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Marketing Webinar

April 29, 2020

Dear valued members,

Thank you to all who attended the ABG’s first virtual webinar on ‘Agile-Long Termism Through the Covid Crisis: How Marketing Can Help, Not Hinder’. I was delighted that we could come together online, while nationally and internationally apart, and we will continue to maintain close communication with you as long as the crisis lasts.

I introduced and closed the session, outlining how the ABG – in its core position of advocating responsible advertising and communication – is keen to promote best practice during the COVID-19 crisis. The group has an important role to play as the advertising industry, as one, navigates these uncharted waters with no navigation aides.

In between, we heard from two excellent speakers, Dan Southern, Strategy Director at Contagious, and Alex Brunori, Creative Impact Lead MENA at Google, and I’m very grateful for the time they spent researching and delivering their presentations. They complemented each other perfectly and gave members valuable insights and advice for their marketing strategies.

Dan reminded us how it was only 44 days ago we were all talking about Burger King’s Mouldy Whopper campaign. How times change. Now 3.9 billion people, around half the world’s population, are on lockdown. Economically, the challenges can’t be ignored; 90% of marketing budgets have been delayed or under review and around three-quarters of media buyers, planners and brands believe coronavirus will have a bigger impact on advertising than the 2008 financial crisis. But he stressed the importance of preparation not hibernation. Through the three A’s – Advise, Assist and Alleviate – brands can keep themselves in the public eye, and remember strong brands recovered nine times faster following the 2008 recession.

Alex began by highlighting how we are rearranging priorities and needs, and we are now in the third stage – ‘adapting’ – ahead of the ‘New Normal’ phase. Emotional responses are rising, especially in KSA, and brands must ‘reorganize passion points and redefine personas’. The majority of consumers want their brands to be ‘helpful, reassuring and informed’. Ads should be mindful of others, show authentic characters and stories, connect with local communities, and foster interaction and ‘betweenness’.

None of us have all the answers. We must show empathy and common sense in our communication and campaigns and draw on our years of experience. Stay humble and grateful for what we have, and what we have achieved, no matter the challenges we must face. Truly we are #inthistogether.

Agile-Long Termism Through the Covid Crisis