Navigating the Next with Resilience: Global Portfolio Strategy in a World of Uncertainty

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Apparel & footwear (A&F) give us social identity, protection and a means of self-expression. But in a pandemic these ways of thinking about clothing are essentially pointless. When the world shuts down and stays at home, how are A&F companies supposed to figure out what’s next – and how to gear themselves up for the future?

At TRIPTK, we created the What’s Next Desk, a ‘what do we do about it next’ set of strategic and tactical actions for a global leader in apparel & footwear to respond to the behavioral shifts in consumer trends during COVID-19.

We believe ethnographic research is a powerful approach for connecting companies to the people, communities and culture they serve. And when the world shuts down and we’re forced to throw the classic ethnographic playbook out the window, we still believe the ethnographic approach is possible and preferred.

We believe that at its core, ethnography promotes empathy, contextual understanding and a cultural sensitivity that helps business be a force for good. To catalyze the adoption of approaches from anthropology, sociology and the social sciences more broadly, commercial practitioners must prove out the impact of ethnographic research to the corporate bottom line.

In this case study, we have furthered that endeavor in threefold ways: Making a global business resilient to the dramatic impact of COVID-19, developing a methodology set and tool kit that is resilient to change and developing strategy that is resilient to subjectivity.

Keywords: business, resilience, marketing, innovation, strategy, global, footwear & apparel, branding

Article citation: 2022 EPIC Proceedings pp 274–293, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org/epic

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