We are back-to-business. And this time not only in the traditional sense, like every year when business re-boosts after the summer holidays. This time it’s because after months of unsure, lower business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, business returns back to normal. Or does it? I don’t want to fall into common expressions like ‘the new normal’, but let’s admit, some things in our profession have been changed, and most probably for always. First of all, the way we work together with colleagues, partners and clients has changed in a radical way.
Social distancing and protecting ourselves from the COVID-virus had caused a change in the way we work in the office. Where homeworking and video calls were an usual exception to the daily work-rhythm, nowadays it has become the norm of the new way of working. Office spaces remain nowadays sometimes half-occupied and facility managers and office managers need to come up with creative solutions in order to justify the hundreds of unoccupied square meters. Dealing with clients has become a challenge. Again, ZOOM-calls and Teams have become the digital tools in order to connect with our clients for status meetings, strategy meetings and even creative reviews.
The red thread and constant factor in all of this, is the speed of the digital transformation we have been experiencing in our daily way of working. We have been talking about digital transformation to our clients for years, how this would change the way they would communicate with their consumers, or end-users. In a couple of months, we went from theory to blunt reality. One thing is for sure: if you look at the valorisation of IT or technology companies, you will notice pretty quickly that they have even gained economic power over the past COVID-period.
But not only are ways-of working or professional behaviour been digitally transformed, we also see – this time – a radical shift from traditional media to digital touchpoints. Programmatic advertising as a way of buying, planning and optimizing media has reached its highest level ever. Thanks to the newsworthiness of the pandemic-topic, journals and news media could profit from a temporary revival of paper media and linear TV. But I am afraid that this will stay a temporary phenomenon.
The shock of COVID will remain an omnipresent vibration in our way of working and in our industry in general. Advertisers, our clients and prospects are looking for more efficiency, more automation, more cost-saving, more simplicity and, last but not least, more control. Digital & Marketing Technology is the all-fitting solution for most of the insomnia-briefs of our clients. We are lucky in our House of Communication to have chosen already for many years the direction of technology, data & AI, and marketing automation as innovative complements to our traditional approach of Building Best Brands. Our Solutions department has developed a way-of-working in the field of content creation for brands like L’Oréal, focusing on efficiency – both economically and organisationally – and reducing complexity. Our digital agency Plan.Net has put in place what we call a ‘total social’ solution, proposing an efficient social media solution to our clients, and with the Plan.Net “Pocket Rocket” we provide brands with a step-wise approach to attack their digital transformation. All these customer centric solutions are interesting tools for ‘the new normal’ with which brands have been confronted the last few months.
Because at the end of COVID, or at any end, the best brands will prevail.