In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to share experience, insights and advice with your peers so we can all learn from one another. With this in mind, we are having conversations with members across various sectors to understand how they and their teams have adapted their strategies throughout the pandemic, what they have learned from it, and how they prepare to return to the new normal.

For this week’s instalment in the series we’ve chatted to Denise Gallagher, Marketing Lead, PwC

If you are a member who would like to feature in the In Conversation with series please send an email to


MII: Hi Denise, how has your approach to marketing changed over the past year, and will this continue into the new normal?

As with many businesses, our go to market approach was turned on its head in March 2020. What did not change was our commitment to supporting clients with their biggest challenges – be that regulatory change, digital disruption, transformation trends, ESG and so forth. In many ways, the disruption caused by COVID-19 gave us even more of an opportunity to fulfil our goal of being the most trusted adviser to our clients, guiding them through the turbulence that ensued.

Now more than ever, we have learned to expect the unexpected. The pace and agility required during the past year has seen us reassess the channels we used, leverage new technologies and develop streamlined processes. As a result we are a more efficient and effective marketing team and we will continue to evolve and grow in that way.

How did you adapt your brand to connect with consumers during this time as we move towards normality?

I think our marketing approach adapted more than our brand. Our brand remained true to its core values. Our approach to connecting with clients obviously had to change quite abruptly. Where we had relied on onsite, face to face interactions with clients we suddenly had to operate in a wholly virtual world. What made that transition easier for us was that prior to COVID-19 PwC had already gone through a huge digital transformation. We had the tools in place that allowed us to collaborate, to innovate and to activate our marketing plans. That meant virtual events, using our digital communication channels to push out thought leaderships, etc. While there is an obvious keenness to return to face to face interactions, there will always be space for virtual events in our campaigns going forward, and I think that will make our content and campaigns more accessible. We will also continue to emphasise digital communications.

What was the most important lesson you learnt from a marketing perspective during the pandemic?

In many ways the early days of the pandemic reminded me of the months following the Lehman Brothers crash and the ensuing financial crisis. Marketing budgets were under pressure and previous knowns and assumptions were under scrutiny. We were thrown into a virtual world and were introduced to many tools and emerging tactics. However, I would have to say the greatest lesson was relearning the importance of communication and targeting. With the world in turmoil and clients’ time becoming even more precious than ever, we really needed to focus on getting the right information to the right client at the right time. A broad stroke approach would not work. Our clients needed to know that we were the trusted partner to tell them what they needed to know, when they needed to know it. Speed to market was critical so we needed to ensure the delivery teams were aware of their roles and responsibilities and that statuses were communicated clearly. We quickly realised how much was picked up by osmosis by being in each other’s company in the office so we adapted our virtual environment to increase our emphasis on clear and frequent internal communication.

What are you most proud of from a marketing perspective that you and your team have delivered?

Fortunately, I have had many moments where I have been beaming with pride over the past while. There have been individual campaigns that have outperformed benchmarks. Members of my team have been recognised for the value they bring to the business and have been promoted accordingly. New marketing tactics have been trialled and refined. We are exploring new ways of assessing and interpreting the data we have. However, what I am probably most proud of is securing reinvestment in our Brand marketing plans. Our team developed a compelling brand marketing campaign plan which ensures we have an always on presence to promote our priority areas. The campaign plan uses a variety of tactics, channels and media partners. The engagement we have seen so far has been compelling, yet it is still early days. I am looking forward to continuing the campaigns and supporting the business in its growth ambitions, and the continued growth and development of our people.

What did you learn about yourself over the last 15 months?

The past 15 months have led to a lot of professional learning, but I think it is fair to say that it awakened some new personal perspectives from many individuals as well. The days of working from home as a full-time campaign lead, home-schooling and looking after a toddler certainly was a good test of my resilience, multitasking abilities and, let’s be honest, patience at times. I am quite an outgoing person; I like to be around people, and I get a buzz off personal connections and brainstorming with my team. Prior to the pandemic if you told me I would be working at home full time I would have said I would hate that. However, back in March 2020 when virtual was the only option, I was surprised how well I was able to adapt and, frankly, how much I enjoy working from home. I am sure the skill of adaptation will be tested again as we come to terms with hybrid working and I look forward to the balance that will bring.



If you are a member who would like to feature in the In Conversation with series please send an email to