Marketing departments and agencies have spent much of the past 12 to 18 months pitching, assigning and delivering work remotely. However, as the promise of vaccines seems around the corner and the faintest hint of the world opening up looms distantly, how should the marcomms industry reckon with post-pandemic creativity? How much will change as the world (hopefully) returns to business (almost) as usual?
In a session at Spikes Asia x Campaign, Ed Pank, APAC managing director of Warc, told attendees that they could consider the following factors as they consider the future of their work. Taking some cues from Warc's 'Marketer's Toolkit 2021: Navigate Through Uncertainty', Pank told the audience about the following ground realities:
1. Uncertainty prevails
The Covid-19 vaccine may not be widely administered for some time to come, delaying a possible economic recovery and keeping marketing budgets muted. "But the pain will not be spread equally... advertisers will increase spending in the walled gardens, with Facebook and Google the prime beneficiaries and TikTok and Amazon also gaining share." Conversely, print continues to struggle, he noted.
2. Shifting priorities
According to WARC data, marketers are cutting brand advertising and agency vendor fees, even as performance marketing and tech investments remain mostly shielded. Creative spends too are down.
3. Shifting priorities for brands
Those taking a bolder approach have a greater chance to win market share. There's an opportunity to win new customers in a downturn, since consumers tend to try new brands when they go through a life event. Monitoring share of search helps brands identify losses early.
Given this context, Pank also shared some learnings specifically for creative teams in APAC:
1. Lo-fi is ok
The pandemic has swept aside expectations of highly professional content and ushered in a wave of user-generated material instead. For example, Mindshare created content to keep consumers and fitness instructors connected on WeChat and TikTok, resulting in a 30% increase in digital business and an 80% increase in usage of its apps.
2. Nostalgia works
Consider revisiting ads from the past, like Cadbury India did when it dug up an old jingle to thank consumers for not giving up during the pandemic—and got 70 million hits on YouTube.
3. Re-invent to stay relevant
With consumers stuck at home, brands need to repurpose themselves to stay relevant. Budweiser, for example, re-invented its 'whatssup' commercial for people in quarantine.
4. Purpose is even more important
More than three-quarters of respondents to WFA's survey now believe purpose is more important. The theme of 'acts not ads' will continue in 2021. Consider themses that work better today: self-awareness, generosity, human connections are some important ones.
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