(This is the written version of a talk developed during 2020 between IsolaTed Talks, CIPR annual conference and the BMC podcast)

Last year, as I watched family, friends, clients, students, and myself adjust to the pandemic, I found myself thinking a lot about how people and organisations react to a crisis. The way they react shares a lot in common. Sometimes, our reactions shape us just as much as the crisis does.

Humans react to danger in instinctive and distinctive ways: fight, flight, freeze and fawn. Typically we show a predisposition to some over others. Evolutionary speaking, those mechanisms have…


Can we talk about the paradox of choice?
You know, just before we happily let behavioural economics take over marketing strategy completely?

It’s not that simple.

As behavioural economics become more important in marketing, Barry Schwartz’s 2004 best-seller and some writing that followed him are almost a dogma for some people:
Choice creates fatigue and anxiety → reduce choice to increase sales.

BUT, it’s just not that simple.
1. Choice overload isn’t a consistent effect
2. Choice reduction alone does not ensure an increase in sales

A 2015 meta-analysis of 99 studies isolated the circumstances in which reducing choices to…


Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Week 13 of UK lockdown (and shops are reopening)
World: 7,823,289 confirmed cases; 431,541 confirmed deaths (WHO, Monday 15/6)

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Stepping away from The Reader

Apologies for skipping last week. Other obligations had to take priority.

My personal became more political than expected, and that required a lot of time and energy.

After I had to skip a week, I realised it’s time to shift my focus to more urgent, if more personal, matters.

As you’ll find in the newsletter this…


Photo by: David Ramos on Unsplash

Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Week 11 of UK lockdown
World: 6,057,853 confirmed cases, 371,166 confirmed deaths

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Don’t let them grind us down

This week, under very different sets of circumstances in the UK and the US, there is a common pattern.

The strongmen have headed down into their bunkers, metaphorical or literal. With their low patience for detail and fierce resistance towards anyone who questions their narcissistic fantasy, they don’t play well with any experts. That creates a significant drag on any pragmatic progress towards…


Photo by @raudaschl on Unsplash

Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 10 of UK lockdown
World: confirmed cases 5,304,772, confirmed deaths 342,029

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A society stewing in post-truth politics

Lies and misconduct that used to topple governments seem to have little impact nowadays.

Some progressive critics claimed during the early days of the pandemic it will bring a newfound appreciation of experts, but neither UK nor US politics suggest it.

At this point, it seems post-truth has no antidote, let alone a vaccine. Institutional and evolutionary factors are overpowering anything else. …


Reopening fragility, recession playbook, the war for the narrative and more…

Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 9 of UK lockdown
World: 4,628,903 confirmed cases, 312,009 confirmed deaths

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My weekly take — fragile optimism

As I step back from this week’s collection, what strikes me is how delicate everything is at the moment.

We are stepping towards slow reopening, some with more bravado than others, but news from countries who are ahead of us, show it’s not that straightforward. Some of those countries had better opening conditions as they started getting out of lockdown…


image by: @matherystudiomathery.it on Unsplash.com Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives

Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 8 of UK lockdown
World: 4,013,728 confirmed cases; 278,993 deaths (WHO)

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My weekly take — Alice in VUCAland


Curated articles; observed patterns ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Week 7 of UK lockdown
World: 3,442,234 confirmed cases, 239,740 deaths (WHO)

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Week 6 of UK lockdown
World: 2,883,603 Confirmed cases 198,842 confirmed deaths

Curated articles; observed patterns. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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My take — hope and stories


Week 5 of UK lockdown
2,319,066 confirmed world cases, 157,970 deaths (WHO)
Curated articles and patterns

I’m keeping on for the time being, despite strong resistance from the algorithm gods.

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My weekly take — opinion volatility

Watching the recent edition of Kantar’s ‘Keeping Up’ tied it up for me this week, but let’s count from the beginning:

  1. Covid19 is a Wicked problem. Extremely multidimensional and paradoxical. One discipline cannot reflect its present or implication, let alone solve it.
  2. Much of the expert opinions, notably the long-term predictions, seem to suffer from…

Uri Baruchin

Strategist. Director of a boutique agency. Teaches the D&AD’s strategy masterclass and the SCA’s course in strategy. Writing between marketing and culture.

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