When this is all over, will things have changed temporarily, fundamentally or permanently?

By Ashley Jouhar | 22nd April 2020

Nobody really quite knows yet. One thing we do know though is that we have all had to adapt and change how we are behaving to suit the circumstances of working from home. Everyone seems to be finding their own way to carry on with their day-to-day business. There are millions of Zoom meetings taking place, presentations and pitches to clients are being conducted online and there is amazing inventiveness when it comes to running live events such as trade fairs, panel discussions, shoot productions, webinars and product launches.

Marketing shouldn’t be ignored but adapted. Of course, everyone’s original plans are now history or on hold, so we have to embrace where we are now, keep going and plan for the future too. There is great creativity on display despite the restrictions we are under. Marketers are re-purposing old footage, using stock imagery and home shot footage to make relevant comms that are striking the right tone right for the times we are now living in.

With everyone’s plans turned upside down, how exactly do businesses re-group, support their brand and at the same time make it relevant to customers, rather than an affront?

Former Unilever CMO Keith Weed firmly believes the answer is to keep marketing through this period: “The opportunity to engage people with relevant advertising is important and we shouldn’t forget that. We’re in a crisis right now, and…certainly, the most important thing that I think brands can do is remember the golden rule of marketing is to put the consumer first, to put the customer in the centre of what you’re doing – put people first”.

With this in mind, Dove has put together a wonderful film showing a series of portraits of key medical professionals, photographed straight from their shift (you can still see their experiences etched into their faces along with the imprints from the protective masks and visors).

The tone of other big brands, reacting to create quick turnaround content and getting it right includes Uber, using the line ‘Stay home for everyone who can’t. Thank you for not riding with Uber.

They are not the only ones to utilise our confinement within our homes, to make a much larger point about human kindness and consideration for others. Nike too, are still able to connect, and more importantly empathise with their audience through sport and fitness, by turning the spotlight on a locked-down public, who are ingeniously working out within the confines of their own homes. Nike has crowd-sourced all the stills and footage of this to make a heart-warming homage to the spirit and resilience of people worldwide.

The automotive industry has also produced some poignant and relevant work. Ads like This one from Honda strike the right tone and message when much of the world is in lockdown. This ad uses humour and circumstances everyone recognises to get its message across.

Audi to have released ‘The Drive.’ It’s a relaxed journey, shot from an Audi, through Australia’s countryside allowing customers to experience the pleasure of the open road from the confines of their own homes. It’s designed to give Australians a much-needed sense of tranquillity and mental wellbeing whilst being stuck indoors day in, day out.

There is an overtone of kindness and compassion in many marketing messages, along with evidence of a deep global culture of sharing emerging. We’re all separate, but together. Or we’re all together, but separate; take your pick. The times we are all enduring right now have really put this sense of unity to the test. This bodes well for life after Corona Virus, as does an appreciation for the outdoors and life’s other simple pleasures that have been denied us for some time now.

We are experiencing an intense period testing the flexibility and sophistication of technology. We were heading in the direction of a more experiential, connected, VR-orientated world anyway, but this virus has really speeded the process up.

At Domeble, we have all been working remotely for some weeks now and we’ve also been trying to connect with our customers in the right way, offering the tools to create from home and the visual assets to bring the outdoors, indoors. Our message has been ‘If you can’t reach the locations you want, let the locations you want reach you’. As for many marketers, the accessibility and use of pre-shot assets is a real plus in keeping their marketing plans ticking over.

We’re all going to need to be prepared to embrace a new way of operating once we get through this period of human and economic shock. There have to be positives to take out moving forward that will shape our methods, behaviours and businesses for the future. As David Bowie said, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring”.

Written By Ashley Jouhar – COO at Domeble 

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