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.
The Content Master of Wavemaker India, Karthik Nagarajan, who officially is the Chief Content Officer at the agency talks exclusively to Medianews4u about storytelling in times of Covid-19.
Tell us about how the business for the agency been shaping up? Which are some of the recent campaigns/communication credited to Wavemaker that you would want to highlight?
I think the last two months have presented a very interesting challenge. The opportunity to create under debilitating constraints is always exciting and we have been able to meaningfully add value to our clients’ businesses.
Some key highlights during this time are as follows:
The ‘5 Star Do Nothing Outside challenge’ that we did for Mondelez has been extremely successful. From cricketers to stand-up comics, it has brought multiple stars to share creatively and entertainingly, in these times.
Zakir Khan’s emotional rendition of ‘Maa ke haath ka khana’ for Mother Dairy has moved millions of people, including the brand’s competitors! This one is very special as it was written by Karan Rao – Wavemaker’s in house poet!
Amway’s wonderful corporate campaign titled ‘Renew’, which urged a change in user behaviour.
Myntra has always been extraordinary in how they use influencers and overall in content-to-commerce. We launched their flagship ‘Masterclass’ campaign housed on the app and it has been a great success.
Yes… the Zakir Khan video really did touch my heart too… I still remember watching it with my mom… Congratulations on the stellar work… 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 Chief Content Officer of the mighty Wavemaker network?
This is an existential crisis for many of our clients. While the time periods of impact might vary, there is no question that it has definitely crippled business in some way or the other. So as communication partners we have to play a meaningful role in bringing their businesses back, so both our means and ends have to change.
For some clients, it is a great opportunity for cause marketing, for some it is about connecting with consumers in a more intimate way and for some it is business as usual even. We simply need to recalibrate ourselves as content specialists.
Absolutely! Recalibrating ourselves as content specialists is certainly going to be my personal takeaway from this conversation. Tell us how storytelling has been hampered by content production coming to a standstill? What is Wavemaker doing to ensure a continuous flow of content for its clients?
I don’t think we are trying to ensure that content keeps going out irrespective. Our starting point is the short and medium term business need. Everything flows from there. I think storytelling overall has become more empathetic. Artists and brands have lowered their guard in their willingness to embrace more people during these tough times.
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?
There is absolutely nothing else more important than that. And in that, it is important to realize that every employee is fighting a different battle. So it is critical that we connect differently with each of them.
In ensuring mental health, the most important thing is to be in touch with them and ensure a safe, empathetic space to express themselves. We are trying to create that kind of an atmosphere. GroupM is also bringing in subject matter experts and psychologists to speak with our employees continuously, so we are not leaving any stone unturned.
Leaving no stone unturned clearly speaks volumes about the efforts the senior management of Wavemaker is making to ensure that the employees fit mentally. Coming to your experience… how has your experience of working from home been?
It has been a humbling experience and one that has made me discover myself more. My concept of time has changed and so has my way of engaging with the World outside. Health has been a great focus and I have been able to understand my own body better.
As the content and social veteran, what are some of your learnings from this crisis?
I am reassured more than ever that consumers treat brands as a friend. This comes with the same set of rules that we apply to people. They will root for you if you inspire them, they will stand up for you if you have their trust, they will love you if you care for them and they will laugh with you all the time if you are genuinely funny. This belief has only been strengthened during Covid.
Wow! You have given me a ton of headlines to choose from… Coming to my last and final question, According to you how will storytelling shape up post the lockdown? Do you see any ‘new normal’ being adopted post the lockdown?
I think overall as a world, we are stepping into a phase of more accountability. So building trust is going to be more important than ever. And audience’s resistance for bullshit will be at an all-time high. So storytelling will have to be more real and empathetic than ever.