The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent mandatory lockdown have changed consumer behavior significantly. The remote-working culture has shifted its focus entirely to digital connections over physical ones to stop the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing has had effects on all industries alike, and creative agencies are not alone in this situation. The importance of proximity has been replaced by capabilities. However, creative agencies are resilient, as they have experienced tragic circumstances like these in the past: they have floated past recession, political scenarios, social causes, trends, budget cuts, and so on.
Upgrades and updates
Creative professionals used their time during this economic dip to sharpen their skills instead of idling. Investing in upgrading their skill sets was a good move that helped agencies retain their clients, as they were able to satisfy their clients’ specific needs as the situation demanded. The adoption of technology as a necessity meant that professionals had to address skill gaps to keep up with market trends. A report by the World Economic Forum states that by 2020 around 35 percent of the skills required for a position will change regardless of the industry. To thrive in light of the rapidly changing market needs, agencies have to invest their resources in updating their technology and upgrading their professional skills.
Dip in the economy but…
Businesses have had to shift their advertising and marketing strategies to online digital platforms to retain their clients and contracts, and the process had its opportunities and hurdles, not to mention differences in marketing expenses before and after the pandemic wave. Remote-work models have lowered fixed costs, allowing agencies to spend on marketing their brand. Keeping the state of clients in mind, some have offered flat-rate services for small clients, an à la carte marketing menu, and flexibility in contract terms. So digital innovations, evaluation of cost structures, and strategies that reworked their core areas were required in order to manage client expectations. Companies had to devise retention strategies, as many agencies started losing clients at the beginning of the lockdown. So new ideas, campaigns, budgets, and communication models were imperative to keep the business going.
A hike in creativity!
The creativity of many companies peaked during this pandemic period. They have used creativity to strengthen brand influence; build a strong following through messages for social causes, health, and safety; and to raise awareness in general. Even when many firms were not functioning normally, they were able to retain their customers through transparent communications that were effective in keeping up the brand’s reputation. Agencies bear the responsibility of guiding their clients through digital evolution. Thought leadership was welcomed by the targeted audience, and companies that played their parts right were able to reach out to diverse groups and gain their confidence.
The major changes:
- Empathy for stakeholders and situations while retaining brand relevance
- Crafting new ads from existing footage
- Scrapping creative executions that do not represent the current scenario (e.g., avoiding lifestyle imagery that shows travel or social gathering)
- Being more comforting and less promotional
- Focusing on products that are pertinent to the virtual world
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