By Dharmendra Ahuja
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected almost every business sector. Being one of the worst human health and economic crisis, it is continuing to stage its devastating impact on every industry, and segment across the globe. However, creative agencies are one such business areas that are not a stranger to any such tragedy. They have successfully sailed through the recession, political scenarios, economic pressure, and many others.
Undeniably, the number of coronavirus cases is on a steep rise. Considering the pandemic induced lockdown and current scenario, businesses are reworking on their advertising and digital marketing spends to know whether it is the right time to continue with the marketing expense. Having said that, the ongoing crisis has not only presented the world with unprecedented challenges but also opened up various opportunities to disrupt and grow in the market. Many businesses are counting on creative agencies to formulate innovative strategies to help clients thrive in adversity. On the other hand, creative agencies are rethinking the way they operate and reshaping their core work areas.
Flourishing in remote work culture
With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, several countries induced complete lockdown to prevent the spread of the infection. The widespread travel restrictions and businesses temporarily shutting down have triggered creative agencies to battle with the newly presented challenges of Covid-19. Several creative agencies have adopted remote working models to deal with the exacerbating impact of the pandemic. For instance, many businesses have planned virtual/online meetings through Skype, Google Meet or Zoom to conduct brainstorming sessions, team meetings and pitch meetings with clients.
People working off remotely are more time-rich, filled with creative energies by flexibly combining their personal life with work schedule. Additionally, remote work models result in experiencing significantly lower fixed costs by eliminating the expense of office rent, refreshments, and other utility bills that are comparatively higher than home.
Reskilling and learning of creative professionals
Undeniably, working amid the pandemic is a real challenge for employees from all sectors. The sudden adoption of new-age technology tools has also revealed the need for addressing potential skill gaps to adapt to the latest market trends. According to the report of the World Economic Forum, around 35% of skills needed for the job will be changed by 2020, regardless of the industry. This is not going to spare time for professionals to acquire new skills and meet the dynamic needs of the market.
Talking about the world of branding and marketing, creative agencies are presently the driving force behind a brand’s visibility and existence. To help the brands stay ahead of the competition, the agencies and creative professionals are investing their resources in the up-gradation of their skills. The needs of marketing are rapidly changing and there is a constant rise in the need for hybrid skills that can make a professional ready to strategically assist the client in any market condition.
Shaping to changing customer behaviour
The Covid-19 pandemic has deeply evolved the way people live, work and buy products. With retail stores experiencing temporary shutdowns, customers are looking at purchasing products through a new lens. Concerning the intensified impact of the pandemic on human health and economy, new buying habits are being formed – reshaping customer behaviour. In the time of uncertainty like the present crisis, consumers are also shifting their category spending to necessities. Consumers are considering health at utmost priority, ensuring financial and medical security of their family.
To comply with social distancing norms, creative agencies are betting on developing innovative online shopping channels. The paradigm shift in consumer behaviour makes the agencies work on delivering impeccable user-experience while accommodating new customer behaviour – from physical to online shopping.
Adopting of client retention strategies
Managing a creative agency amid the pandemic is all about managing client expectations. The better the execution of the retention strategy, the higher would be the rate of retention. Right after the announcement of the lockdown, many creative agencies started losing their clients – temporarily and permanently. However, the key to surviving in the market is effective communication and trust-building. To keep a valuable relationship with the client during such crisis, creative agencies are working on presenting a number of innovative ideas for new campaigns, execution, budget, messaging and other aspects of building brand identity.
Bringing change through digital innovation
The movement restrictions to stop the spread of Coronavirus infection has led businesses and creative agencies to invest in digital infrastructure. There is a huge acceleration towards the adoption of E-commerce and new-age technology tools. According to the estimates of BARC Neilsen Report – since the lockdown, there is an increase of 12% in the average time spent on mobiles and the spread of fake news especially on social media is at an all-time high. This opens up multiple opportunities for creative agencies in rising the dependency level on earned media.
Besides this, the Covid-19 pandemic has also presented the creative agencies with a challenge of restructuring according to the present market dynamics. Given the uncertainty of the market, creative agencies are focusing on evaluating their cost structure first. This involves working on collaborative models instead of investing in building in-house competencies. Thus, the agencies need to adopt more agile work models that are quick to adapt to the new normal.
The author is founder and CEO, PitchWorx