By Sonia Singh | Agencies are Embracing a new reality
To disruption, ad agencies are no strangers
Through cultural, economic, and technological change, they are the expert’s brands call on to help maneuver and many Pride these days, themselves on being disruptors in their own right, challenging the status quo, and navigating this new normal.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to be the most disruptive force in Modern Times we have faced, Agencies are helping brands confront a new, unprecedented reality. Amid such rapid change, to stay on the pulse of the current climate, it’s never been more important. For strategy folks, this means uncovering new trends, gathering accurate real-time data and finding and behaviors, and creating insight-driven perspectives. I recently spoke to agency leaders and five strategists to hear how they are applying strategy and to find out what advice they have for brands and data insights differently now.
Here’s what they have to say
1. Find the right balance between ‘normal and ‘new’.
Clients are trying to keep a long term view and to operate as normal, they are doing their best as much as they can. However, for all of us this is a new situation and in between their procurement clients are caught and on one side finance departments and their agency partners on the other.
Our advice is to keep things stable wherever you can, in uncertain times. You can find the right tension between normal and new only by adjusting the parts of your business that are required to remain agile. This helps to maintain a sense of normality, which in such situations is very welcomed. While also allowing you to ensure business continuity and the ability to adapt.
Have teams work side by side to allow for co-creation and keep things fluid.
During these unprecedented times given the pace of change, it is very difficult to come by reliable data. To understand consumer sentiments we did conduct our own quantitative surveys, but, by the time We were done with our analysis, many of the findings we felt were already not that applicable to the market circumstances anymore.
Instead, we decided to go real “old-school,” conducting a content analysis of observing Shoppers first hand, media coverage, and simply talking to people- asking them questions about their concerns, worries, and when this whole thing is over, will be on their mind.
Things just have become more fluid and a lot less linear when it comes to the briefing. Having to react very quickly to shift in market dynamics or consumer sentiments, we cannot really about to go through the motion planners and creatives have to work side by side, co-create the ideas and brief, while also adjusting both on the fly. For building long term brand equity, we also see a heightened sense. For many marketers, I believe that the current crisis has also highlighted the importance of off-putting enough credit into the”trust bank.”
Take nothing for granted and focus on macro Trends
Overload at the moment there is a bit of data- everyone has a new study or a point of view, so finding the most powerful data and filtering through it all and insights is important. I am more interested in finding the Macro trends right now that might signal a new Swift in economic conditions, or Consumer sentiment or habits.
During the pandemic and at the start of our conversations with clients were changing on a daily basis. People were reactive. From this experience what we should take is that the world can change quickly, and respond will have greater resilience and businesses that are nimble enough to act.
There could be a second wave there is a lot of speculation- So we should continue to assume nothing but be prepared for anything.
To understand consumers’ use of real-time sentiment.
As a tool data is most exciting to hack and unpack culture, helping create relevant work that captures the zeitgeist. In the immediate term, we are using behavioral tracking and real-time sentiment. To provide micro snapshots of current Consumer reactions and needs observed during the height of the pandemic.
In our collective culture, the major crisis leaves a lasting imprint. Emerging indicators like fringe conversations and subcultural trends are valuable data points and clues that signpost macro shifts in a post-pandemic culture.
Apparently, the new cultural paradigms Will fundamentally affect how brands speak, act, and position themselves going forward.
Instead of large structural changes focus on small adjustments.
We can see that most agencies with hindsight. Reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pretty much the same way. Found footage, statements of support, and plonky piano music. And on that consumers picked up. Into that sameness trap, we tried to avoid falling. So we prioritized insights and data that could give us a different take on the crisis. Or find something indeed, that our clients could talk about that wasn’t COVID-themed. After all, about the pandemic 100% of the time. None of us was thinking, even at the height of the uncertainty and disruption.
All of us contain the same brains we have six months ago
So the principles behind briefings and briefs haven’t changed, but the mechanics have. We have learned to be far more precise and specific in our written briefs. Because in meetings the nonverbal communication and level of focus are nowhere near what it would be face to face.
The best agencies are looking forward and thinking ahead about how to make lemonade out of the lemons. Launching products, whether that’s tailored to the new needs that have emerged. Prioritizing various parts of their portfolio. Or when the competition cut their budgets to capitalize on the huge share of voice that nets them. Simply investing in advertising. The name of the game is concise, sharp, short, and focused Communications that look, feel, and sound different.
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