Digital Marketing

How Brands Are Getting Creative During COVID-19

May 21, 2020 4 min read
brands getting creative during COVID-19

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How Brands Are Getting Creative During COVID-19

Reading Time: 4 minutes

As the COVID 19 pandemic offers humanity with unprecedented challenges, companies around the world find ways to cope and adapt to the “new normal” i.e. working from home. Since most countries are in lockdown and people are practicing social distancing – many businesses find it difficult to function under these circumstances. As a result, brands are getting creative during COVID-19.

For instance, brands cannot create new content because production shoots are on hold.  They are coping by looking for a cost-effective solution that gets them high-quality ads. Many brands have started repurposing stock assets and employing “influencers” as content creators.

Repurposing The B-Roll

Most of the big advertisers in the industry have an accumulation of highly-produced creative assets that were never brought to the market. Hence one of the ways through which brands are getting creative during COVID-19 is by repurposing such tapes and stock images to create something that is sensitive to the pandemic. Many of them are racing the process by using creative automation tools. 

Pfizer, one of the biggest pharmaceutical giants in the world,  turned to animation to create a campaign featuring tips and best practices. They adapted it for markets around the world using VidMob. The CDC worked with the platform on a PSA campaign that utilized stock imagery and raised more than $6 million in donations on Facebook. 

Using animation to create new content is a great option when there is a lack of in-person production. Brands are using animation and leaning on high-end, post-production help to create something that works effectively in the current scenario. 

Another great option is to utilize user-generated content. The security company ADT’s production shoot for a product launch promo got canceled in early March. As a result, they took user-generated content from social media users about how they are adjusting to life at home. The brand created a message within a week and it fit the tone of the moment perfectly. 

Social Media Influence

The use of social media is up by 83% since mid-March of 2020. Brands are eager to take advantage of the increase in social media consumption as consumers sit at home during the lockdown. As a result, they are turning to influencers, who are experts at creating eye-catching social media content, as independent content producers. 

Influencer agencies are pinning their clients with the talent they have had good experiences with in the past. These influencers help brands in developing content that can exist in their own social feeds. They either create new images or do post-production tasks on assets they already have. Just like creative automation platforms, influencers can turn around content fast and put a fresh spin on older assets.

Travel and hospitality brands have paused ad spend and are leaning into the latter. On the other hand, alcohol and spirits brands are doing more original branded content.

Going Live

Influencer marketing is becoming less polished, which seems more genuine when homebound influencers take the option of live streaming to connect with their audiences. Since brands are getting creative during COVID-19, they are blending into those conversations as consumers grow more hungry for entertainment.

Clients are sponsoring influencer’s live videos, from home workout routines to cooking demos. All they need is about 20 seconds of that video – which is an easy and underutilized way of getting involved. 

During the third week of March 2020, Chipotle hosted a celebrity hangout on Zoom, where approximately three thousand fans were able to virtually chat with influencers and celebrity guests. Many brands are letting celebrities take over their social media handles for a day that brings a boost in their following and web traffic. 

Post-Pandemic Scenes

The main question of the hour remains – Is there any going back now? Since brands are leaning into faster and cheaper production, they might not return to the old ways of doing things post-pandemic.

Many will be fighting with the financial fallout of the virus and will be in dire need of more cost-effective creative. In fact, brands can sometimes save up to hundreds and thousands of dollars when working with influencers as compared with traditional creative agencies.

Influencer CPMs are higher than paid social ads, but the content they produce often performs much better. Emerging platforms such as TikTok offer competitive CPMs for tier-one influencers. And as for creative automation platforms, the production costs are zero. The cost is more focussed on post-production, which means brands can bundle up on savings in this case. 

Creative agencies are still charging thousands of dollars for 12-month research, strategy, as well as production processes. Plus, they are not set up to work remotely the way influencers and independent contractors can. Trends are changing so rapidly, the industry can no longer be guilty of “over-engineering” what they do. 

FAQs

1. How are brands coping with COVID-19?

As the COVID 19 pandemic offers humanity with unprecedented challenges, companies around the world find ways to cope and adapt to the “new normal” i.e. working from home.

2. With countries on lockdown, how are brands creating new content?

Brands cannot create new content because production shoots are on hold. They are coping by looking for a cost-effective solution that gets them high-quality ads. Many brands have started repurposing stock assets and employing “influencers” as content creators.

3. How is social media helping brands in getting creative?

Brands are eager to take advantage of the increase in social media consumption as consumers sit at home during the lockdown. As a result, they are turning to influencers, who are experts at creating eye-catching social media content, as independent content producers.

4. What does the post-pandemic scene look like?

Since brands are leaning into faster and cheaper production, they might not return to the old ways of doing things post-pandemic. In fact, brands can sometimes save up to hundreds and thousands of dollars when working with influencers as compared with traditional creative agencies. 

Washija is a content specialist at VDO.AI. She has an MBA in Tourism and a passion for creating web content. She is an avid reader, a traveler, and a versatile writer.
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