PwC with Strategy & Where Next

Best Use of Thought Leadership

When COVID-19 swept the world, the virus – and policy responses to it – caused a level of disruption that businesses had not encountered in decades. The uncertainty of both supply and demand, alongside concerns around liquidity, employee welfare, and post-Brexit trading made for a true “black swan” event for most Boards. Decision-makers had to respond quickly to these challenges and, although they were overwhelmed with the abundance of ‘first aid’ knowledge, the sheer quantity of information created more obstacles than useful solutions. More importantly much of the information was centred around acute crisis management and potential business recovery situations to avoid collapsing balance sheets, yet it missed the importance of furlough and other Government interventions that meant the real focus of counsel most Boards needed was to be more strategic than short-term.

As a consequence of that demand from the C-suite and Boardroom, Strategy& (PwC’s global strategy consulting business) leveraged the combined capabilities in Corporate and Deals strategy across multiple industries and sectors, underpinned by its own economics and data and analytics functions, to create thought leadership that could inform senior decision-makers and help them move forward with confidence.

The result was a suite of 24 reports, each providing strategic, industry-specific research into the economic context and impact of the pandemic, along with insights to inform decisions about the future. The urgency of the situation demanded a rapid response, so new, collaborative ways of developing thought leadership were introduced, allowing them to work at scale and deliver in an unprecedented seven weeks. They created their largest-ever thought leadership campaign group, combining their best in-house thinking with first-hand industry experience and detailed macro and microeconomic modelling of UK and sector scenarios.

The campaign was differentiated by its distinctive, client-centred focus on the midterm questions being faced in specific industries. As a result, the thought leadership helped clients think further into the future by giving them deep industry perspectives, economic and trend-related insights, exploration of COVID-19 as a catalyst for change and demonstrations of how to maximise the opportunity for change.

For their work to deliver the greatest value, they needed it to achieve high visibility and client engagement, so their activation plan sought to maximise the breadth of PwC alongside its own Strategy& channels across multiple industries. Internally, they showed staff how to promote the reports to clients and through their own networks, starting the cascade with internal emails across numerous service lines. This was supplemented with content on internal collaboration sites and social platforms, as well as industry-specific Salesforce chatter, and further promotion through newsletters and partner and director channels. Externally, they made PDF reports available for download through the Strategy& and PwC websites, and further reach was achieved through social media, direct marketing, targeted online advertising, podcasts and virtual roundtables. The lead-generation advertising was focused on LinkedIn, which had been fruitful for previous campaigns.

Where Next? had such a successful lead-generation advertising campaign it was chosen by LinkedIn as a case study. Among some impressive campaign results, the work generated over 9,500 inbound contacts, and an unprecedented level of engagement.

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