What we’re watching this week: 4/19/21

Racial tensions, injustice, and police violence continue to take center stage. Companies are still publishing regularly on race in America and on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, but we’re keeping an eye on whether any of them will make more targeted or distinctive statements in response to recent shootings.

In addition, we’ve got our eye on a few trends likely to influence companies’ content calendars, including signs of an economic recovery.

Cabin fever breaks

In the United States last month, stimulus checks were put to use, and retail sales rose about 10 percent. The extra cash, vaccines in arms, and warmer weather got people out and about. B2B companies creating content related to retail, food and beverage, travel, and consumer behavior should take note. Activity in the remaining months of 2021 is likely to persist, and potential clients will be looking to refine their strategies accordingly.

This interactive from McKinsey details seven retailer imperatives—whether the spending boom lasts or starts to slow down.

• While much of the retail conversation has focused on how consumers are likely to stay online, PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey shows that in-store shopping is still going strong.

• International travel is still down, but more passengers are expected to take to the skies. Airlines are adding routes as newly vaccinated travelers make plans to see family and friends and to vacation again. In a survey from Allianz, the majority of respondents said a vaccine made them feel safe enough to travel.

The other side of the coin

Coinbase made headlines this week with its stock market debut, and many see its high valuation as a turning point in digital currency. While companies have been talking about blockchains and bitcoins for a while, few have explored their environmental impact. But it will be hard to ignore, especially as the environmental, social, and governance conversation continues to heat up.

The New York Times lays out the challenge and underscores the massive amounts of electricity required to sustain digital currencies.

• This piece from The Conversation breaks down a number of myths related to “green” digital currency. Spoiler alert: it’s not green.

• TechCrunch highlights that the debate is still active, which means there’s ample white space for a nuanced perspective.

Rethinking care

Some people are scratching their heads over the care economy component of Biden’s infrastructure plan. But the truth is that a strong care structure (including paid leave and high-quality, affordable childcare and senior care) helps more people go to work. One of the reasons the pandemic forced people—especially women—out of the workforce was caregiving responsibilities, but it’s long been an issue in the United States and elsewhere. With the renewed focus on care and the role it plays in a healthy, productive economy, we expect more companies to turn their attention to the topic.

• McKinsey experts took on the topic in India, showing that the challenge is a global one.

• This World Economic Forum report about the future of work and jobs highlights care economy roles—a conversation starter for what happens if we invest in those jobs differently.

• This McKinsey report emphasizes how pandemic’s workforce challenges—and the burden of unpaid care—fell disproportionately to women.

Alia Samhat

Alia is a partner at Leff. Her expertise is in creative strategy and content development. She spends her time working with writers, marketers, designers, video producers, analysts, and subject matter experts to produce meaningful work.

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