TCG's covid silver linings playbook

Lindsey Leikhim and Chris Fosdick

May 24, 2021

Stress. Uncertainty. Isolation. Words we are all too familiar with after over a year of pandemic sheltering. Like the rest of the population, our Cambridge Group team has grappled with the challenges this shift brought. In true TCG form, we saw it as an opportunity to capture the pulse and perspective of our TCG team members – via quantitative and qualitative methods – and turned up some awesome insights on how everyone was feeling and dealing.  What we heard was illuminating: behind the stress of the ongoing pandemic, there were also feelings of positivity, hope and appreciation.

What are three words to describe your life right now – life in general, not just at TCG?

As we march forward towards a relaxation of distancing guidelines, many of us have sought to highlight the positives of the pandemic. And indeed, there are many. Despite its challenges, the pandemic has had many positive impacts on our team members, both professionally and personally.   The responses have been truly inspirational. And humorous.

We know most people have filled time in quarantine by testing out a new hobby.  Over half of TCGer’s subscribed to increasing/trying new exercises and workouts – contributing to the backorders on exercise equipment. 50% dabbled in more cooking, for pleasure and by necessity. Another ~45% turned to watching more TV/movies and finally getting through some good reads, doing our part to help keep demand strong for our media industry clients.  There were some surprises too, as people picked up instruments (ukulele’s), birdwatching (in Chicago no less) and sleeping in (without that commute, it’s certainly easier).Quarantine removed barriers of risk and time and allowed many to test the waters with a new interest. What is exciting though is how much joy some of these activities brought and the staying power they seem to have. Many note funny stories and memories that came along with trying new things:

Many found new favorite pastimes and something they will continue through the rest of their lives.  One noted, “[Quarantine] inspired me to begin three new hobbies that I have always been interested in but never tried: mountain biking, backpacking, and rock climbing. These have become my favorite ways to spend time and will likely be lifelong interests.”

In addition to a positive impact on personal discovery, the pandemic also affected the professional side. TCGer’s found myriad ways to stay productive through the chaos, and willingly shared their tips on how to make that happen… including a few suggestions we hope were made in jest!

Our firm motto is “Each of Us, and All of Us”, dating back to our founders’ belief that collaborating and taking care of each other – as whole people, not just employees – provided keys to success.  This sentiment has never been more salient.  As a firm, we have been very fortunate through the pandemic – fortunate to have each other to lean on and incredible clients to support and collaborate with.  And we attribute much of the positive sentiments noted here to the strength of our culture that has withstood a very difficult test.  One TCG’er summed it up nicely “Covid was terrible – but the culture really held up.  You could see people care about each other.”  

Without a doubt, pandemic sheltering and distancing was and is tough sledding. Yet, the silver lining is remarkably clear. We have learned so much as a global community, as a TCG team and as individuals. We have been innovative. We have tried new things we never thought we would. We have used every virtual meeting platform imaginable.  We have found ways to connect under implausible circumstances. With hope and excitement, our Cambridge team looks forward to a return to something more normal this year, but with appreciation for what we gained along the way!



About The Cambridge Group

We are a strategy consulting firm that has helped clients drive profitable growth for over 45 years. Since 1975, we have helped clients develop and execute strategies grounded in an unmatched understanding of consumer demand. Headquartered in Chicago, The Cambridge Group's strategy consultants apply Demand Strategy across global industries, enabling clients to align their infrastructure, businesses, and resources to meet marketplace demand in a way that is meaningfully differentiated from their competitors.

About the Authors

Chris Fosdick is a Managing Partner with The Cambridge Group. His two-decade experience spans industries and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Advertising Research Foundation, writing and speaking regularly on Demand Strategy topics. [email protected]

Lindsey Leikhim is an Associate Partner with The Cambridge Group. She has over a decade of consulting and marketing experience with The Cambridge Group and now leads the firm's Brand and Sales Center of Excellence, directing marketing efforts and sales best practices. [email protected]