How Covid-19 is changing the business and the industry at large, according to TNCG (The Network Communication Group)’s Client Services Director.
How has covid-19 impacted the group’s activity?
I think it goes without saying that the impact is felt the same everywhere; operational on one end, with the closing of offices, adapting to a new reality of work from home and virtual meetings; and planning on the other end, whereby we’ve had to re-plan campaigns, communication messages and stand by our clients in developing solutions that will help them overcome this reality. The activation and events team has definitely felt the lockdown enforcement the most, but [that’s also true of] the team working on your radio, print and outdoor campaigns; vice versa, we are seeing a significant increase in digital, social spend and activation, complemented with TV campaigns. Over and above client activity has also been impacted based on their industry, which in turn has driven budgets either upwards or downwards.
How have you tackled this crisis?
We stuck to what we know best and to our DNA: being solution-driven. The world hasn’t stopped and will not stop. The challenge is to focus on solutions to overcome obstacles that we are not used to. As an organization, we looked at how best to structure ourselves and to remain agile in the current situation; and for clients, it is about standing by their side and exploring new marketing well as revenue drivers for them. The data clearly shows that people are still consuming media, still buying products, and are eager to entertain themselves. It is up to us and to clients to readjust our focus and priorities in line with consumer needs and trends.
What are your projections for the coming months and more long term?
In the current volatile situation, I’ve become a medical expert on how the virus spreads and how to wash our hands; but jokes aside, our long term plans remain unchanged. We still have a rather positive outlook for the region, more specifically in the UAE and in KSA – of course, given we are back to a normal life course. There are a clear vision and business plan in the region that allow us to have some visibility on where we are heading. On the short term however, visibility lacks. There are far too many external parameters that can affect business going back to normal, so we are trying to stay as realistic as possible and take on each challenge as it comes.
How do you see the industry evolving in light of these recent developments?
I think the current developments will only accelerate the inevitable digitalization of services, heavier reliance on accurate (mobile-driven) data, better ROI calculations, and omni commerce-driven marketing solutions. These changes will be fast-tracked in implementation, and we will be seeing a more efficient usage of various touchpoints and more educated decisions being taken. All of this will help us in moving marketing communication in a more scientific direction that will still require a human experiential touch.