2020: A Year For Rewriting the Rulebook and Going Beyond the Brand

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

2020 has been a banner year in more ways than one. Covid-19 has shaken the world to its core. For retail, the pandemic has caused the high-street to close and many leaders to make tough job cuts.

As consumers, our attention has shifted onto health, wellbeing and the home and as brands, our focus has shifted onto social responsibility and accelerating digital.

Widespread political movements have also caused companies to look inwardly at improving their inclusivity and diversity.

We would normally write yearly reviews, however, we are living in extraordinary times and the first six months of 2020 have more to unpack than the whole of 2019!

In this article, we take a look at how the Beauty, Fashion, Luxury and Lifestyle industries have changed in 2020 and how leaders must adapt to be successful in the future.

Rewriting the Rulebook

There have already been substantial changes made to tradition this year. Among them:

  • Gucci has gone seasonless, with the label’s creative director, Alessandro Michele announcing they will be cutting shows from five to two a year.

  • During the outbreak of Covid-19, many cosmetics companies switched their manufacturing to produce much needed hand sanitizers and cleaning agents.

  • The British Fashion Council announced that for the next twelve months, London Fashion Week will be present in a new digital format, available to everyone.

  • Companies have had to be flexible, with many brands including Zara sending products to the homes of models and influencers to continue showcasing new collections.

Most brands have had to adapt their business model in some way and find new ways to deliver value.

Innovation and staying relevant have been at the forefront of leadership strategies. Especially for heritage brands whose legacy is no longer a guarantee for their success.

We spoke with Riccardo Sciutto, CEO of Sergio Rossi about how he’s united heritage and digital.

“It is crucial to think innovatively and passionately about the future, be audacious and without fear of taking risks to guide a brand with as rich a history as Sergio Rossi into the modern era. And this requires investing and believing in digital.”

From Communication to Conversation

In these past few months, with everything that has been going on in the world, brands have shifted to create a more meaningful dialogue with their consumers.

They have also worked to deliver more personalised experiences and propositions that fit our digitally-infused lifestyles.

During the coronavirus crisis and #BLM movement, brands have needed to take a step back and explain their brand identity and values.

What was considered ‘normal’ or ‘important’ before this, such as product launches and live events have now been questioned.

During a recent HVO Search Live conversation ‘Brand Storytelling in the NEW Digital Age

We spoke about how the spirit of community has come to the forefront of communications and the better we understand the emotional needs of our audience, the better we can communicate with them.

Lucy Yeomans, Founder and Creator of Drest, who was on our panel, also spoke about how people remember the ways brands act right now and why being transparent is key: