Stay Ahead: Insights from APCO
"APCO Worldwide’s research on consumer perceptions in the pandemic shows that 74% of people "don't see a single company or corporate leader standing out.” Given the new operating environment and accelerated pace of change sweeping our society, what is the role of business in helping Build Forward after COVID-19?
This question must be examined in the context of the growing number of challenges in the ecosystems in which businesses operate. Beyond the staggering unemployment statistics, there are more concerning trends of the pandemic hurting the more vulnerable..."
|Communicating in a Post-COVID-19 Landscape|
Nicole Monge, senior associate director in APCO’s Washington office, and Bedoor Khalil, account director in APCO Worldwide's Dubai office, share their tips on how to take advantage of digital technology and facilitate effective communication beyond the pandemic.
"Brands and organizations that were reluctant to reinvent themselves have been adversely impacted and are set to struggle for years to come without drastic changes. Being perceived as being slow to adapt to the dynamic changes sweeping the world could have long-term reputational impact.
To stay on top of consumers’ minds, brands need to share content that is relevant to the human experience, with the core objective of improving the everyday lives of their audiences. They can change that, but it will require adapting during a time where sensitivities are high and people are inundated with information, so will require creativity and nimble action."
"All over the world, the relationship between the private sector and governments has historically waxed and waned. At times, it can resemble an awkward courtship and a few uncomfortable dance moves mixed in with a degree of suspicion and trepidation on both sides.
Sides that are working on different agendas and objectives that would sometimes overlap but often run in parallel. Each recognizing the value of each other, but nervous about getting too close.
But that was before COVID-19."
APCO Worldwide continues to host webinars on the impact of the global pandemic from different industry and regional perspectives. Last week, APCO hosted a webinar in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the post-pandemic relationship between technology, governments and citizens and discussed the public’s expectations for the role of government and technology in their lives after the pandemic.
You can access all our webinar recordings and other resources at APCO’s Coronavirus Hub.
ISRAEL: ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLANS
|APCO colleagues are sharing on-the-ground insights and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 in markets around the world. Today’s dispatch is from APCO's Tel Aviv office, highlights Israel's ongoing post-pandemic recovery plans and the economic impact on different industries. For more information, please contact Lana Osher.|
The coronavirus crisis caused Israel to order the closure of most businesses and ban gatherings in mid-March, as the number of cases significantly rose, leading to a widespread shutdown of economic activity. Unemployment rose from less than 4% to 27% within weeks, while the budget deficit surged to 6% of GDP from 3.6%. In addressing the economic fallout, the Israeli government initially unveiled a USD 22 billion stimulus package (about 5.7% of GDP), which featured two primary components to promote business continuity: USD 16 billion in budgeting, grants, and allowances, including to the healthcare system and USD 6 billion in credit and liquidity measures. The government subsequently approved an additional USD 6 billion towards revitalizing the economy, including a plan in late May that allocated funding to tech start-ups and promoted fiber-optic Internet development. The tech industry a key engine of Israel's long-term economic growth and catalyst for foreign investment, has been prioritized by policymakers as recent surveys found that 65% of start-ups could face closure in the next six months without external support and that more than half have either frozen hiring or dismissed employees. As the lockdown became prolonged, there were increased nationwide protests by small business owners (which account for 99% of Israeli companies) urging greater government support and loosening the lockdown restrictions as quickly as possible.
The aggressive lockdown measures were perceived as successful in reducing the number of new daily cases throughout May. This has led Israel to re-open most sectors of the economy – including retail stores and restaurants, subject to social distancing measures – and increase the number of people permitted to assemble in public gatherings. However, the first two weeks of June have seen a resurgence of new cases, which authorities have attributed mostly to re-opened schools – leading to renewed policy debates about reinstituting several lockdown measures and postponing additional re-opening measures planned for mid-June. For the time being, the government has decided on targeted closures rather than a full shutdown of the economy, in the context of which private consumption is slowly rising towards pre-lockdown levels. The Israeli government has embarked on measures to spur domestic business activity and economic recovery, most notably making permanent a two-year pilot to eliminate import duties and taxes on a broad range of consumer goods – including electronics, cosmetics, clothing, footwear and baby products. In the energy sphere, the pandemic’s detrimental effect on global oil and gas markets also sparked a policy discussion on rethinking the country's reliance on offshore fossil fuel production in favor of greater renewables consumption. Recently, the Ministry of Energy unveiled a plan to have Israel increase its use of renewables – especially solar power to 30% of national energy demand by 2030, an increase from the previously-planned target of 17% and the current rate of 3-5%.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated deep fault lines in the global economy, starkly exposing the divisions and inequalities of our current world. It has also multiplied and amplified the voices of those calling for far-reaching reforms. When even the Davos set is issuing calls for a “global reset of capitalism,” you know that changes are afoot.”
- Dani Rodrik and Stefanie Stantcheva, Harvard International Political Economy and Economics Professors
“This may be a pandemic, it may be affecting the world but it's affecting each and every country in a different way depending on when the disease came, depending on how the initial responses were managed and depending on how the disease is evolving at this point and by no means is this over."
- Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO Health Emergencies Programme Executive Director