Corona crisis as a test of agile advertising. Are you future-proof?
Marketers’ dilemmas from last year seem to disappear. When reach building is cost effective and relatively easy, people’s engagement guaranteed and only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising - some CMOs consider to be silent and everyone is expecting drop in the advertising business. I strongly believe the Corona crisis is a test - is our organisation future-proof? Can we react fast in a rapidly-changing world? Fast enough to be the first who will start a new communication?
“Generations Z and Y are so hard to reach nowadays.” “Customer’s attention is fragmented, attention span dropping and we are not sure if to invest in “Purpose” marketing and if people really care of what brands do.” Isn’t it ironic? Marketers’ dilemmas from last year seem to disappear. “Purpose” message is the only appropriate and appreciated, while people consume media much more and not only to check the news…
And exactly at this time when reach building is cost effective and relatively easy to build, people’s engagement guaranteed - some CMOs consider to stay silent. I don’t have in mind obvious sectors hit directly by the Coronavirus - e.g. travel, restaurants or shopping malls, but all the others.
What are the reasons? There are at least a few: not being sure what exactly they should do or adjusting organisation to work remotely, fighting against CFO’s fears of recession or just urgent need to change creatives because the message of planned campaign is now inappropriate. There are also companies that don’t see the need to advertise because of demand increase they were not prepared for.
I strongly believe the Corona crisis is a test - is our organisation future-proof? Are we agile? Can we react fast in a rapidly-changing world? Fast enough to be the first who will start a brand new communication? If we do - it’s a good news. If we’re not, now it’s time to adopt.
In many European countries, mid of March was the time of closing schools, shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants. For the majority of white collars - switching to home office. Zoom stocks rose against the trending downwards market. VOD services are boosting. News portals and TV stations noted the highest ratings and increased viewing time. Even if tourism sector started to decrease its promotional expenditure dramatically, we could observe an increase in some sectors such as online dating services or frozen foods as well as software or gaming - for which staying at home is an opportunity, instead of being a threat. In total cross-media GRPs (TV+digital video) are stable when we compare last week March, 16-22 to average weekly number from January and February. However the following week March, 23-29 has brought -7% decrease to averages from previous months while taking under consideration yearly fluctuation of GRPs, we should observe now significant increase because of upcoming Easter.
Higher TV and digital ratings, longer time spent across all media types and devices creates great opportunity to build - with lower investments - higher reach and dominate competitors who are still not decided whether to be active or not. According to Kantar’s global survey, only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising due to the coronavirus outbreak, while vast majority expect brand to run communication (75% saying brands should inform people of what they’re doing) while more than 50% also think brands should talk as they have always have done. Obviously not all kinds of communication are appropriate, but there are plenty of possibilities. I’m looking forward to next years Creativity Contest like Effie or Cannes Lions to check the best case studies!
Bravest CMO’s started already and we can on daily basis observe their activities.
A real inspiration is an example of McDonald’s activity in Germany. It was one of first of the the big brands who reacted. They represent a sector that was significantly affected by the crisis within less than a week, they prepared simple creatives communicating McDrive and delivery services together with an Application as a safe solution in a pandemic reality. Another communication line was a promotion of McDonald's action to support Edeka. All of these actions were implemented within less than a week from the moment of closing restaurants, schools and malls. At the same time we should notice that such fast reaction was possible in digital video campaign. TV adverts could be a next step in their crisis communication.
The pandemic is to stay with us for a while. Marketers will have plenty of time to adjust their advertising strategy to the new reality. But for sure we will remember mainly the pioneers, not the followers.