Amongst all of the business implications caused by Covid-19, those fighting to survive in the media world are noticing a huge impact on ad buying and ensuring ad efficacy. Having a plethora of creative assets to deploy across Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and the myriad of other publishers isn't a new requirement but the last two weeks have exacerbated its need.Quarantine and self-isolation mean consumers are at home with time to spare. This has seen a stark increase in time spent online, particularly on Facebook and other social platforms. Naturally, this has led to an increased supply of ad inventory and, in some instances, a different advertiser mix.
Consumers’ digital attentions are now mainly focussed on the essential products they need (food, medicine, necessities) and entertainment to distract them (online gaming, videos, music). A recent Kantar study showed that whilst only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising during this period, all brands need to adopt a sensitive tone and message, whilst clearly communicating how their brand is supporting people in need.
So, why is iteration so important right now?
Creative agencies and brands alike do a fantastic job of creating compelling assets that inspire consumers. However, as new formats, opportunities and platforms spring up almost out of nowhere, keeping pace was already difficult pre-Covid. Today, there is an urgent need to re-think narrative, imagery or a new story altogether, as ads that were set to be deployed two weeks ago no longer make sense.
Aside from communicating their approach to Covid-19 or selling appropriate products, the only way brands can add relevance is to iterate their messaging. Relevant and sensitive iterations keep consumers engaged, establishing brand confidence and consumer trust at a time when it’s more important than ever.
In the world of creative, iteration is commonly defined as applying a number of different treatments that riff on the original brand asset. In regards to online advertising, that could be a different hero product, call to action, ad length, music and the like, or just an iteration that accounts for a new format or platform (think TVC to Instagram Story).
Adapting assets to reflect the current environment can be an expensive and time consuming undertaking, both of which brands severely lack. When ad performance means something more than click-through, how can you respond and iterate your ads in a rapid, low-cost way that doesn’t degrade the investment you’ve made in your brand, whilst also hitting the right tone of voice with consumers?
Iteration made easy
Many businesses want to create assets that meet both their stringent brand guidelines (rightfully so) but are also appropriate to today’s climate. The challenge is to fill the gap between creative ideation and satiating the ever-growing demand of platform complexity. At the same time it’s important to avoid consumer ad fatigue or turning customers off with insensitive or irrelevant messaging. Without sounding self-serving, there is an ecosystem of creative providers that do just that. Providers, like Shuttlerock, fill this void by:
- Using existing client assets whilst respecting brand guidelines and the investment in creative that has already taken place.
- A deep understanding of best practices across the plethora of platforms.
- Offering a fast turnaround and low-cost model to iterate a multitude of assets.
- A deep appreciation of local conditions and cultural nuances to ensure messaging is appropriate.
This low-cost model enables brands and agencies to quickly test new messaging, refine narrative and reduce audience fatigue, whilst improving brand favourability for the long-term. As you explore providers to solve this need, what should you look for?
- Low-cost - you have already invested in your creative assets so any provider shouldn't eat too heavily into your existing media budget, whilst still considering the 50-80% increase in ad performance that good creative can drive. In the current climate, a provider that understands the importance of cost is critical.
- Real design - providers that have real designers that will add messaging nuance and sensitivity whilst ensuring that it aesthetically mirrors the original investment in the brand.
- Deep platform knowledge and a close working relationship with those platforms, as well as teams of strategists that care about your brand and measurement of success.
- Speed - fast turnaround is key in this ever-changing landscape.
- Global scale - in this world of multiple audiences, use cases, platforms and formats, having only a handful of iterations isn’t enough. Finding a provider that can build at scale whilst not impacting performance is key. Being able to do this globally with local teams that understand cultural nuance has always been important but now more so than ever.
A creative provider should be exactly that: one with unrivalled knowledge of the digital landscape, paired with a deep understanding of the nuances of your brand, and layered with the experience of what it takes to succeed. Successful brands will be those that strike the right balance between producing ads at pace and quality, whilst being relevant and adaptable.
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By Trelise Mansfield, Head of Marketing @ Shuttlerock