Maury Giles Answers Your Question in “Ask the Expert”

Maury Giles Answers Your Question in “Ask the Expert”

SVP and Partner Maury Giles is featured in the July/August 2020 Quirk’s Media “Ask the Expert” column. In this column, Maury responds to this question:

How can brands provide leadership in polarized times?

Maury discusses the challenges of finding a common path forward when stakeholders are divided and polarized, and puts forth a solution of how to bring these disparate parties together in a constructive and productive way.


WEBINAR: How to Make Decisions with Confidence During COVID-19

Attend our upcoming webinar on

Wednesday, July 1   |   2:00-3:00 P.M. ET

Even the most decisive leaders today are facing unprecedented challenges that are existential, interconnected, and constantly changing.

Association leaders are making decisions about the future of their event and business model, often trying to predict when exactly we’ll be back to “normal.”

Join Don and Maury to discuss:

  • New constructs for decision-making
  • Data on the current attitudes and mindsets of the public with regard to travel and attending events on both a functional and emotional level
  • A better understanding of how to lead in a time of uncertainty



After you register we ask that you participate in an 8-question survey on the state of your event.  We’ll share results and analysis during the webinar.



Meet Our Partner

360 Live Media is a marketing and event design agency that helps associations unlock the potential of their in-person and virtual meetings and trade shows to achieve their missions.  From experience design, marketing, and branding to research, content development, and sponsorship sales strategy, 360 Live Media helps organizations build their brands, increase membership, and generate revenue.



Insights on the State of Sports Betting Available!

With 23 states and Washington D.C. having now legalized sports betting, and more legislation on the table for 2020 and beyond, the sports betting industry is poised for exponential growth.

Heart+Mind Strategies has partnered with Horowitz Research to conduct a groundbreaking study on the emerging sports betting market. A full report of our findings and leading-edge insights on one of today’s fastest growing and most lucrative industries is available for you to purchase!

Topics covered in the deep dive report include:

  • Sizing and Profiling the Sports Betting Opportunity
  • Online Sports Betting: Driving Segment Growth
  • Betting Opportunities by Sport/League
  • Casino Betting: Behaviors and Attitudes
  • Sports Bettors and the Media Industry, including:
    • Subscription and Usage Profiles
    • Sources Used for Sports Betting Information
    • The Impact of Sports Betting on Media Consumption and Fan Engagement
    • Interest in Sports Betting Features and Interactivity for Cable TV and Online Streaming
  • Opportunities for the Travel Industry

Also included are Hispanic, Black, and Asian supplements providing detailed insights into these key opportunity markets.

To purchase the full report or for more information, contact us:

Mike Dabadie
Heart+Mind Strategies
CEO and Managing Partner

Adriana Waterston
Horowitz Research
SVP, Insights & Strategy

Sneak Peak of Full Report | FREE DOWNLOAD

This high level overview includes some key findings from the report, such as key opportunities for sports leagues, sports marketers, the casino and travel industry, online sportsbooks, the media industry, and multicultural markets.




About our research partner:

Horowitz Research is a leading provider of consumer insights and market research specializing in media content, services, and technology. Well-known for their expertise conducting Hispanic and multicultural research, Horowitz provides cutting-edge perspective on America’s black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ and disabled consumers, among others.

Thoughts From Our Virtual Roundtable, 06.05

We push pause for one hour each week to talk, share, and listen to 60+ clients and partners who are participating in our Virtual Roundtable. As business leaders, employers, and human beings, this group discusses the impact of the latest COVID-19 developments, and ideas to help each other navigate the changing reality.

These are the topics discussed on June 5th. We hope these can help you and your teams as you make decisions moving ahead.

How Business is Responding as Americans Are Struggling to Pay Bills

While leading economic indicators have seen historic decline during COVID-19, Americans, especially younger generations, and people of color, are experiencing a significant impact on their employment and earnings.   Millennial’s were just beginning to recover from the 2008 recession before the pandemic hit – few have had a chance to build savings, purchase a home, and significantly reduce debt and student loans.  Gen Z , just now graduating from college, are facing student debt yet limited internship and job market prospects.

Hispanic Americans (51%) are seeing the greatest impact on employment during COVID-19, followed by Black (45%) Asian (44%) and White ( 31%) Americans.  For these more impacted groups of Americans, the pandemic is having a profound impact on their economic purchasing power and decreasing their sense of personal security, happiness, productivity, success, and sense of accomplishment.

As Americans have increased concern over their ability to pay monthly bills – they place highest priority on their basic needs of food, shelter, and electricity, followed by health insurance and medications.

In late April, nearly half of the public (48%) said business was doing an Excellent/Very Good job in their response to the crisis.  However, since that time we have seen that metric dip to 39%.  Only one-in-four Gen Z and Black Americans, and one-in-three Millennials and Hispanic Americans say business is doing an Excellent/Very Good job in their response today.

What actions are businesses taking to understand and respond to customer expectations and needs, particularly to those most vulnerable?

Americans say that some businesses have worked with them to provide access to programs that support deferments or partial payments of bills, while others mention refunds, free access to the internet/hot spots, or free apps and entertainment services from companies.  The public also recognizes the efforts of companies doing good for others in the community in which they operate.

USAA gave me a 20% premium reduction for my automobile insurance. Panera Bread gave me a free bagel every day for one week. …Lexus offered to personally pick up and return my car.

My bank is waving all monthly fees for customers. That is helpful because the monthly fee is not good to pay. My cell phone company also increases the data speeds in my area.

Southwest airlines is rewarding double points for each flight that is bought. Delta is allowing free changes and vouchers for cancelled flights.

Cell phone companies have given extra data usage, car insurance companies have given a credit on premium, and cable and satellite providers have given free usage of pay stations.

Highlighting Business Actions in the Housing and Electricity Industries

Freddie Mac

For homeowners, Freddie Mac is offering mortgage relief options for borrowers affected by COVID-19, including:

  • Providing mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months;
  • Waiving assessments of penalties and late fees; and
  • Offering loan modification options that lower payments or keep payments the same after the forbearance period.

To keep renters in multi-family properties in their homes and to support multi-family borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic, they allow multi-family borrowers with a fully performing loan to defer their loan payments for up to 90 days by showing a COVID-19-related hardship and by gaining lender approval, with the condition those multi-family borrowers suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to this pandemic.

Additionally, Freddie Mac is providing outreach and education to borrowers and renters through a consumer resource website, MyHome to know their options if they are experiencing hardship.


ComEd, an electric utility serving all of northern Illinois, including Chicago, is listening to customer needs and working to provide access to financial assistance, suspend service disconnects, eliminate late fees, provide energy saving tips to reduce bills and how to identify and avoid consumer fraud.

In support of the community, especially parents and teachers working from home and balancing child-care, ComEd has provided  STEM education activities and interactive experiments that can be easily accessed on their website, for customers, their families, and for educators.

ComEd translates company communications into multiple languages and their visual campaigns represent the diverse tapestry of their customers.



Please reference the additional documents provided for our weekly tracking data findings and slides that we have shared.

Also, please go to http://heartandmindstrategies.com/covid-19/ to access any of this information at any time. Please feel free to share and use however is most helpful for you.

Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 11

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions May 27-28, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF. Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.

NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

Threat Remains + Time to Reopen

Americans still believe the virus is a threat but significantly below the high of 83% in early April. Over half of Americans now agree that is time to reopen.

Almost half of all Americans believe that public health is poor or in crisis.


An Economy Focus is Driving Reopen

For the first time a majority of Americans believe the economy will feel the impact of the coronavirus for a year or more.

Is the Income Gap Widening?

Almost 70% of Americans agree that the income gap is widening and 60% agree that we have to require the government to address income inequality.

Eroding Trust

Trust in all levels of government fell this week with state governments continuing to be the most trusted, followed closely by local government, and the federal government significantly lower.

Trust in physicians and hospitals drops.

Trust in online searches and social media continues to decline, along with broadcast news.

Driving us Further Apart

For the first time, more Americans believe the coronavirus crisis is driving us further apart instead of bringing us closer together.

Eroding Hope

Feelings of hope are at their lowest since measurement began. The most common reason for hope is described as people being generally hopeful and continuing to live that way.

Concern is up this week but other more intense negative emotions are down slightly.

COVID-19 Continues to Impact Underlying Values

Social Distancing Behaviors Vary by Region

As Americans begin to socialize again they are making decisions on how they will or will not maximize social distancing.

Returning to “Normal” Activities

There is an increased expectation to return to school and/or daycare soon.

Gym visits are expected later.

More push public events beyond a year.

Expected personal car trips push out.

Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 5/20-21/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.  

Sample: n=1,001 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.

Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 10

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions May 20-21, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF. Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.

NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

More Now Agree it is Time to Reopen

Most believe it is time to end restrictions and rebuild the economy.  The strongest attitudes on the debate are growing on the side of reopening while softening on keeping restrictions in place.

The strongest lift comes from those focused on the economy.

Most See Economy as Worse Off Than Public Health


Division is Rising as we Reopen

However, beliefs about reopening are not a sign of solidarity – the pre-pandemic division of opinions appears to be returning.

More Negative Impacts on Life

The shift comes as we see signs of the pandemic wearing on people – a decrease in paying attention to news coverage, increases in belief it is “blown out of proportion”, and more negative impacts on life.

Half of the Country Sees an Economic Impact Lasting More than 1 Year

With that said, we see some negative emotions slightly declining. Overall, the emotional mindset of the country is shifting to a more positive, if not realistic, mindset

The number of Optimists are growing; Worriers continue to fade.

Shifting Views About the Role of Government

The crisis is shifting underlying attitudes about the role of government and even controversial policy positions are showing majority support.

A Majority sees a government role in income inequality.

There is rising support for many key policy changes.

Shifting Behaviors

Looking across the past 10 weeks, online shopping has grown significantly, but in-person shopping appears to be rebuilding slowly.

Acts of service for others has slipped, but time outside and with family/friends without social distancing are increasing.

Hosting social gatherings is expected to start happening more in the next 2-6 months; major events are still further out.

Continued Eroding of Trust

Trust scores continue to erode except for with physicians and hospitals.

Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 5/20-21/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.  

Sample: n=1,006 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.

Thoughts From Our Virtual Roundtable, 05.15

We push pause for one hour each week to talk, share, and listen to 60+ clients and partners who are participating in our Virtual Roundtable. As business leaders, employers, and human beings, this group discusses the impact of the latest COVID-19 developments, and ideas to help each other navigate the changing reality.

These are the topics discussed on May 15th. We hope these can help you and your teams as you make decisions moving ahead.

This past week’s session provided a refreshing look at the future of healthcare in our country and why it matters in the midst of this pandemic. This shareout captures the themes from our Q+A session with Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison.


Takeaways from Q+A with Marc Harrison of Intermountain Healthcare

Marc spent over 40 minutes with us last week discussing a number of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and what it is revealing for business leaders. We saw five compelling themes in his message worth your consideration as you navigate your planning needs. Each of the five is our perspective on what Marc shared, and each is followed by specific quotes from Marc during the session.

1. COVID-19 Has Demonstrated “Heads in Beds” Volumetric Model for Healthcare is Wrong

The healthcare industry in the US is too much of the GDP. It has too long been too much about making money instead of keeping people healthy. As health systems have shifted resources to prepare for and deal with COVID-19, they have lost money and let go over 1.4 million healthcare workers. The model is reliant upon fee-for-service and is failing miserably when the services with the highest fees and margins are not able to be performed.

Most healthcare leaders today simply do not know what to do for a different model. There is a lack of business experience and creativity in finding partnership solutions within communities and across sectors that keeps the focus on health instead of on making money on acute care.

Business leaders are impacted by the current model in the costs of care and the opportunity cost from unhealthy and unhappy employees.

Healthcare is 18% to 19% of the GDP and should be more like 7-8%.

I got in a lot of trouble back at JP Morgan in January when I gave a little talk and I pointed everyone in the room and I said, “You guys are the problem.” You’re the reason why the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is healthcare.

We are fat and historically it’s been too easy to make money doing the wrong thing.

The number one risk factor for having spine surgery in the United States, and this is old data, but it’s still true, is the number of spine surgeons in your community. So you can perfectly map the likelihood that you’re going to end up on an operating room table for spine surgery based on the number of spine surgeons in your community. That tells you that there’s something fundamentally wrong with how important resources are getting distributed. And Intermountain, we’ve never liked that kind of stuff. And as a payer provider, it’s to our advantage to make sure that people get exactly the right care, as intense as they need to at exactly the right time, but no more than they need.

In general, my peers and I are not the very best business leaders in the United States. And I don’t see enormous creativity in how healthcare systems are getting run. And I think maybe our biggest stumbling block is the skill of the executive teams who are running these systems and the boards of trustees, particularly, for the not-for-profit systems that have actually never challenged those leadership teams to take cost out and make care more affordable. People just don’t know what to do. That means, all they know how to do is put heads in beds.

2. Human and Community Centric Health is Future

A value-based model putting human and community health as the priority and aligning the financial incentive to that outcome is the future.

As this pandemic unfolded in Utah, Intermountain Healthcare had already shifted more than half its revenue to value-based contracts – they receive a fixed amount of money per year to keep someone healthy, they do not receive a fee based upon the procedure performed, etc. Intermountain had also already initiated community partnerships that were immediately activated for COVID-19 needs to help with the community. Utah has responded well to the pandemic. Incredibly, Intermountain has not laid off a single employee, nor have they furloughed anyone, nor have they reduced anyone’s salary. These provide evidence this model works.

For about half of our business, so about $4 billion to $5 billion a year, we’re paid to keep you well. So we get a chunk of money every month and our job is to keep you happy and healthy and out of the hospital, hopefully, and if heaven forbid you need something big done, we’re going to do it really, really well and very efficiently. And if there’s a little bit of money left over, then we go ahead and plough it back into the organization as a whole. If there isn’t, then we’ve got to find it somewhere else. And it’s a fundamentally different way of looking at healthcare.

Half of our business is based on heads and beds, still on volume, but that gets smaller every month, I hope. And we do well when people stay well, which is actually a very healthy way of doing things.

It’s all based on keeping people well. So we’re pretty much the only system in the United States that day after day, we try and live these values. Now there are a lot of risks associated with that, and that’s okay, but right now these investments are looking like they’re pretty much the right thing to do. And our neighbors can see us doing that and they trust you for it.

3. Human-Centric Means Truly Focusing on People

No matter the sector, focusing on people can’t be faked, and when it is authentically done in a consistent manner it yields trust. It requires transparency, leveraging digital solutions, listening and empathy. The priority must be the human need to inform and execute on a model that resonates with the people it is intended to serve. And this requires leadership that acknowledges the everyday realities we all face and treat each other differently with that awareness.

In healthcare this means changed practices. It also means a shift away from an attitude that the patient is “lucky to see me” to the reverse; the provider is privileged to serve the patient and their family. This approach requires a different set of solutions to go beyond physical health to emotional and mental well-being by reaching out to the root cause issues and not addressing the symptoms alone.

For Intermountain during this crisis it has meant answering the difficult question of how we keep every patient as safe as possible and then having the commitment to follow through and execute on that plan. Across every sector, this same question would serve us well as applied to our staff and our customer given the needs they face.

Healthcare is… look you guys know this better than I do, we’re a very arrogant industry. So I’m a pediatric intensivist and sort of deep down in my soul for a long time, I believe people were just really lucky to see me. They were really lucky to have me show up at their kid’s bedside in ICU and take good care of them. And I think that what has changed is I think we should feel lucky to take care of those people, and we should know that.

So whether it’s Telehealth or whether it’s transparency, whether it’s affordability, whether digital front doors and platform-style companies, we need to know that the move away from very traditional healthcare is done. The move has been made, that the genetic code has been changed, now who wins? And hopefully the people who win are the members and the patients and our community members.

This [crisis] has only made [mental health] worse. I think a lot of folks, the adrenaline surge will get them through. And I think that we’re starting to see all the things that you describe. What we know is that the historic approach to behavioral health is just not going to work. We cannot hire enough psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, et cetera. And actually we really believe that mountains beyond mountains approach to community health workers around behavioral health is actually what it’s going to take to keep our population well.

What I’m hearing or reading is about one out of every four folks who is experiencing what we’re experiencing right now is having a significant behavioral health issue of some sort or another. And as a guy whose kids are in their twenties, I can only imagine what it’s like being… What if you have no resources? What if you don’t have enough money for your next meal? You’re stuck in a house with six little kids running around. I have no idea how people survive this. I mean, this has got be incredibly dangerous, both for the kids, but also for the grownups as well. So I think it’s going to take a different approach. It’s going to be avatars. It’s going to be online. It’s going to be digital. It’s going to be community health workers. It’s not going to be the same old stuff because we can’t afford it. We can’t hire those people.

[ASKED ABOUT DEALING WITH CANCER WHILE ALSO DEALING WITH THIS CRISIS] Everybody is dealing with something. We’re not special at our house, really. Whether it’s marital problems or financial problems or health problems or a kid who’s unwell, I think, all of us who are grown-ups recognize that every other grown-up has something big going on in their life, and it feels big to them. So there’s nothing special about me in this regard. I will say that, probably the thing that is the biggest for me is to recognize that I never worried about losing my job because I was sick. I never worried about losing our house because I was sick.

We’re really pretty fortunate, and that’s not true for most Americans. And it really has put a fine point on things for me to recognize that there’s some stuff that’s really pretty fundamentally wrong about how we’re delivering health to people, and I’ve gotten to see it up close and personal. The only other thing I’ll say that’s really been…

I had a bit of a hospitalization recently getting some stuff squared away. And with the COVID-19 things going on, there were some visitor restrictions which my wife and I complied with, we’re trying and be good citizens, but boy, some of this stuff is lonely and alienating. And I think that making right biomedical decisions is very important, but I think making good human decisions is really important too. So even for a guy who runs a health system or as an ICU doctor like me, trying to make sure that we never ever forget about the people’s stuff, what is somebody going to tell their family at Thanksgiving dinner? That’s really important.

4. Pandemic Can Drive Meaningful Change in Workplace and Employer Responsibility

The current crisis drives home the necessity of looking differently at how employers provide healthcare for its staff. The value-based contracts that have seemed too risky are now more obviously needed at a time when keeping your staff healthy and happy are paramount. Business leaders should explore this approach to pay a healthy system to keep their people healthy.

This crisis has also stirred the very good intentions of most people to be concerned about others and do all they can to help. At a time of division and lack of civility in our public discourse, this presents business leaders a moment in time to inspire and enable and even facilitate efforts to help others do good. Intermountain was able to send 100 doctors to NYC; they had 700 sign up to fill those 100 positions. They were also able to channel an effort of 10,000 volunteers in Utah to make 5 million masks in just one week. Now is the time to lead these efforts with your people.

The remote workplace is even possible within healthcare – they were able to move from 1,000 working remotely to 10,000 in two weeks. And it is opening new opportunities to keep people employed with needs that emerge.

Crisis also yields innovation in how an employer takes on a responsibility to help keep people employed during and beyond this pandemic. The private sector should not wait for government solutions; rather, business should find new ways to cross-train and employee people. Intermountain is rolling out a new approach to commit to 5 years of employment as long as each staff commits to cross-training in three other jobs. Solutions are there when the responsibility and commitment is real.

In a fully employed economy where everyone’s really worried about losing every worker, your HR functions didn’t want to take any kinds of risks at all, that would unsettle your workers, that would have you lose people from your organization to somewhere else. That fear has gone now, folks. Now it’s time to actually figure out how to keep these people well and fully engaged and productive. And I think it’s going to be a very exciting time in healthcare.

Employers should be asking, “How do I go ahead and get a package for my employees so that I pay X amount of money and it keeps them well?” And if it doesn’t work out, then that’s on the payer and the provider to figure out how to make it, make that change happen.

I think the trust piece, a lot of it’s going to revolve around employment, to be honest. So I think this is going to be the interplay between keeping people well, but also keeping them gainfully employed.

We are the largest employer in the state, private employer by almost 2X. We feel that every day. And then you say to yourself, “Okay, so we’re facing potentially great depression levels of unemployment. How do I keep these folks fully engaged in Intermountain’s mission to keep people well, so that they can worry about lots and lots of other things, but they don’t have to worry about whether they can feed their family or not.”

And so I think that we’re going to have to change our value proposition to those workers. So maybe we say to them… I was talking with our chief people officer last night, So maybe we say to them, “Hey, we’re going to guarantee that you keep your job for the next five years, but you’ve got to cross-train in three other jobs besides what you’re doing right now. If you promise you will do that… So maybe you’re going to be an environmental services worker, but you’re also going to understand how to mow the lawn and serve people food. So maybe those are your two other jobs. If you promise to do that, we promise that we’re going to keep you employed and that your family is going to be okay.”

I think it’s going to require just really different kinds of relationships than we’ve actually ever historically done in healthcare, but I also think it’s completely doable.

5. Trust Matters – Keep it Simple and Go Fast

People know when you’re playing games with them. They know when you’re doing your best to look out for them. Trust matters. Trust is earned through consistent actions over time.

At a time of crisis such as this, Marc’s advice is to keep it simple and go fast. Make decisions knowing some won’t be right. But keep moving with an eye on the vision being true to your culture and reason for being. Don’t worry about, or don’t even care what others may think. Set the course and stay on it. Adapt as needed. Find partners who do things better than you and make those “frenemies” in the spirit of building solutions. And, go fast.

People are real smart and they can see folks getting politically whipsawed. The WHO or the CDC, who by the way have amazingly bright people who are highly motivated and fantastic professionals working within them, you can see their leadership get thrown around. And they’re not necessarily as stalwart as they might be.

I think that one of the things that really good hospitals and doctor groups do is, we haven’t played any political games at all. Every decision we make is for our community. Every decision we make is for a patient. No one’s lost their job in our system. There’ve been no furloughs, no one’s had a pay decrease. We’ve made unbelievable sacrifices so that the lights stay on, the professionals are there and that we’re ready when things get really ugly.

So it’s when things get ugly, we’re a forever organization, we’re able to provide you with the community health that you need. So I think people can see it and feel it. It’s not fake. This is real stuff.

I actually don’t really care what the rest of the sector thinks of us to tell you the truth. We know we’re doing the right thing. We know that healthcare is too expensive. We know it’s inaccessible to people.

And so we’re going to keep forging ahead and work on social determinants and we’re going to work on having healthcare be prepaid, and we’re going to work on making sure that access is good for everybody, and the economics will sort themselves out. So I actually really don’t care what those other folks think. And they got to deal with their boards and they got to deal with their consciences. And, that’s up to them. Good for them.

[This crisis gives] the opportunity to realize that we shouldn’t do everything ourselves. Partner with private organizations who could do them a lot better than we could. I think we’re going to end up with a lot of frenemy-type relationships. So, in some places we compete in other places we collaborate. And I think it’s going to be really good. But it’s going to require a whole different set of leadership skills and deal skills and to be honest, the ability to execute.

Keep it really simple. Maybe that, and I had nothing to do with this idea, the fact that we sent two teams of 50, one to Northwell in Long Island and one to New York Presbyterian. My chief people officer worked with their leaders and we went from idea to deployment in 10 days. And so we had 700 Intermountain caregivers who volunteered to take 100 slots to go help these folks.

And I can’t even express the profound nature of the way it changed our organization. And we weren’t actually looking for a proof point, we were looking to change polls. We were just looking to do the right thing and also to learn a lot so that when our turn for the surge came, we were as ready as we could be clinically. And the collateral benefit of keeping it simple and doing the right thing and being a little bit selfless and a lot humble, has paid off in spades.

Cut through the bureaucracy and just make a lot of decisions as fast as you can, and recognize that about 20% of them are going to be wrong and just shrug them off and keep moving. Because we’ve never been a super fast organization, although I’ve tried, we’re really fast right now. And it’s feeling good to people. And I think we finally have… I want to maintain this momentum.


Please reference the additional documents provided for our weekly tracking data findings and slides that we have shared.

Also, please go to http://heartandmindstrategies.com/covid-19/ to access any of this information at any time. Please feel free to share and use however is most helpful for you.

COVID-19 Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 8

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions May 6-7, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF. Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.

NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

Increase in Tracking News More Often + Belief this is Real Threat

Recognition of COVID-19 as a real threat is back up as Americans reverse a trend and pay more attention.


Shift in Recognition of Year+ Economic Impact

The primary driver appears to be a massive shift in the number of Americans who now expect the personal and economic impact to last more than a year.

Health vs. Economy Balance Debate Stays Split

The debate over the economy and controlling the virus is split, but most are just not certain.


Most Favor Universal Basic Income

While trust in the federal government continues to decline, the expectation of its responsibility to help and be a positive impact for such help has grown significantly.



Underlying forces are shifting.

Generation is more of a predictor than political party.

COVID-19 has changed support for UBI.


Negative Impact of COVID-19 is Significant

Freedom is the value being most impacted.  Nearly all of us miss our routines, and we expect many new routines to become permanent changes in our lives.



School closures is having an impact on working parents.


Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 5/6-7/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.  

Sample: n=1,001 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.

Thoughts From Our Virtual Roundtable, 05.01

We push pause for one hour each week to talk, share, and listen to 60+ clients and partners who are participating in our Virtual Roundtable. As business leaders, employers, and human beings, this group discusses the impact of the latest COVID-19 developments, and ideas to help each other navigate the changing reality.

These are the topics discussed on May 1st. We hope these can help you and your teams as you make decisions moving ahead.

Roundtable Breakout Group Discussions  

We were able to facilitated short discussion groups with business leaders in our virtual roundtable these past two weeks. The discussions provide a glimpse into the factors shaping how organizations need to redefine themselves ahead. What follows is a summary of the conversations and implications.

Recovery or Redefinition? Or Reimagination?

What comes next is the major question all business leaders are asking. While many are still heavily in impact planning, planning for the future is central to the conversation. The dialogue is about how quick or slow the “recovery” will be, and how organizations can best be prepared for a future post-COVID-19 world.

But it’s difficult to even think of what comes next as a “recovery” – the changes are so rapid and unstable that uncertainty reigns; the process to reopen the economy and reintroduce physical interaction will come in phases; the dynamics vary dramatically by sector, region, and even community; and there will be no return to “normal” as we knew it.

The driving reality right now is uncertainty – multiple models, lots and lots of data from varied sources, and endless scenarios.  No one knows the answers. Yet, decisions have to be made.

Two business leaders shared:

“There is so much fear of what to do and what not to do. We are in a frozen moment that keeps getting longer.”

“It is about managing new challenges. We have to think about those now, but we will go backward before we go forwards again.”

What the data show this week may not carry over to next week. The context in which planning decisions must be made is anything but certain as government leaders in every state and community contemplate the smartest and safest way to remove the lockdown, some more quickly than others. It is a phased process. Back steps will hinder the ability to build or re-establish trust, but there is an acceptance that it will happen as the pandemic ebbs and flows.  This will vary by industry and geography. Business leaders need to focus at the category level and not get too comfortable as things will shift.

We will not recover to where we were, rather, we will redefine or reimagine the path toward where we are headed.

Time to reset and reflect on important decisions that should already have been made.

COVID-19 is accelerating trends that had already been in motion but had not reached a high level of urgency for many. Now is the time to make decisions that should have been made before. The decision to be nimbler, more adaptable. The decision to be more focused. The decision to be more relevant.

It is about hitting the reset button. Hold to the things that make you special and consider how they translate to a reimagined societal context.

Internally evaluate the essentials of the brand and offering core to the business and how to continue to deliver. Identify the “fat” not needed to efficiently deliver. A crisis of this magnitude is very effective at revealing underlying problems in your approach, operations, structure, culture, offering/service, or even business model.

Ask the questions of what should be dropped or what changes or tough decisions need to be made and not put off any longer. Technology will be a big part of this exercise. Pay attention to the shifts. There is no business practice safe from this evaluation – everything is on the table.

New paradigms are emerging to frame how people make decisions.

The changing dynamics most important to prepare for what’s to come are those shaping the human reality in society. Ultimately, much of the framework for how humans are processing decisions has been completely flipped on its head. And it’s not done changing yet. The risk versus reward calculus for what were routine choices is anything but routine or automatic today.

Observing and understanding how the forces setting up a new paradigm of choice for your customers, your employees, your investors, and even your leadership matters now more than ever. Therein lies the answer to what is needed and the role your solution should play moving forward. Businesses need to be preparing for a period of redefinition or reimagination of their role, rather than contemplating how to operate in a period of recovery.

In these limited breakout discussion groups over the last two weeks our roundtable participants identified some shifting dynamics to pay attention to in defining a future role. Many revolve around the expectations of what life will be like as we attempt to map physical distancing into our mainstream lives outside of the sheltering in place mandate.

Here are some of the topics raised and trends discussed:

Public Transportation
  • Mass transit won’t completely recover as habits/attitudes (fear of disease in general) are likely to permanently change.
  • Will riders feel safe? What standards are needed for hourly/daily cleaning?  Who will return to ridership, who will seek other means of transit?
  • Retail consumers are eager to return to shopping and may even be out ahead of business being prepared to be open.
  • There is concern about having to back track and re-close if something goes wrong on re-opening. This brings a desire to ‘get it right’ and not erode consumer trust.
  • Wearing face masks, extra time spent cleaning equipment, wait times to use machines along with adopting home workout and virtual could mean many won’t go back to the gyms, at least not like they did pre-COVID.
  • How will the gym experience be re-imagined?
Disparity of Impact
  • So many households are just trying to exist with a sudden loss of income.
  • This could lead quickly to a very real discussion of minimum basic income.
  • Class differences will accelerate the widening of a division that already existed.
Work and Work Environment
  • Many will now prefer working from home.
  • Office space changes such as working in shifts, physical distancing, face masks and other post-COVID adaptions may erode the value of the office.
  • This could lead to many no longer needing their office space – what does a “corporate headquarters” look like tomorrow? What type of physical presence is needed?
  • Business meeting attendance will take a while to recover because businesses will not likely invest in having employees travel.
  • With the ability to work remotely, more and more people are going to be fleeing the cities away from places where is it less safe and into places where is it less expensive and away from the crowds.
  • How long lasting will this trend be?
  • Will people ever get comfortable with going to confined places (such as Great Wolf Lodge with large indoor pools, indoor concerts, etc.)?
  • There has not been much talk about returning to school – when it actually comes, what will be the impact? What are we doing to reimagine the school experience?
  • Lots of people won’t be able to go back to work if their kids can’t go back to school.
  • Could the delivery of education change that requires less of a physical buildings footprint with shared campuses, rotating in-person schedules, etc.
  • Other options—1 in 10 parents are now considering home schooling.
  • There is a real disparity in access to broadband connectivity for online education – is 5G a solution ahead?
  • The “Zoom boom” reality has completely shifted expectations and potential of how education can be provided.
Animal Health and Dairy/Meat Sectors
  • Virtual visits with veterinarians have increased.
  • Some vets have used curb side drop off to keep in-person appointments but there is a huge concern that smaller family run veterinarians will close up shop and there will be fewer business owners in the sector, changing the ecosystem.
  • In the feed animal business, the change from bottling in small school size milk cartons to larger retail size containers is not an easy change and for some plants it’s just not possible, so there is dumping happening.
  • The recent news of meat packaging plants having to close also puts a major strain on the supply chain and creating challenges for farmers.
Science and Facts
  • Science means you might get a lot wrong as you are on a search to prove or disprove things. But, is science instead being conflated to be ‘evidence’ for a belief of POV?
  • People are looking for sources they trust and familiar voices. There is a human aspect to this we can’t ignore. We want to connect with the media and information sources we know.
  • There is danger in relying too much on facts and missing the narrative, the proliferation of facts and opinions brings its own fatigue if all we do is relay facts

As these, and many other, dynamics unfold they are creating expectations that will frame how consumers make decisions when weighing risks and rewards for different behaviors. It is critical to communicate early and with transparency about what to expect, what they will see, do, and experience as they return to previously “locked down” options.

Trust and the role of corporate America.

Trust matters in a crisis. But options are limited, and scrutiny is high. People are building their own networks to find information they can trust. Our current reality has revealed a scenario absent of experts – lot of questions without answers and a lot of guessing.

Business leaders can and should take action, and many already have. For example, there is a lack of standards and consistency on what ‘distancing’ means in a re-opened market and how to keep spaces as safe and healthy as possible for consumers and employees. This impedes the speed of recovery. But it also means business is stepping up to create standards, to ensure consistency.

Business leaders are reaching out across industries to come up with ideas and plans, getting key players together to solve problems and find ways to work together for the common good. But part of the challenge is coming together physically, so people are left trying to figure out how to do it.

A key question is what happens in a democratic republic and a free-market economy when people can’t “meet” with their leaders. If leaders and institutions operate more within their bubble it could result in questions about who to believe and who is in control. People will seek centers of control OR begin to assert their own control, resulting in new frameworks around politics, faith, etc.

Businesses can shape how this future unfolds in a way that government is currently struggling to do so given the partisan divide, rancor, and lack of collaboration we see today. Business leaders can ask in what way has your/will your company provide local support in a way that mattered and that builds trust and confidence?  How do you create an authentic local connection with your brand and employees during this time of crisis, and how does this reinforce you core values and purpose?  If you do not do this, you will have missed an opportunity to make a difference.

Rishad Tobaccowalla offers a fantastic framework for approaching future planning right now in his recent blog post: https://rishadt.wordpress.com/2020/04/25/the-great-re-invention-resurrect-now/

Peering Into the Gloom: Some Ideas to Help the Process 

Heart+Mind shared a few thoughts about the approach we are taking to understand what is happening and where things are headed as part of business planning.

First, the obvious two most important indicators of revenue are sales and pipeline. Consistently look at what clients, customers, partners, and even competitors are experiencing.

Second, what do we know?

  • We are already in a recession.
  • Some sectors are worse off than others and the recovery will vary by sector.
  • The stock market has historically been a good indicator of recovery:
    1. On average, it rebounds four months before a recovery beings
    2. The market bottomed out on March 23
    3. We saw the strongest 15-day rebound EVER – up 27.2%
    4. We’ll likely need some “good news” to keep things going
  • Lots of models are out there… prediction vary and are changing:
    1. Looking at five or six well accepted models can give us a sense of what might happen.
    2. Are there some directional conclusions upon which they agree?
    3. As a group, how are they changing? Are they getting more pessimistic or more optimistic?
  • The shape of the recovery will matter – U, V, W, etc.

Third, what should we be watching closely?

  • What are we seeing in states and countries that have already loosened restrictions?
    1. Infection, hospitalizations and deaths
    2. Will restrictions be reinstated?
  • Health Developments
    1. Vaccine timing – 12+ months out?
    2. Other treatments (Remdesivir, etc.)
    3. Management efforts – testing, contact tracing and protecting vulnerable
  • Industry/Employer Health
    1. Unemployment (by sector)
    2. Consumer income
    3. Normalization of mass transportation
    4. Shipping activity
    5. Airport departures / TSA figures
  • Government Financial Support
  • Consumer Behavior
    1. Consumer spending
    2. Consumer sentiment; confidence, diminishment of fear, greater sense of security, etc.
  • Stock Market


Finally, we found the following 21 articles we feel you are likely to find useful and helpful in the different perspectives they offer with respect to how to be planning for the future.

  1. Focuses in on the biggest indicator of economic recovery being the control of the virus itself, and claims the recession is going to be much longer than many economists anticipate
  2. Provides analysis on the different shapes that economic recovery may take and what factors each shape depend on
  3. Focuses on the shapes of the recovery, and what it will take to come out of the recession, including exuberant consumer spending, employment rates, etc.
  4. Discusses how each economic forecast model leverages health response on one axis, against the effectiveness of economic response on the other, but that each model is ultimately wrong as it uses the GDP as the yardstick of the return to normal.
  5. A look at the staggering economic outlook, leveraging such indicators as manufacturing, corporate earnings, stock idexes, etc.
  6. Focuses in on various economic trajectories, while look at household wealth as a key indicator of a bounceback
  7. Conjectures that there is no reliable portrait of the future economic outlook, but looking at the return of activity through the lens of energy use, pollution and subway rides, to name a few, are helpful indicators
  8. Zeroes in on one of the most powerful indicators of economic activity, airline travel, as a way to measure a rebound in America
  9. The reality that of how influential the IHME model is but how much it can contradict other models, leading to the need to triangulate several different models to predict the future, which many states and national government officials are doing
  10. Many businesses are leveraging GIS-powered systems to incorporate data from multiple sources to drive decision-making and behaviors
  11. Global stock market can be the best indicator of truth, especially in a time when we are awash in data from multiple—often times, competing—sources.
  12. The article discusses how rolling forecasts should incorporate both macroeconomic and company-specific data to identify major areas of EBITDA risk. The forecasts should also identify second-order impacts, such as geographical supply-chain disruption and employee dislocation, as well as likely sources of cash leakages and customer-liquidity projections.
  13. The economic reality and resuming to normal will be extremely variant industry to industry, which means returning to work for many will be gradual and likely messy.
  14. Claims that the months ahead will be quite volatile and dynamic, and believe that leaders should pay close attention to the efficacy of the health system surge, the scaling of traditional public-health approaches, the development of antibody testing, the nature of immunity, and innovation.
  15. Focuses on the butterfly effect of the coronavirus, with aftershocks that will permanently reshape our world as we remain in a long emergency that will usher in realities like rising nationalism and a migrant crisis
  16. With working from home the new–and perhaps permanent– normal, we will see a shift to trust-based work cultures, shifts to increased customer inclusivity, and creative collaboration tactics
  17. Outline many big ideas we’re beginning to see emerge at both macro-shift levels, e.g. rise of new federalism and at the trend level, e.g. rise of telemedicine
  18. A focus on the emergence of an internet-based society, smart-city infrastructure, a shift to cleaner transport, etc.
  19. Discusses the permanent changes that have occurred in the workplace and will stick, including working remotely, doing virtual client sessions, with traditional office setups fading into a relic of the past and leaders letting go an illusion of control.
  20. The impact of isolation on single individuals creates grim outlooks and a change on how they meet people and engage once the new normal resumes
  21. Focuses on how the virus will radically change the trajectory of history and the world as we know it, perhaps ushering in necessary changes like an improved, more fortified healthcare system, new political systems, etc.


Please reference the additional documents provided for our weekly tracking data findings and slides that we have shared.

Also, please go to http://heartandmindstrategies.com/covid-19/ to access any of this information at any time. Please feel free to share and use however is most helpful for you.

COVID-19 Understanding the Human Story: Storylines From Our National Tracking Survey, Week 7

Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions April 29-30, 2020 via an online survey.

Access the full report here: Download PDF. Please contact us if you would like access to the crosstabs.

NOTE: Findings based on preliminary data.

To Re-Open or Not

Groups that still favor balancing the economy and health over a strict public health focus include Republicans, Households earning $100K+, those with a child at home, and states with fewer than 10,000 cases.

While more Americans believe it is time to start removing stay-at-home restrictions and the time to reopen is coming sooner than later, there is some uncertainty.

Trust builds in State and Local Leaders

We see a “general” acceptance of the actions of Governors this week on shutdown/reopening. State governments saw a bump and are once again the most trusted level of government (+4). City governments are also slightly more trusted this week (+2).

Real Threat but Less Worry

The number of Americans believing the coronavirus is a real threat instead of overblown is holding steady with over three-quarters believing the threat is real many weeks into the crisis, but fear and worry are now at lowest levels.

Most Expect Drop in Activities while some are Engaging in Social Outings

One-quarter of Americans (26%) are meeting friends or family with a mask on or keep distance between themselves. Generation Z is far more likely than other age cohorts to be engaging in these types of social visits (37%)

  • One-quarter of Americans are going out in public without a mask (23%).
  • Personal and beauty services are still being utilized – 10% of Americans got a massage last week and 6% have gotten a beauty treatment.
  • Almost one-in-ten met up with someone not living in their household to exercise.

Hopeful Anticipation of Shorter Impact

Americans are slightly more optimistic on the length of the crisis in economic terms this week with a drop in the number of people who think the economic impacts will be felt for seven months or more.

Which might be because a growing number of Americans believe the economy is improving.

Concern for Others Grows

Many say they have a greater underlying concern for others and tolerance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, there were shifts in many key values away from “negative impact” to “no change” underscoring last week as a peak of negative emotions.

Decline in Connecting with Others

Americans are feeling more hopeful and determined, but doing less connecting with neighbors, family and friends.

Data Source: Heart+Mind Strategies fielded a series of questions 4/29-30/2020 via an online survey. Access the full report here: Download PDF.  

Sample: n=1,004 US Adults 18+

Topics: We explored attitudes, feelings, and actions with respect to the COVID-19 crisis. This provides a quick look at the key storylines we uncovered by quickly digging into the data set.