Nowadays a popular topic is what challenge Covid-19 posed to brands and how marketers should respond to them. There has been less focus on advertising agencies, even though we as advertisers have an important role in making the new world work as it should. Months after the declaration of the emergency, it is worth summarizing the lessons learned just before the second wave arrives.
Some people get cold feet. Yet, the work of agencies - converting business problems into communication problems and developing the best solutions to them - does not end when the traffic light is red, or the traffic is only flowing. An agency cannot become passive, whether the client is uncertain or freezes the budget because of the expected economic impact or does not want to react to the situation because it is a negative topic. The worst thing an advertising agency can do in this case is to go blind, expecting the client to solve the problems on their own or the agency solves the tasks based on the old routine.
Based on research, consumers expect brands to play an active role during the epidemic - and of course it matters how it is solved. To answer the questions how it should be done, belongs to the advertising agencies. The advertising agency's task is to pick up the vibrations, develop solutions, and transmit them even though when it is not its responsibility.
Situation assessment, flexibility, proactivity, innovation, digitization, brand awareness. These have become the keywords of the last period.
The reduction on marketing spending has been a common reaction in the markets. But how can consumers trust brands that disappear when there is a problem and only reappear when everything is working again. The crisis has reinforced the need for brands to find a connection with their consumers even when the world is upside down.
There are products and services that did not need communication support. For example, the popularity of e-commerce, the success of home sports equipment, or Netflix shall not to be explained. We could see an example that went well, when a brand had nothing to say, for example, by offering outdoor advertising spaces.
There are also other, passionately communicating brands that we could still wonder where they are and when they will arrive. It is also true that people need stability and positive thoughts. People want to go back to their good old lives, leaving all the worries behind. But burying one's head in the sand is not the solution.
What do consumers want? They expect getting help on how to cope with the crisis. It is all about the several layers of help. Empathic and stress-relieving communication is needed. The fact that a brand considers new norms, routines and displays them so that people do not feel left behind. Ideas on how to deal with challenges. Getting help on creating new routines in solution increasing comfort. Getting help to get rid of boredom. Strengthening community relations in a more fragile world. Offers to meet new needs. Consumers want to be sure that the brand is adapting to the changes and it keeps the consumers safety. People expect social responsibility to get help in difficult situations.
It is important that actions are needed, and these are real help. The attic is full of encouragement and good humor. How much more lovable was when some restaurants, which by the way were also in crisis, delivered lunch to the medical workers revered as heroes than the many “we are with you” message. Humor should also be treated with caution. The Stay the f * ck at home song is a good gag, but to play with the slogan and say, "this is not the end", especially in connection with a 30% online discount, is already quite deep.