantifying the knowledge you do have, then using it to create an environment that will nurture the positive outcomes and mitigate the negative, enables us to harness the power of certainty and in doing so, confront the unknown possibilities of uncertainty.

How one financial services business is giving back by re-purposing kitchen facilities

In one of his recent LinkedIn articles (which you can read here) long-standing Member of the Forum, Lucian Camp, pointed out that financial services companies are seemingly hell-bent on fostering yet more negative news stories (read: enforced personal guarantees and rising interest rates on overdrafts, to name a few). Yet perhaps despite media perceptions, financial services companies are making sensible decisions and doing good within the wider community.

Food retailers such as Leon and IKEA have hit the news recently for using their kitchens to feed key workers, finding a natural fit within their core purpose to enable them to give back. However, I learnt via LinkedIn this morning that Lloyds of London have made the decision to keep their One Lime Street kitchen open, in partnership with their catering teams, to provide food to vulnerable families, key workers and homeless shelters (to name just a few of the beneficiaries).

What a wonderful story, and a great example of how financial services companies are helping their local community by offering their resources in a time of need.

When communications theory becomes reality

Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to our webinar with Instinctif Partners on the 28 April at 1400-1430pm. Joined by Jen Upton, Head of Business Resilience and Noémie De Andia, Partner, Financial Services, Consumer and Technology, we will be discussing how marketers can ride out adversity and plan for communications success in a crisis by developing guiding brand communications principles and adopting a growth mindset.

This is part of a new series of events that we have developed in response to the coronavirus crisis, with the purpose of helping our Members gain access to information and knowledge to inform and improve their marketing strategy during a difficult time. If you have any research papers, case studies or articles that are addressing these issues, and you’d like to share them on the Knowledge Centre, please drop Jasmine a line.

As ever, have a peaceful and enjoyable weekend, and stay safe.

Best wishes,


Previous article

The Forum Weekly Roundup: marketing as the dust Settles, goodbye to Richard and a few changes to our calendar

Next article

The Forum Weekly Roundup: on the evolution of authenticity in leadership and 5 things we’ve learnt this week