13 May

Closing the Post-Covid Gap with Creative Agility

As we start to see lockdowns ease globally and brands begin to reactivate or scale-up their marketing activity, agility will become an even more important strategic advantage for brands looking to stand out amongst the flurry of activity.

One of the best things about my role is the direct contact that I get to have with marketers from all sectors and all parts of the world, from UK charities through to US-based gaming companies or APAC Pharma.

All these organisations are vastly different, but what I have seen consistently is that those companies who use technology to help them automate and streamline processes, have been able to pivot the fastest – adjusting to the new landscape and filling the gap left by slower competitors.

I think we will see this even more over the next quarter. Brands that rely on traditional ways of executing marketing campaigns will struggle to get fresh creative out there, while more nimble competitors will have an opportunity to take advantage of this gap. We’ve already seen them take advantage of lower CPM’s on paid social channels to massively increase brand awareness while larger companies have halted or lowered spend.

During lockdowns, the typical high-value key asset and ATL productions that some brands usually rely on have not happened, and the issue here is that these typically provide the content to be used all the way down the funnel. As you will know, it will typically take at least 3 months to produce a campaign that will provide the level of scale some brands require to fully refresh all the creative their teams will need.

With no fresh creative at the top, paid media campaigns with objectives such as consideration and conversion are sure to suffer more from issues such as ad fatigue – which will drive up CPMs, reduce engagement and impact brand perception.

So, how can marketers combat these issues and go to market quicker with fresh-looking creative that continues to perform well?

  1. Lean on specialists in dynamic creative that have expertise in leveraging existing assets. You may have an agency or in-house team that specialises in areas such as DCO, there may even be a team you don’t know about – the Big 6 groups all have agencies that can help with this but they often don’t get much exposure to brand teams.
  2. Look at unorthodox production methods. We’ve seen some great ads using home-recorded and stock footage, and there are some great outfits like The Source who leverage a global network of contributors to provide creative in a very cost-effective and efficient way.
  3. Invest in a dynamic creative platform. We’ve seen clients use our platform to repurpose assets and give them a new “lease of life” by leveraging live data or updating and evolving messaging to combat ad fatigue. A great example of this is the Philips case study that used a cut-down of their TVC, combined it with some stock imagery, location and live pollen data and saw a 38% uplift in performance.

On a final note, I think that what we are seeing is not a temporary change in how marketers need to operate. Over the last decade we’ve seen our industry transform to adapt from the open web to walled gardens, from Flash to HTML to video, from a data “free-for-all”, to GDPR. The current situation seems to be accelerating changes that were already afoot, so keep in mind that any short-term adaptations towards the current reality are likely to turn into long-term norms, so it’s a good time to forge partnerships with specialists who can help navigate you through this period of rapid change.