Thought Leadership

Ten things you CAN do right now: A guide to brands navigating lockdown

With marketers conflicted on whether to spend or save, Mark Runacus, Co-Founder & Planning Partner of Wax/On, has compiled a definitive guide to what brands can be doing now to stay in the best possible shape through this crisis

Mark Runacus MBE, Wax/On

Co-Founder & Planning Partner


It was just a few weeks ago that I started seeing COVID 19-related content aimed at brands and agencies that had one consistent message: “spend, spend, spend”.

This message of munificence was being heralded by media agencies, media owners, marketing journalists and authors.

But to me it sounded very shallow.

I work in a small independent creative agency and we’d already had very personal and emotional chats with all our clients about mutual issues of cash flow, furloughs, and messaging. We all knew the principles of saliency, that we shouldn’t let our brands go silent, but at the same time my client colleagues were fending off requests from their CEO to hand back all of the next quarter’s marketing budget.

I was worried that a “spend, spend, spend” message, whilst well-intentioned, was re-building one of the ugliest ivory towers we’ve ever had. It made us sound completely out of touch.

So, I spent the next few days immersing myself in as much COVID-related consumer research as I could find. I thought it might be helpful to digest and summarise it all and share it in a genuine spirit of “we’re all in it together” collaboration.

I adopted the same approach in our fortnightly podcast, Wax Lyrical. Recently our guests have included Dr Simon Moore from Innovationbubble and Orlando Wood from System1 Research.

As well as giving an overview of the COVID situation from a marketing point of view, I also wanted to illustrate the opportunities to actually do stuff without having to spend loads of money.

So, I identified ten insight-driven things that a brand could be doing right now, when 64% of consumers say that how businesses behave now will have a huge impact on their likelihood to buy from them in the future. (Edelman Trust Barometer: Trust and the Coronavirus March 2020)

Visit Wax/On’s profile to download 10 Things You CAN Do Right Now.

Guest Author

Mark Runacus MBE, Wax/On

Co-Founder & Planning Partner,


Mark is Co-Founder and Planning Partner at creative agency Wax/On. Previously Mark was an owner of Karmarama, then one of the UK’s largest independent creative agencies, and now part of Accenture Interactive. In his 30+ year advertising career he has worked both agency and client side across all categories. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2019 birthday honours list for his services to advertising. His career started in direct marketing and Mark became a CRM and loyalty specialist before moving into general advertising. Mark is a former Non-Executive Chair of the Data & Marketing Association. Mark champions inclusion and diversity in the advertising sector in his role as Chair of Outvertising, advertising’s LGBTQ+ advocacy group. Volunteer run and not for profit, Outvertising works with brands and their creative and media partners for more positive LGBTQ+ inclusion in all paid media, and fights for a prejudice free creative working environment as part of a joined-up inclusion and diversity strategy.