Brands, coronavirus and the new normal



To help our brand community navigate these uncertain and often confusing times, we’ve decided to compile a series of FAQs offering our insight into the industry and the impact of coronavirus. With the state of play changing daily, we’ll be updating these articles as we go. But for now, we hope they offer a beacon of reason and informed opinion about the situation we find ourselves looking to acclimatise to.

Head here for our article for agencies, and here if you just want to know more about how you can adjust to working from home. And we mightn’t be in the office, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less of a community. If you want to get in touch with us, just give us a call. Whether it’s about this, or anything else.

What’s happening to agency reviews?

Right now, it’s business as usual. We can say that without a smidgen of stiff upper lip, keep calm and carry on mentality! You might have seen a couple of reviews we’re working on in the press recently, and it’s been reassuring to see business carrying on. Yes, there have been a lot more video conferences but we’re lucky to arguably be better prepared than ever before.Whilst there’s been an instance of one postponement, this review was related to another major event that has had to move given the current climate so it makes complete sense.

So far, it’s been a case of adaptation rather than anything more drastic. 

Inevitably business priorities are changing as rapidly as the news. But our observation is that people are still trying to maintain a level of consistency and business as usual as far as is possible. We’re seeing new client activity coming in over the past two weeks, and we’re able to support brands in adapting their ways of working in order to meet current agency requirements and deadlines.

Do I need to postpone my review?

We don’t recommend it. Business needs to continue, and we’re well equipped to get through the coming weeks and months. Meetings are still happening when they can. But we recommend you think about what needs to adjust. Whether it’s adjusting timeframes or simply accepting that the majority of the process will be conducted via video calls, or through our project tool. Bear in mind that people and businesses everywhere are still finding their feet.

We have extensive experience of helping global brands with international teams in this way already, such as Guinness on a recent global digital review, all facilitated through technology. It is fast becoming normal for clients to run entire pitches by video conference.

How can I stay connected to the industry?

Disconnect is a big shock to the system. With isolation and lockdown in effect, it can feel frightening to think your world will be the same four walls for the foreseeable. But it needn’t be. Our industry is always encouraged to be more outward looking and now is the time when this feels more necessary than ever. Our BITE team is dedicated to bringing the usual insights and trends to you, ensuring your curiosity doesn’t go into isolation as well.

What we’ve always said is that the platform was built to bring the industry online, and do away with what we saw were a lot of inefficiencies. So we see it as something that can hopefully keep business running and mean everything you could get to in person, is still within reach online. We’ve seen a lot of platform demos booked in the last week and we hope that’s indicative of the hunger out there to keep things going. 

How are other brands responding?

Good question, and you can explore what our BITE team has to report on that here. Read about the positive reactions brands such as BrewDog, the BBC and The Dots are having. As for agency reviews, like we said, they’re continuing to happen. Whilst others are keen to take this time to reflect and focus on their longer-term strategic planning, whilst the short-term may be on hold. This means using this time to focus on teams; to build stronger marketing capability and excellence.

I’m looking for a silver lining

Until the guidelines from the NHS change, we won’t be able to work how we used to. So we encourage you to embrace this new frontier. This is the biggest test remote working is likely to have in our lifetime, so push yourself and how you work to be different. There are many new challenges, but working virtually is something that could even prove better than the norm at the end of all this.

Look longer-term and in a time when we’re all keeping our (literal) distance, the irony is we must strive even more so to create a sense of community and stay connected. The platform is intended to help you do this, and we truly believe that during this time it can be a hub for inspiration and collaboration.

I’m struggling to work from home - what do I do?

First of all, it’s normal to. Whether you’re a regular home worker, or not, these are unique times. So we’ve asked the people behind Creativebrief to offer their insight into what’s helped them so far. From family FaceTime, to viewing parties, to Joe Wicks, to Animal Crossing. Just remember that no one is hitting the ground running - we’re all adapting.

What if I have more questions?

Whether it’s about business or something else, just drop us a line. Call 020 7478 8200 and you’ll get team assistant Lucy Young’s mobile. From there she’ll put you in touch with a member of our team.