Think back to w/c 9th March 2020 – everyone thought Coronavirus was just a small infection being passed around in a remote area of China that would come to pass within days or weeks. No one anticipated what was coming. By the following week, Focus on Media produced many COVID-19 response documents and planning strategy adjustments for clients. It certainly threw us all into the deep end of client crisis calls, re-aligning media strategies and plans rapidly, and ensuring that our clients were kept informed and felt reassured at all stages.
"we quickly jumped to it by researching data and trends from the Asian markets"
Given that the virus was in advanced stages elsewhere in the world there was a lot of noise from Asia; the impact that they had seen within their local markets with the advertising industry proved invaluable insight as to what was likely to come. At Focus on Media, we quickly jumped to it by researching data and trends from the Asian markets and identified planning and buying strategies and actions that needed to be made with immediacy in mind.
By the end of w/c 16th March and just before the UK went into full lockdown we had already presented our crisis strategy documents and re-aligned all our clients’ media plans; ensuring the focus shifted to in-home media channels.
Our agile approach allowed us to easily adjust budgets and channels to ensure we delayed any media that was likely to see a significant impact on our audiences with people being told to stay at home. At the same time, we were one of the first agencies talking to media partners about increasing our in-home media channels to ensure there was no drop off in client performance.
Furthermore, our creative partnership with Focus IMC ensured that conversions moved quickly from planning to activation of these channels with no delay. Before you knew it we had creative ready to go across all in-home media adapted to the new market conditions.
Our clients were given confidence in our planning and approach to the pandemic, allowing them to clearly explain the strategy changes and re-alignments we were recommending to key stakeholders. This in turn allowed them to continue with a full suite of marketing activity.
Being proactive rather than reactive to what was happening proved to pay dividends and ensured that there was no drop off in the market. This proved important in two ways, firstly by allowing our clients to increase their share of voice as competitors panicked by cutting back their own marketing and secondly to ensure that we were able to take full advantage of the inevitable bounce back to the market.
"Being proactive rather than reactive to what was happening proved to pay dividends"
Our previous research and planning into recessions and similar crisis moments also allowed us to predict that the housing market, in particular, would likely see a bounce back once things calm down. This was proved true once again as we focused activity again to take full advantage of the buoyant market conditions while others floundered and delayed in getting back up and running.