Whilst our regular Club events are paused, we know that our Club members want to stay connected and share insight and learning as the impact of Covid-19 on the marketing and advertising landscape unfolds. So last week saw the launch of our Oystercatchers Virtual Coffee Morning series. In these weekly conversations our chair Suki Thompson will be catching up with brand and agency leaders- exploring how the current crisis is changing the way they work, the way that creativity is being shaped and the way brands are responding to their customer needs.
For our first Coffee Morning, Suki was joined in conversation by Pete Markey, CMO, TSB and Nick Wright, MD, Jump @Havas.
How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted on your plans? How should brands be supporting their customers and what impact has the crisis had on creativity and comms?
Pete and Nick reflected on how quickly their teams had been able to adapt and respond- with the emphasis on refocusing comms and creative work to speak directly to the change in customer needs.
For some brands, it is almost business as usual, for others it’s a period of pause and pivot, whilst for others still the crisis has hit hard and the future uncertain.
Both Pete and Nick were in agreement that there is no one size fits all – it depends on the brand, the objectives and what their marketing and comms strategy has been, as well as what’s happening in each sector.
Pete felt that tone is now more important than ever. Whilst customers can be quite forgiving of minor misteps – the most important thing is brands shouldn’t be tone deaf. Listening is vital, to really understand what customers want and need. Several good examples were mentioned – Brewdog, LVMH, and Dyson amongst them.
Pete noted that for the financial sector, being clear on how they can support their customers and reassuring them at this time is critical. The spotlight was on brands to really live their purpose. For TSB “ Money confidence every day” had never been more relevant. One of the first initiatives TSB has rolled out is content featuring their head of security talking about the measures the bank is taking to prevent fraud and how customers can protect themselves online.
Despite the challenges, Nick and Pete were both optimistic for the post pandemic future, predicting that individuals and businesses will emerge with a deeper sense of the things that truly matter, of the importance of human connection and that this will result in brand comms and creative work that is more deeply human and more empathetic. Nick felt that it would be important to add hope and optimism into creative campaigns- and to contribute to a lifting of the nation’s spirits. He predicted that this would be very evident in the way Christmas campaigns were developed.
How has virtual working impacted on you and your teams?
For Nick these new ways of working have already included two digital pitches. Whilst there’s no doubt that f2f is best, it is possible to make it work remotely. Just as with a real pitch, preparation and planning are key as is rehearsing . Pitch theatre’ is still possible- as he showed when he changed his background to a beach scene!
Pete noted that there had been some really positive effects of virtual working- as the organisation has come together, workings silo’s have come down. The fraud protection campaign had been produced in 48 hours. The need to work virtually had highlighted the art of the possible and would fundamentally change the way businesses work permanently
Was the decision to cancel Cannes the right one?
The question of Cannes came up – with the announcement having gone out in the morning that the festival and awards were to be postponed until 2020 – with general agreement that cancelling was not only the right decision, but an opportunity for the festival to reflect on the tonal changes taking place and reinvent itself and its own purpose.
Some great questions from the audience around channel selection, tactical acvitity vs brand comms, what the lightbulb moment has been for both brand and agency and what has been most challenging and most liberating.
A final question asked how everyone was staying sane. For Pete, old fashioned pleasures featured heavily including a rediscovery of some much loved board games.
Our next coffee morning will be on Thursday 9th April at 11.30. We will be talking with Jeremy Connell-Waite, Chief Sustainability Officer, IBM and Jackie Stephenson, Founding Partner, The Brooklyn Brothers.
You may also be interested to know:
The Oystercatchers Coffee Mornings are part of the XEIM group’s series, The Lowdown, regular broadcasts from thought leaders in marketing and beyond on how to address the challenges presented by the COVID 19 pandemic. Below you'll find a selection of other webinars and podcasts you can watch and listen to:
To celebrate the launch of the platform, Marketing Week's columnist Mark Ritson discussed the impact of the coronavirus on marketing. In this webinar, Mark looked at the brands that have adapted well, and those that have not. He provides practical advice on how to handle the challenges and the opportunities to make an impact.
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