Emotions on the internet mirror directly the information displayed in the news area. The undiluted infusion reached the blood, reached the cortex, reached the heart. A fight of brain versus soul has started. Each and every Romanian made his own decision to cling to a single point on the scale of emotions, carefully weighted by personal opinions.
The fluctuation of feelings has brought consequences to the way they relate to their own values, to relations with the close ones, to products consumption, personal care routine and information sources. Some repercussions will just dissapear with the (apparent) relaxation and others will become part of ourselves. Of the brain. Of the heart.
In the below graphic there’s a sketch for the analysis on everything that has been written in .ro week by week, starting with March 9th. Romanians' discussions were filtered and here’s what came out of this journey.
Also, I’ll make a parallel with the changes that happened in the advertising world, which bring an extra nuance to the general story.
Strategic work during the pandemic required many GB of new information and as many GB to remove from the previous period, as well. EVERYTHING has changed, everything has been started all over again.
Creative work has maintained the same quality of production while most of the teams worked from home. Shooting was overseen from Zoom, special effects and animations were worked from home, the footage has been used in a more creative way than ever.
Our clients were between extremes – the rising industry verticals were climbing up the ceiling for so much work and they just didn’t come to believe their eyes looking at the figures, while pandemic-affected businesses cut budgets and make recovery plans for H2. All business people understood two simple things about the lockdown:
1. That you don't have to go in the dark and stop building the brand, otherwise the return from H2 would require even greater effort and even more budgets than would have been necessary normally.
2. That what you communicate must not be commercial, opportunistic, but completely altruistic.
Nothing new here, but this emotional carousel given by the novelty of strategies was directly reflected in the client-agency relationship: the exponential number of e-mails with pressing content, rougher and tougher relationships and especially the pressure to walk straight on a winding road, and, at the same time, cracking a smile of reassurance that the situation is and will be under control.
The digital market (social media and digital media): from the Q2 communication point of view, after analyzing the most important industry verticals in terms of market spending, we have seen the followings:
- those who didn’t stop communication have had (also) organic results (viewership and engagement) for two months (April and May).
- those involved in the social sphere (e.g. donations) or who have created utility or entertainment content dedicated to COVID-19 have created a superb brand image; and a lasting one.
- the first communicator from the category that adapted the communication to the current context easily led the category. Even if those who followed had perhaps a better strategy because of losing their start, they failed to get the same echo.
- the first materials announcing the new brand strategy (a phenomenon that occurred at the end of April) appeared in social media, and the following (and few), in the TV spots.
- there were also brands in the market that made “business as usual”, not at all wrong for the category they were in, but didn’t perform the way they could have done it.
- those who have taken a communication break (blocked by external decision-makers or not) have lost ground. It will be even harder and more expensive for them to get back.
Even in situations of rapid change of ambitions and of the entire flow, the routine remains a very good anchor. The only constant of us and of our clients was the “the e-mail from 4 PM”, with the Daily Strategic Bulletin, which they were waiting for breathlessly. It reported a lot of essential real time data, from the number of COVID-19 cases to the daily highlights in social media, innovation examples, campaigns already carried out on the relevant verticals, to how media and financial markets were evolving.
The review of the first two months of pandemic showed:
· 2.500.000 data points processed and analyzed
· 500 studies related to COVID-19 stored in share points
· 475 news about initiatives and causes of brands involvement
· 80 trends weekly analyzed
· 4GB of data in each computer of the data@core team member (18 people)
· 870 receivers (containers), clients and agencies
Later on, Publicis Groupe Romania's clients received Publicis White Papers, monthly analysis customized on verticals, with all the information they needed to make their most informed decisions (from competitive reviews on all channels to category insights, media consumption, innovative global campaigns launched in that category).
Moreover, during summer we noticed an increasing trend in communication towards the performance area, with high relevance (CRM, DCO) messages, with focus and high pressure on KPIs.
However, rather than being taken by surprise by the path the carousel will take, the recommendation in the short and medium term is to balance the weights between brand communication and performance communication and to keep them simultaneously active.
*Stages of consumer emotions
· An analysis made from all the .ro conversations during the pandemic period - credits to Rodica Mihalache, Head of Consumer & Business Insights, Publicis Media
· Graphics by Daniel Stroe, Art Director Publicis Romania