COVID-19 represents a humanitarian challenge that is unprecedented in recent times. Nations, economies, supply chains, workforces, relationships, sanity and spirits are being tested. Not unsurprisingly the creative minds of the marketing industry have been quick to exercise their opinion. At a time of unknowns, we are going to steer clear of opinions in this briefing and focus solely on facts, what we are working on and what our clients are telling us. In the interest of confidentially we can’t divulge some of the sources in this paper, but we would be happy to discuss some of them in more detail if you’d like to pick up the phone or as we are now all doing, let’s Zoom.
We are witnessing 5 core trends happening ‘now’ with our clients
- People and Behavioural Change
- Skills Assessment and Org Design
- Digital Transformation
- Agency Relationship
1. PEOPLE AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE
There is no doubt that people all over the world are responding in very different ways to isolation, distancing and working from home. What’s fascinating is how quickly people have slotted into remote working. We have stories of families in separate rooms scrabbling for table real estate, imaginative parental rotation, and regular get togethers to maintain motivation. At Flock we have two 5 minutes get togethers, one in the morning and one at the end of the day.
They are simple check-ins, sometimes work related, often fun. So far, we’ve had a virtual bar, plank competitions, cocktail making, crib sharing, wellbeing videos, fancy dress and online quizzes. Nobody saw this coming and we are still unable to predict how much longer it will continue. We are working with a major brand who has had a ten-tonne rhino smash through their historic ways of working. Shuffling into bland meeting rooms, sitting religiously for an hour pouring over PowerPoint have been replaced with nimble zoom sessions, starting off the hour, finishing early and no presentations. Smart dress has been replaced with relaxed home wear and every call starts and ends with a wellbeing chat. At Flock we are working on innovative ways of making the most of these sessions and aiding with keep people motivated. We are focusing on the following.
Brands and businesses are looking for strong leadership. This is not a drill, decisions need to be made (rightly or wrongly). We are impressed with one of our clients Asda whose CEO Roger Burnley has thrust his leadership into mainstream advertising and commentary.
CONSUMER LED MARKETING
We’ve been playing bingo with this phrase for years, but now is the time to be hypersensitive about what a brand can realistically offer up in these times. We have developed a number of fast track workshops to figure this out and to focus on what you should do. One area to focus on are the needs of both your workforce and your consumers. We have developed a simple template for you to fill out. It should take you 10mins to complete and could provide you focus for these uncertain times. It’s Interesting to see the response of major entertainment institutions providing solace from the isolation. Free streaming of National Theatre productions every Thursday, discount on many streaming services who have likely tapped into the needs of people who now believe home entertainment as a physiological need.
Brands have the power to help – both the public and themselves – through this crisis. This briefing is intended to share instructive examples and data to guide marketing discussions; specifically in how marketing can help, the ways it can’t, what your teams can be mobilised to do in the coming months, how to overcome production challenges and how to vaccinate your brand to emerge well and thrive on the other side.
2. SKILLS ASSESSMENT AND ORG DESIGN
Two of our clients and potential clients are taking this time to look inwards at their set up to ensure that when the virus is gone they are match fit to bridge the inevitable revenue gap. These times have also forced a way of working that in the past may have appeared too high risk, but we are sensing that clients are becoming a little braver in their options, now that they can see distant work can work.
Our skills assessment tool is built bespoke to your needs, identifying a combination of the technical & team marketing skills and marketing infrastructure (like technology and data) that you need to win in today’s and tomorrow’s competitive environment. The Tool assesses marketer’s ability to Know, Do and Teach each area of skill and also how the scores stack up against the industry average.
The information from these assessments are often used to shape different designs and as you can imagine the appetite for more agile teams that can work more self-sufficiently is a trend that we are already witnessing.
3. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Primark were one of the first brick and mortar stores to feel the pinch by not having an online delivery system when they were forced to close their doors. Other high street shops maybe struggling with delivery slots and stock availability, but they are still able to generate revenue. Interestingly we are seeing rapid change in direction of business as they use their agility to switch tack.
Leon are now helping feed the NHS, convert their restaurants into mini delis and generally trying to keep on the front foot. Flock received a call yesterday from a major brand asking to support them in their MarTech review . If you don’t know where to start, please use our simple to six step tool to aid your approach.
4. AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS
The appetite for changing agencies, evaluating their performance appears to be at a high. Brands are again taking time to reflect on how ‘everyone’ can be better. We use our Agency Appraisal as a sharp edge tool to unearth the strength and weaknesses of a relationship. We find that after the first round of appraisals, the relationship always improves. It’s because the hard evidence this tool identifies provides the base those discussions. We have uploaded a demo to allow you to see how it works or if you want to get a bit more information, this video is a good place to start.
From a pitching point of view we are not seeing the ‘distance’ get in the way of conducting these reviews. One agency lead told us, “We are still very much open for business and working on a number of pitches. It has forced us not only to ensure that our virtual account/creative teams work stronger together, but that we need to put more effort into trying to get our personality and culture across. Because we can’t conduct chemistry sessions or pitches face to face, we are investing more time in how we do them”. At Flock we believe that a strong scope is key to selecting and engaging with the right agency. Recently we ran an EMEA scoping workshop, which we would have normally done face to face. Forced to work remotely we achieved the same results in less time and certainly less time at the airport. Here’s what they had to say.
At Flock we believe a good commercial agreement should be the foundation for a successful relationship and great work. We are passionate about building positive, practical and mutual beneficial marketing relationships and as part of our commitment to clients and agencies we are offering a FREE contract review of one of your marketing services agreements.
SO… WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?
By no means do Flock have all the answers, who does? What we do know is that our values which include innovative, pragmatic, curious, collaborative and caring are driving our desire to help and aid the marketing community. Here are six tips, some of which you might already have checked off!
- Check your team are happy, motivated and still working together – even virtually
- Have a six month plan ready now – if you don’t have one sort it now
- Take this time to self-appraise and see how you can be a better marketing department in the future
- Look at who you work with, who has responded well, who was there for you, how can you make change for the good
- What can you change now? not only for short term fixes, but for long term gains
- What can you focus on that you’ve been deprioritising?
Stay safe and look after each other.