By Kevin O’Farrell, associate vice-president, Analytic Partners
The Covid-19 pandemic has sent the biggest shock through the business and banking world in a generation. Tumultuous as the 2008 crash was, this health crisis has affected the entire world of commerce – impacting all regions and sectors to varying degrees. Companies have had to adjust and amend their business and marketing plans within days and weeks, revising expectations across the board.
As time passes, and the country moves from crisis to recovery, banks will need to consider and accommodate the shifting sands of consumer mobility and spending habits, media supply and demand, the subsequent recession, as well as the unfolding public health situation.
Covid-19 will leave economic uncertainty in its wake. It took four years for the economy to fully rebound from the 2008 recession, so the banking sector needs to be ready to adjust for longer term planning.
This poses unique measurement challenges: how to capture the impact of Covid-19 with so many other forces at play; how to use historical data to predict future outcomes; and how long it will take to move to recovery and revitalisation?
This is where scenario planning is key. Banks can assess budget cuts, changing channel mix, messaging, as well as operational factors such as branch closures and customer requirements.
Banks have had a crucial role to play in ensuring customers have access to the government loans and support on offer. This has meant maintaining brand presence and advertising for this sector has been essential. But scenario planning and agile testing of new strategies is needed nonetheless – campaigns may be cancelled, others will have to be ready to shoot when restrictions are lifted, the creative and scheduling strategies will need to be rethought.
In addition, Commercial Mix Modelling can simulate contingency plans covering best and worst-case scenarios with variables including micro business factors as well as macro factors such as consumer trends and government policy.
As banks adjust to changing behaviour – lockdown has been a tipping point for many people previously reluctant to move to online banking – they must understand all the external influences on their customers. Banks are in an enviable position compared with many sectors, in terms of the quality of data they have on their customers. This data – along with the analysis required – will offer rich insight into the full impact of Covid-19 on banking operations.
In terms of third party data that banks should consider when looking at the impact of Covid-19 includes: human mobility data in light of restrictions caused by government stay-at-home orders; macroeconomic factors such as consumer sentiment and confidence; financial indicators and Covid-19 incidence.
Robust models allow banks to accurately plan and monitor business performance. With updates, banks can use scenario planning to learn and then adapt. This will be vital in helping the sector as it navigates its way through this uncertain future.