The Covid-19 crisis has certainly changed the entire creative and communications industry. Agencies nowadays are not only creating campaigns remotely but are also pitching for new businesses. The travel and commuting time saved in a day has resulted in improved efficiency and productivity. While there has been an impact on storytelling because of the lockdown; our advertising folks have converted the crisis into an opportunity by taking storytelling to the next level.
In an effort to continuously innovate around the Covid-19 coverage on the Media, Marketing and Advertising universe; Medianews4u brings to you creative veterans who share their views on how storytelling has changed and evolved in times of Covid-19.
iProspect India’s Senior Creative Director, Rahool Talukdar, talks exclusively to Medianews4u about storytelling in times of Covid-19, and its evolution post this menace.
Tell us about how the business for the agency been shaping up? Which are some of the recent campaigns/communication credited to iProspect India that you would want to highlight?
Due to COVID-19, various brands across sectors are holding back spends and are sceptical regarding the industry landscape. However, the presence of brands on Social Media (atleast the organic side) is very healthy. Brands are spreading awareness, encouraging donations towards the PM Cares Fund, and in relevant ways, pushing forth their product offerings too.
A great example is the #HappinessSheet campaign by Shaze, which encourages people to appreciate the little happy things in life while they are spending all their time at home.
Very true, brands are being a part of the conversation by different ways … Talking about how COVID-19 has struck all of us very hard… brands are still being a part of the conversation… What have been your recommendations as the Senior Creative Director of iProspect?
While the situation has escalated beyond any of us imagined, it also presents a unique opportunity for brands. They have a chance to connect with audiences at an emotional level by creating content that audiences can best relate with while they are stuck at home. While at it, they can also position themselves as thought leaders by talking about best practices to follow during the lockdown and find ways to incorporate their products in these conversations, which will make it sound subtle.
Tell us how has storytelling been hampered by content production coming to a standstill? What is iProspect doing to ensure a continuous flow of content for its clients?
Video shoots are out of the window, but the show must go on. In any great story, the insight plays the biggest role. We try to tap into such unique insights and subsequently find ways to tackle them with innovative ideas, making use of social platform capabilities (Insta Stories, Facebook Live, etc.) and creating content in-house – animation-based videos, carousels, cinemagraphs, etc.
My next question is very important as the most important asset in advertising is its people… so during these hard times, how are you keeping up the morale of your teams that are working remotely? What are you doing to make sure that the mental health of employees remains stable?
These are really testing times. A key aspect of work productivity is taking timely breaks. At work, it comes in the form of tea or coffee breaks, walks in the compound, chatting with colleagues, etc. But because of the lockdown, most of these options are off the table.
To maintain productivity levels and we keep our employees motivated, we encourage them to take breaks from their screens, connect with their friends over a call, grab their favourite cuppa, etc. At an agency level, we have also initiated weekly catchups with our CEO wherein employees can voice their opinions or challenges. Some great initiatives like iProspect Masterclass where they can learn about work undertaken by other verticals have also been initiated. And programs where employees can showcase their hobbies like singing, dancing, etc., have been organised too.
The iProspect Masterclass is truly a wonderful initiative to keep the teams motivated with the dash of some fresh learnings during the lockdown…Coming to your experience… how has your experience of working from home been?
Well there are pros and cons. While it gives me more time to spend with my family, it also keeps me away from my work family. At the start coordination was time consuming. But now that people have started getting a hang of it, it has been a smoother ride.
Lovely! and as a creative expert, what are some of your learnings from this crisis?
One of the most important points is the scope of digital media. While those in the digital domain already knew about its obvious advantages, the lockdown has made it abundantly clear to the traditionalists as well. Since we are all locked up at home, the media most consumed by people all over the world is digital. I believe that even though it has affected digital agencies to some extent as well, we will be among the first to even get back up. More and more people are realising the power of digital and it is bound to be on the to-do list of brands that haven’t taken the plunge into it yet.
How will storytelling shape up post the lockdown? Do you see any new normal being adopted post the lockdown?
A compelling story will always do its job irrespective of the time, place or circumstances. I don’t see storytelling being drastically different, but the mediums to showcase the stories are definitely going to be more digitally inclined post the lockdown.
Stay at home, follow government protocols, and stay safe. Some of us may be facing paycuts or a year without bonuses, but it will surely pass. And I can say without doubt that digital is going to be bigger than ever, in other words – become the new normal.