As coronavirus continues to sweep through the world, global ad spending is on the decline. With key events being canceled and a slowdown in demands for lifestyle & consumer brands, marketing budgets are being slashed and advertisers are trying to find a silver lining to the chaos that has been created. This pandemic is costing the Indian economy USD 4.5 bn a day. With consumption drastically reduced, manufacturing is seeing a halt as well. This variable is fatal for creative agencies who fail to adapt to what to expect next.
Given the current situation, we anticipate that things would remain vulnerable until September. Being agile is the key to the game. In fact, the advertising people are a race of humans who are no strangers to disruption and turmoil. We have overcome all kinds of pressures – economic, financial, political, natural, and many such. As the COVID-19 is no longer viewed as a short-lived outbreak and the world is preparing itself to settle around it and with it, advertising agencies will also have to amend. In fact, several mainline or heritage agencies will have to brace themselves for the slump that is yet to come. With businesses being conducted online now, creative pitches, client meetings, brainstorming, and such have all moved on to the online space and remote terminals are our new offices now. Agencies that cater to tech innovations, digital and internal B2B can expect some sort of sustainability.
While agencies are understanding the need to change, the same is requisite from the clients’ side too and agencies that encourage their clients and help them to incorporate these changes will have someone loyal by their side. At Hotstuff, we mobilized our resources in March, even before the actual lockdown, setting up new systems and work management protocols that ensured business continuity. We helped our clients to do so too and adapt. During the lockdown, we even created TVCs from home that set precedence and a trend for other marketers to follow suit. Innovation is the key and as Indians, we are known to innovate the best during a crisis. This has helped us churn out campaigns and create communication pieces in full swing. As an agency, we did not stop at that but kept our clients engaged through our huge network of experts who could add value to its world of clients. Our Tattva Knowledge Series of webinars are a huge success and only growing in its reach.
Advertisements are nothing but human stories and one of the key factors that make them touch our hearts is how we interpret and imagine our interaction with each other. In COVID times, this significant emotion itself is of high risk. Though our social interactions have lessened and are almost at a pause, we are still humans, capable of managing all that and much more through our subtle perceptions. Physical expressions have and are evolving into subtle expressions. A strong idea will matter the most than exuberant productions. The power of storytelling will need to be honed better. We, humans, have the agility and the tensile strength to overcome anything and as dream merchants, we are like the frontline workers who would keep the sanity alive. The templates would need to change – hope, beauty, gratitude, calmness, prayer, positivity, somber, and empathetic along with technological innovations would be the new norm in the brand new world.
This article is authored by Arun Fernandes, CEO – Hotstuff.