26/02/2021No Comments

What’s in your briefs?

Whether you’re a copywriter or an account manager. An MD or an intern. You’ll probably find something similar in your briefs. The little box that says something like:

What is the single most important thing we have to say?

The answer is usually short. A sentence, maybe two.

It’s where creatives get their ideas and how clients measure the work.

Because this Cadbury’s ad might not have made sense on paper, but everyone gets how effortlessly enjoyable eating their chocolate must be.

This Sony Bravia ad might have been a bureaucratic nightmare, but you can imagine the visual experience you’ll get from their TVs.

And this Apple ad might have used actual skinheads, but you can’t help but think maybe a computer is an antidote to dystopia.

Because the ad works as long as the audience gets the message.

So, while this John West ad might be a little silly, you get that they’ll go to great lengths for good salmon.

This Honda ad might have taken ages to pull off, but you can’t miss how well the components of their cars work together.

And this Levi’s ad might be a bit steamy, but you come away knowing that a pair of Levi’s jeans is all you need.

The audience gets the message because the message is clear.

So, these ads might make John Smith’s seem a little rough around the edges, but that’s what they want from their customers, too.

And the message behind this Cravendale ad might be almost identical to the John West one, but at least they filled in the little box in the briefing document.

And these ads for Aldi also advertise their competition, but you know that the only difference is the price.

The message is clear because the client knows what they want to say.


In some famous instances, clients turned their noses up at these ideas. They were too different or too lateral or too, dare I say it, “creative”. But when you weigh them against the brief, there’s no denying these ads do what they’re supposed to – say what the client wants to say.

At TMW Business, where I work, we’re pretty good at finding out what our clients want to say. Then coming up with the best, simplest, most creative way of saying it. From that little box that’s in the brief to the work that ends up on paper or a screen.


Want to talk about briefs and how to fill them? Send me an email at tomr@tmwunlimited.com. I like coming at things from creative angles and don’t mind receiving constructive feedback.

01/02/2021No Comments

Brands play god

What makes a hero? And what makes a god?

Sometimes, Greek and Roman plays got stuck. Characters killed too many other characters, and relationships meandered along. Before long, the writer was up against the end without a way to tie it all together.

And the get out of jail card? An actor dressed up as a god and descended on some wires to solve everything.

You might have heard of it. It’s called deus ex machina – god from the machine.

And it’s infuriating.

That’s according to Aristotle, as well as just about anybody who’s ever watched or read a story unfold. There’s nothing more frustrating than weaving through a complicated plot, only to have it cop out with a big sweeping solution to all the characters’ problems.

But it doesn’t happen because writers are stupid. It happens because weaving a beautiful, well-wrought story that culminates in a tied-up ending is hard.

So, where else does someone or something sweep away all the problems in a story? In copy.

There’s so much talk of storytelling in marketing. Of the brand as the hero.

What makes a product or brand a hero? And what makes it an annoying, white-bearded actor dangling on wires?

When a hero solves something, it happens progressively.

In a screenplay, the trials and tribulations happen in act two – and act two is twice as long as the other acts. It doesn’t come out of the blue.

As Aristotle puts it, in the best stories “events do not seem to be mere accidents.” They “follow each other probably or inevitably.”

What does it mean? First, ‘storytelling’ is much easier said than done. Second, we seem to want more logic in our stories – brand or otherwise – than we get in life.

Speak to us about Storytelling today >

01/02/2021No Comments

Think tech marketing. Think human touch.

Human to human. It’s the best way to communicate. Even when what you’re talking about is cold, hard tech.

Take the project we undertook for Fujitsu UK.

When the global giant needed to spread the word about its range of laptops, we gave technology a face – and a voice – to strengthen its appeal to the (very human) audience.

The work went down so well, it achieved 300 leads and a ROMI of 10:1. It also won first prize at the WPI Impact Awards.

In the words of our client at Fujitsu;

“This campaign might have been charming, but it packed the punch we needed to get results.”

The fact is, human understanding underpins our whole approach as a business. Both in how we treat each other and how we deliver client work.

At our Human Understanding Lab, our neuroscientists, research practitioners, trends analysts and data scientists work hard to put people at the heart of everything we do.

Learn more about this project here, or visit this page to find out more about our Human Understanding Lab.

06/01/2021No Comments

On the minds of B2B agencies – globally

I was delighted and honoured to be asked by John Harris, President & CEO of Worldwide Partners to moderate a panel discussion at our bi-annual Partner Summit.

For those of you who don’t already know, Worldwide partners is our network of over 70 independent agencies operating in 40 countries. This year our Partner Summit was completely virtual – a challenge deftly handled by a talented tech team and delegates from our member agencies who love to collaborate, share and learn together.

We called out to our partners to name the topics that were pertinent to them right now, with what is going on in the world. We heard about elections, Brexit, COVID testing and the lack of international travel – but we also got some ideas for B2B marketing topics to discuss together too.

I thought it might make an interesting snapshot blog if I recount to you the topics on the minds of our member agencies across the globe.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation seems to have taken over as the buzz term of the day – year even. Second only to dreaded COVID-19 and in part, fuelled by it.

There’s transformation in the way we go to market, serve customers, engage prospects and I think every marketer feels they’re on that journey. Some have been for a while and some have been forced to digitally transform because their physical world just got a shake-up.

The other side for us in B2B and specifically at TMW Business is the way businesses operate. As an IT & Tech agency, we see almost all our tech clients aligning their corporate narratives to digital transformation because quite frankly it’s gone from a trend to imperative.

"One does not become transformed."

The discussion panel talked about the ‘fluffiness’ of the trend and how everything from WFH tech to app development, cloud migration, automation and live-chat has been heralded as digital transformation.

We talked about how digital transformation is not a destination “one does not become transformed.” Transformation is a process, a journey and potentially one that will be ongoing rather than ever finally complete.

Events: from physical to virtual

How could we avoid the follow-on topic of events: now there’s an industry that has been forced to digitally transform if ever I saw one!

When the world as we knew it shut down, events got cancelled and everyone flocked to create digital events. Marketers the world over punctuate their calendars with trade shows, seminars, conferences and show & tell events. But it seems like there’s a bit of digital event fatigue setting in. The hype and intrigue have faded and people are getting more and more virtual event invites. How do we keep it fresh and drive better engagement?

The conversation took us to the topic of personalisation. Core to the idea of event attendance is relevance. You’re only going to sign up if the content, speakers and engagement opportunity are highly relevant. And when delivering an “event” at scale, that calls for personalisation.

"It was fun to be nostalgic as we sat – looking at a screen full of faces looking at screens."

We also touched on the notion that some physical interactions are best not replicated in the digital world. Some experiences call for AR and VR to support that hands-on experience, a rich and immersive way to engage in products, demos, samples etc.

On the other hand, we talked about a yearning for a return to the analogue - how some of the more traditional engagements like good old-fashioned phone calls, socially-distanced sales meetings, site visits and face-to-face charm. It might be a while until that is possible again, but it was fun to be nostalgic as we sat – looking at a screen full of faces, looking at screens.

Account Based Marketing

A beautiful segue from the personalisation topic took us to the next: Account Based Marketing.

In the B2B world, we’ve been talking and talking about ABM for years now. The darling of B2B marketing, everyone’s talking about it and it is certainly the fashionable thing to be doing. But we joked about every marketing campaign now coming under the banner of ABM. The slightest sniff of targeting, personalisation or insight makes a campaign ABM it would seem!

"Adopting the principles of ABM – even at scale, is certainly better than the more traditional ‘spray-and-pray’ marketing campaigns that happen otherwise."

Laughable maybe, but adopting the principles of ABM – even at scale, is certainly better than the more traditional ‘spray-and-pray’ marketing campaigns that happen otherwise.

We acknowledged that few companies are willing to ‘put all their eggs in one basket’ and adopt strategic ABM where the focus would be on just one of few ‘big bets.’ Instead, more are opting to spread the risk in something more like ‘ABM-lite’ where clustering like-minded, like-challenged or just alike organisations together brings economies of scale. This means they can be targeted in a semi-personalised way for deeper relevance, smaller target audiences and better engagement.

The MarTech stack

Our final topic of the day was that of marketing automation, CRM and all things marketing technology.

Many brands have spent hundreds of thousands on their tech stack to get better at capturing attention, converting leads and driving customer engagement, but is it working? ‘Using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut’ comes to mind - in this case, is using a very sophisticated and expensive tool to do something simple and somewhat rudimentary.

“Using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut” comes to mind

We discussed the inhibitors to getting better ‘bang-for-buck’ when it comes to tech investment.

Data was the biggest barrier: the availability of it, the format and usability of it as well as the compliance of it. Data is one of the requirements for these marketing tech solutions to function. You can’t automate marketing that you don’t have. Some organisations have spent years capturing, holding and sorting data to enable them to get closer to their customers and prospects. They’re the ones that’ll be able to actually do the exciting things the martech vendors sold: propensity modelling, predictive lead scoring, behavioural actions, intent monitoring, proper attribution - and the rest!

AI was brought to the table as the next wave of martech investment. Lots of platforms are injecting AI capability into their tools: ways to make smart decisions, faster and at scale. From the successes we shared, it’s clear automation and AI are here right now. Hopefully they’re not eyeing up our human-occupied marketing roles just yet though!


All-in-all the panel discussion whipped past in the blink of an eye, each of the topics deserving of more time and focus.

It was interesting and cathartic to hear of similar experiences from our agency partners in countries as distant as Malaysia and Mexico and hear about their work, projects and successes.

It’s a small world after all.

If you want to talk more about any of these topics, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

08/12/2020No Comments

Just a pre-pandemic campaign living in a post-pandemic world

It was March 2020, and we were getting ready to pull the trigger on a social media campaign for Domo.

Our target?

The casual dining industry.

Domo wasn’t the only client to put its marketing plans on hold when COVID-19 hit. And we weren’t the only agency affected.

Coca-Cola GB suspended all marketing in March.

Almost 55% of marketers postponed or at least reviewed their ad campaigns.

And, with nothing to replace it, the same sun-bleached poster for The Invisible Man has stayed on the sides of buses for close to a calendar year.

When the country went into lockdown and restaurants closed for the summer, our audience found new challenges to address. And while our client understandably took some time to reassess where it was spending its money, we tucked our campaign away for another day.

That day came in July, when restaurants reopened and Domo decided that, yes, it wanted to go ahead with the campaign. In fact, with restauranteurs looking for answers about their futures, there was no better time for Domo to offer its data-driven assistance.

We had to move fast, reinterpreting a familiar message for an audience facing unfamiliar circumstances. But in just a few weeks, we delivered a new spin on the Domo casual dining social campaign, helping restaurant owners answer the questions that really matter to their businesses.

Oh, and around the same time, at the end of July, Coca-Cola resumed its own UK marketing.


Here are a few examples of the work:

05/11/2020No Comments

Cool tools: 5 con-tech gems to boost your content creation

The art of content writing is as old as the marketing industry itself. For the modern content professional, the tools of the trade haven’t changed much over the years; an eye for a good story, a keen ear to explore and filter multiple sources and, of course, a dab hand to scribe it all in fluid prose.

What has changed, however, are the software tools a content writer has at their disposal to lighten the workload.

Leveraging the power and utility of these tools can bring massive improvements right across your content process flow – from ideation and research through to writing and quality control.

Here are some of the tools I use on a daily basis.


OtterAI

What is it?

Remember the days of transcription services? You had to record an interview, get a (sometimes eye-watering) quote, send the recording and await the transcript. Luckily, we’ve evolved from the analogue era and that entire process is now easier, faster and much cheaper.

With OtterAI, you simply press record at the start of your web conference call and let the software do the work. After a short processing period, you can access a full transcript of the call with the ability to scroll through the text and listen back to any words or sections you want.

How do I use it?

Personally, I use it for everything – team calls, client meetings, expert interviews (remember to let them know you’re recording!) It allows me to easily collect actions and insights. Far more reliable than trawling back through near-illegible scrawls of handwriting.

How much does it cost?

OtterAI offers a freemium service. Basic recording and transcribing is free, but for advanced capabilities it’s $9.99 per month (around £7.60).


Buzzsumo

What is it?

There’s a lot of content out there on the wild web. Type any industry buzzword or phrase into your search engine, and you’ll be greeted with a stream of links with varying degrees of relevance. Wouldn’t it be great if you could zero in on the content people are actually consuming? Well you can; Buzzsumo lets you conduct advanced content analysis to gain a comprehensive picture of the content that already exists in the niche you're researching (including what your competitors are putting out there). It also shows you what’s actually being shared by real people across digital and social channels.

How do I use it?

Finding out what content has been most widely shared is one valuable aspect, but Buzzsumo can do so much more. Building it into your content development processes will help you investigate topics and spot holes in the existing content on offer. So, you can keep your angles sharp and stop yourself from falling into the trap of ‘me too’ content.

How much does it cost?

The service has multiple packages based on your company’s level of usage. It's best to contact them directly to find out which option will suit you the most.


Grammarly

What is it?

Even seasoned content professionals make errors hear and their (😉). To save yourself from being redfaced when the client picks out a glaring typo in your headline, you can use Grammarly to keep you right.

How do I use it?

You can plug Grammarly into your web browser, desktop publishing tools and mobile device. So it'll be active wherever you are.

How much does it cost?

$29.95 per month (around £23), with savings for multi-month subscriptions.


Canva

What is it?

As a writer, it’s easy to feel intimidated by anything involving graphic design. Professional design platforms alone can be daunting and hard for a novice to navigate. Fortunately, Canva has abstracted the process so that us mere content-writing mortals can ascend to master the visual arts.

Whether seeking an image for a blog post, infographic or social media, Canva lets you create high-quality images without bothering your design team.

How do I use it?

It’s simple. Either select your basic image from the Canva library or else upload your own. From there you can add filters and text to match your needs and add some colour to your content.

How much does it cost?

$9.95 (around £7.65) per month when paid annually, or else $12.95 when paid monthly.


Trello

What is it?

No content writer is an island. Collaboration is a key part of the job and it’s not always easy to stay on the same page. Trello fixes this by creating a virtual post-it board where people can add tasks, mark the level of priority and update on the status.

How do I use it?

Create a board, get the members of your content team to register and start collaborating. The tool can be used as an editorial calendar to keep your content flowing.

How much does it cost?

The basic package is free. However, they also have enterprise packages for heavy users.


Have we missed any cool tools? Let us know your favourites in the comments below...

29/10/2020No Comments

Two sides of the same coin

It’s perhaps not surprising that business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) marketing are usually seen as separate disciplines. After all, that’s the way agencies have often promoted them, with each requiring specialist knowledge.

But separating the two too distinctly, risks overlooking the overlaps and synergies that are there if you dig a little deeper.

Consumer and business marketing have always been two sides of the same coin and there are things each can learn from the other.

Whether it’s understanding your audience, the essential importance of creativity or having expertise across touchpoints and platforms, effective marketing always requires the same fundamental principles, regardless of who you are targeting.

The stereotypes that aim to oversimplify either side – whether it’s downplaying the creativity required for B2B or marking B2C as unsophisticated or frivolous – have never rung less true.

Nevertheless, different client aims and focusses lead to different developments and innovations; by only focussing on one specialism these can be easy to ignore.

At TMW, we offer clients the best of both worlds, with a truly integrated offering with collaboration between specialists at its heart. In that spirit, we put our heads together across TMW and TMW Business to offer up some key examples.


What B2B can learn from B2C

Understand the human

At TMW, we believe that the key to effective marketing is a deep understanding of human decision-making and behaviour. This means creating communications that understand emotion and motivation, and drive action. This doesn’t change regardless of whether you are trying to persuade an FMCG consumer or a decision-maker within a business.

B2B marketing often gets caught up in job titles and functional roles, but appreciating the person holding them is the way to develop an approach that delivers real empathy and engagement. People at work are humans too, and they require real human insight.

Fortune favours the brave

There is often a perception that B2B marketing plays it safe; preferring to err on the side of caution and taking the road that’s well travelled. This doesn’t need to be the case; the corporate side should still be encouraging clients to experiment with new channels and bolder, more creative messaging.

Taking a breath and trying something new will pay off for brands feeling more confident than their peers, just as it does in consumer comms.

Building for the long term

B2B often values one thing more than anything else: leads. Getting customers fit and ready for a conversation with sales teams is critical to marketing teams in the discipline. However, these rely on shorter-term tactical projects.

B2B marketers also need to ensure that they are building a brand to deliver long-term sales growth. Put simply, a company that has a brand that is recognised and understood is in a much stronger position to generate leads than an organisation that doesn’t. Building such a brand requires longer-term strategic and emotive thinking, but all of the evidence suggests that it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Harnessing the power of influencers

One of the biggest changes in the industry in recent years has been the rise of influencers. However, the effectiveness of using the right influencers for a brand is still occasionally undervalued. This is true in B2C circles, but more so when it comes to B2B.

According to a recent neuroscientific study, influencer ads outperform even TV ads in the key metrics of memory encoding and emotional intensity; being 87% more effective in the former and a whopping 277% more effective in the latter.

Moreover, the evidence shows that you don’t need to rely on a mega-celebrity in the mould of Kylie Jenner to have this impact. In fact, research shows that using niche influencers, defined by specialism rather than audience size, is more impactful than using those with very large audiences.

The types of influencers will differ, as will the channel mix, but there is no doubt there are opportunities for clients in both marketing disciplines.


What B2C can learn from B2B

Going smaller to go bigger

In B2C, suggesting you spend your entire budget marketing to talk to just a small handful of your customers might seem a very bold strategy indeed. In B2B, it’s becoming a far more appetising option for brands in the form of account-based marketing (ABM).

Paying close attention to your most loyal and valuable customers, providing them with highly personalised VIP treatment could home-grow you a vocal advocate, create an influencer, or make a profitable segment even more so.

Measuring sanity, not vanity

We all love seeing the number of likes and comments on a post tick up and up. But there’s a reason they’re not captured in the end-of-quarter financial reports. Marketing now more than ever must prove its worth, and that requires making the link between budget and revenue as clear as possible. And that means working with clients to form robust measurements of the value of all of your marketing output.

Whether you’re trying to directly push to purchase or perform a less tangible (but still vital) brand-building role, everything has to be building towards a bigger picture.

Looking at the performance metrics of your campaigns to understand which are the ones that are ultimately influencing the balance sheet is a sound step in getting marketing seen as it should be: an asset, not a cost.

Add meaningful value

Being relevant and aspirational is one thing. Being useful is quite another.

In B2B, education and knowledge sharing are vital ways to not only support potential customers, but also introduce products in a softer more compelling way. If they remember finding out something genuinely new and practical from you, they’re more inclined to remember what you’re selling as well.

Creating content that not only engages but informs and adds benefits to the recipient is a sure-fire way to add value to comms, whether it’s aimed at a business or a consumer.

Reaching out to wider purchase influencers

One of the biggest challenges in B2B is the fact that multiple heads get a say in any purchases. This is less so of an issue in B2C where the customer and consumer are more likely to be the same individual. However, this is not always the case. On consumer purchase items that require more deliberation – for example a house, a car or (if you’re lucky) a puppy – there are often multiple decision makers in the buying process.

Having messaging that speak to everyone’s needs and behavioural triggers will help them collectively agree to choose a brand over a competitor.


This is just the beginning of a great relationship between TMW and TMW Business.

We’re looking forward to working closely together, sharing what we know and love, and bridging the gap between B2C and B2B to make sure all of our clients get the best of both.

15/10/2020Comments are off for this post.

Context: as malleable as your message

There weren't many remote-control car racing games on the PlayStation 2 system. Probably because making a digital simulation of a real-life simulation is a daft concept. But there were a handful, and they were all naff.

Only one of them has stuck with me nearly a couple of decades later.

Not for the game itself - I never bought it and its name escapes me. Its legacy hasn’t been worthy enough to record in any Googleable detail. But it was promoted in a move I frequently reflect on in my career as a marketer.

In the early naughties, in the time before ubiquitous broadband access, I read magazines of a single genre – gaming. In the final boom era of print publishing, as a screen-dwelling early teen I would spend a wedge of my meagre pocket money budget on monthly glossy titles with a demo disk Sellotaped to the cover. I read these feverishly; eager to find out what new and exciting electronic entertainment I’d be badgering my parents to buy me in the near future.

Nestled in the back pages of one of these issues was a single-page review for a low budget RC racing game for the PS2. The evaluation it received was tepid at best. The final awarded score was countable on a single hand out of ten. Along with this number, was a final by-line from the author worded along the lines of;

“It’s the best RC racer on the system… but sadly this isn’t saying much.”

Ouch. A low budget title dammed and destined to be forgotten from the start. Something to be unconsidered, overlooked in favour of almost anything else. Which is exactly what I did at the time.

Until I read the next month’s issue.

Flicking through the pages, I came across a full-page advert for the very same RC racing game. On it featured a quote pilfered from the same review I’d read only weeks before;

“…the best RC racer on the system…”.

The promoter had carefully neglected to complete the quote.

The statement they presented was true; the quoted reviewer did indeed say those words. Now, the context it was in had totally changed. So had its meaning. What was originally a discouraging review was now independent customer validation.

Cheeky? Undoubtedly. Misleading? Possibly. Inspiring? Definitely.

As marketers, we are constrained by the hand of cards we are dealt. Not every product we sell is ground-breaking. Not every brand we represent is innovative and compelling. Not every budget we spend has the luxury of being seven figures. We play what we have at our disposal, trying to gain the little advantages that hopefully grow into big ones.

Someone faced the prospect of promoting a low-quality game, receiving low review scores with, we can assume, a low budget. Just by changing the context of what they had available, they turned an odds-against situation an (albeit small) advantage. It didn’t result in a best-selling video game, though it might have been enough to convince a few unaware kids and their parents to buy it. Something they certainly wouldn’t have done if they saw the quote in its original context.

Now, I’m not advocating the incredibly dubious, not to mention legally grey, practice of “contextomy” – the act of quoting out of context. Even I wouldn’t have the gall to turn "hysterically overproduced and surprisingly entertaining" into "hysterically… entertaining” as the advertisers behind Live Free or Die Hard did.

What I will say instead is that if can’t alter what we have, what we do and where we do needs to change instead. If changing what we’re selling is not an option, we need to change the world it fits into. Context maybe king, but it is possible to mould it to your needs, (especially if you bend the rules a bit).

As an aside, I will note you didn’t see any review quotes on London buses promoting Cats…

02/09/2020No Comments

Just listen to yourself

How are you getting on?

Personally, I thrive in an empty house without any external stimulus. Gives me plenty of time to get real introspective. Nothing to do except talk to myself and dwell on exactly how I talk to myself. My tone of voice and the influences on it. What I say, how I say it, who I’m saying it to…

And what they think I sound like, not what I think they think I sound like.

Because I’d say I’m casual, like an Oasis campaign.

But my mum might say I’m open, like the famous Avis promise.

My boss would say I’m irreverent, like these ads for Visa.

And my ex-girlfriend would say why aren’t you taking this seriously, Tom?

It depends on what I’m saying.

I think I’m friendly, like a trendy oat drink.

And my mum would say I’m compassionate, like the packaging for Give-A-Care gifts.

But my boss would say I’m familiar, like those HSBC ads.

And my ex-girlfriend would say you told me you and Sam were just colleagues.

It depends on how I’m saying it.

I try to be enthusiastic, like these stories from Jack Daniels.

My mum would say I’m ambitious, like a Harley Davidson ad.

My boss would say I’m a tryhard, like some posters Musicbed ran.

And my ex-girlfriend would say not tonight, I have a headache.

It depends on who I’m talking to.

I’m pretty confident, like this ad for Snowbird Ski Resort.

My mum would say I’m bold, like these ads for the Guardian.

My boss would say I’m cocky, like anything Diesel puts out.

My ex-girlfriend would say I’m a cock.

A brand’s tone of voice is subjective, is the point.

You might not like some of them. You might not choose them for your own marketing. But just look at the great ads that brands have created with a clear tone of voice. With the help of agencies that knew how to interpret a set of guidelines – and make tone of voice work for the message, the medium, and the audience.

At TMW Business, we work within your tone of voice guidelines to do just that. Sometimes, we’ll suggest ways we could push them. Once or twice, we might even help you reconsider them. But we’re always looking for the best way for your brand to talk to your audience.

Want to talk about tone of voice? Drop me an email at tomr@tmwunlimited.com.

I promise to be casual, friendly, enthusiastic, and confident.

29/07/2020Comments are off for this post.

What’s your brand exit strategy?

There's a term I came across in the constant daily deluge of coronavirus news; exit strategy.

In pandemic context, this is the plan being developed and deployed to get us to the end of it. You’re already seeing this in action; from social distancing that ‘flattens the curve’ to the frantic search for a vaccine.

These critical activities have a single clear objective; get back to normal as soon as is safely possible. The question is, once we’re at the point we can return and pick up where we left off – what is this ‘new’ normal going to look like? Moreover, how can brands and marketers help shape it?

In the short to medium term at least, we’re living in world where “fear, uncertainty, doubt” are the steady background noise of reality. And not overplayed clichés in creative briefs. We’re already seeing brands adapting to the challenges that have been thrown at them. There have been some stunning examples of ingenuity, creativity and altruism on display - becoming some of the glue that holds us all together while we’re in isolation.

But these are the product of a time where there is no tried-and-trusted rule book to refer to. So, we’ve responded by pivoting. We’ve changed course; reprioritised the long run in favour of putting our energies into the short term. However, the pivot back many not be as simple as we might hope. Not only will we need to awaken and rebuild from a long hiatus, but the normal we yearn to return to might not be the one we actually see.

While brands and businesses should be focusing their attention on the present situation, they should also be giving some attention to what comes next. They need to be defining their own pandemic exit strategies to get back to the comfort of stability. Whatever that may be.

In the back of their minds, they should be asking and answering questions like;

  • How will we reengage the audience whose relationship with us has rapidly shifted and changed over this period?
  • How do we move back without losing what we’ve spent quarantine developing? 
  • How do we go back to generating business at a time that’s liable to be highly competitive and loud?
  • How do we retain the goodwill we’ve developed, or manage any negative publicity we’ve created?
  • How can we be ready to prepare for another massive shift in customer behaviour?

What the world is going to be like post-pandemic is almost as uncertain as the situation right now, but this time, we know that it’s coming. Therefore, we can be ready for it.

Let’s face it, we were all unprepared for coronavirus. That’s why we’re scrambling around trying to deal with it now. For brands, this time is an opportunity to carefully and considerately plan ahead an exit strategy that returns them to a normal. One that’s hopefully better than the one we left.

So, what is your brand exit strategy on getting back to normal after this all ends?

If you need a hand working it out, drop me a message.

Stay safe, see you on the other side.