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.
Robert Godinho, MD, MediaMonks India talks exclusively to Medianews4u about storytelling in times of Covid-19, and its evolution post this menace.
These are really rough times…how has the business for the agency been shaping up? Which are some recent campaigns/communication of the agency that you would want to highlight?
Brands are re-evaluating the raison d’etre of brands in consumer lives, at a time when marketing budgets across industries and globes are being revised. And in a situation, such, agencies that don’t have a strong creative voice will find themselves being more and more irrelevant. Business is definitely slower with brands either not being able to produce or deliver their films to the consumers. The communications now need to be smart and repurposing of existing communications is the need of the hour through the lockdown as a stop-gap arrangement.
Going forward too in the near sight (next 6 months) there will have more reactive communications to the prevailing scenarios (WFH and overall safe zoning), but the future is still writing itself. There are some campaigns that we are in execution mode on and will love to share them when they launch.
Absolutely WFH is here to stay for quite some time… whether we like it or no…but you even while you rightly mentioned that budgets have been hit terribly…brands are still being a part of the conversation so what have been your recommendations as the top boss at MediaMonks?
Be austere yet cognisant and embrace this time like no other! You have never had so much attention from consumers. A lot of brands are going back to the roots, of how and why they started. This is also the time for brands to connect emotionally with consumers. What may be a utilitarian or essential relationship, has the potential to play a larger more integral role in the life of consumers. If the ‘in-store experience’ is taking a hit, the online business is booming. Even 5-star Hotel chains now are home delivering from their kitchens and similarly if Shoots and events are a problem let AR, gamification and VR and other technologies be the solution. Get truly digital rather than talking old-world media solutions on new-age platforms.
I agree with you… well, this crisis has forced a lot of us to go completely digital…Tell me about the impact on story-telling because of the halt of content production and what is MediaMonks doing to ensure a continuous flow of content for its clients?
MediaMonks is a digital first agency combining content with data and technology. Live shoots is one of our core competences, but our creative offering extends beyond that. At a time like this where large shoots may be a challenge, in-house directors and DP’s are working on other options like shooting at homes, using virtual meeting rooms to shoot with professional talent or find other creative route through animation, AR, gamification and VR.
During these hard times, how are you keeping up the morale of your teams that are working remotely? How are you making sure about the mental health of employees so that the lockdown doesn’t drive people crazy?
There will never be a better time for all of us to invest in ourselves. I always say I spend many more hours with my professional family than personal, and so their health, safety, and morale is of utmost importance. On the fun side, we have a workout routine shared and done by all of us every morning, a film making series called “jeete Raho” for them to create whatever they like and a Djing workshop for the team to enjoy making music for all their house parties in quarantine.
I spend 30 minutes each with 8-10 of my artists every week, to understand what they have been doing. I work with each member of my team personally to chart their future goals and dreams on these calls. This is the best time to reboot or realign your teams and systems to a new agile way of approaching the future. Up-skilling could never have come at a better time than this so when we open we are newer better and stronger.
What is your experience of working from home?
To really understand the effects of WFH you need to see the restless, creative soul. Our artists have adapted early and now almost like their second skin they now are churning out some really great work from home. It is important to remember work from home is not a 24-hour responsibility and as a team head, you need to constantly remind yourself not to invade into the personal life of your team. What however is so very satisfying to see, is the proactive enthusiasm of the team to come together as a family to help each other out in ways beyond professional courtesy. And yes bring to life some spectacular work of course.
As a digital evangelist, what are some of your learnings from this crisis?
Being true to the brand and the consumer’s needs is essential but when keeping in mind content at this time- sounding opportunistic or even commercial can come across harsh and insensitive. This is a golden time for creatives as we forge newer platforms, avenues and marketplaces to project from. Out of great adversity is born spectacular creativity.
How will storytelling shape up post the lockdown? Do you see any new normal being adopted post the lockdown?
It is not the lockdown but the vaccine that will be the game changer to get the world independent again. Everything else is a precautionary route till then.
What will clearly emerge is the agility and never dying spirit of the human nature that will drive new trends. These trends will be here to stay simply because these new ways are rapidly moving from a “makeshift solution” of a temporary lockdown to the “way of life” as getting back to economic sustainability must resume.
Finally one must always remember a storyteller just needs a canvas to express their art and as long as there are platforms (the digital new world) brands will always be able to talk to their communities.