In this interview, the Managing Director of Integrated Troops Limited speaks on the post-Covid-19 marketing environment and economy.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease, there are fears that there is more to come after the pandemic?
Yes, we are expecting a tight economic environment post-Covid-19. There will be need for sufficient upfront reviews within and between the agencies and across service relationship, because within the emerging new environment, brands will pull back on marketing investments. Then the communication channel agencies may also need to cut back as it continues with the industry suppliers, including the media who will ultimately have to cut back in the back office and other non-producing innovations.
The time to do everything I’m talking about is now, especially at senior levels first. Of course, investment appraisals will not be the same across tables, for instance, every big-spender will cut down because they know there is no much money in the market, so they will flex muscle with whatever they have and negotiate hard for hard-time survival. This is very important because there will be shock, and everybody has to be able to absorb the shock, either aided or not.
And how does it affect your own calling, brand activations?
Brand activation as an identified agency service was not around in name when classical advertising held sway with70% investment priority (plus or minus) . But with the advent of the ad-volution of the IMC polity which is now driven by very fast, continuous global distortions in habits, attitude and touch- point preferential and vulnerability realities. The industries have continued to react to the divergent, convergent, and or parallel state of evolution taking place in the same advertising or IMC habitat. So, we do not expect a slow-down after the lockdown in terms of tempo on dynamics of deliverables.
Okay, let me rephrase my question; how does it affect the IMC industry, especially the brand activation services?
At every season of normality summersault, there is always a new normal in which case new trends creep in to stay. It’s the same with the IMC industry and, of course, it will apply to brand activation practice. But I’m not going to sit down here and start talking like a local prophet and start predicting “what will happen” with certainty.
Let’s look at the somersault trend for instance, the unbundling of classical advertising. In some cycles, people sat down and reacted to the fact that solvency was being sacrificed in the name of efficiency and accountable effectiveness to the detriment of innovation, I mean creativity. That was a view that begot a corresponding action or reaction. Some others in the same habitat saw a need, unbundled and fine-tuned it with their individual arsenal for solvency. So, you have people who say, ho! no! They have changed the music, the party is over, and you have guys who say Hallelujah! The groove goes on. And I think both digital marketing and digital marketing communications will take a centre stage.
Aside from these, will things remain the same?
I think the way we work will change, post- COVID-19. We will no longer have as much respect for normal office attendance registers as we currently do; though not new, but it will become a new normal. And that’s because the current reality is that
views will begin to shift locally in admin departments about the essence of man-hours management. I think the industry will have to self-regulate pro-actively to avoid abuse by poorly motivated authorities. For instance, we need to define the new normal in direct-field related and trade activations with regards to social distancing.
Clearly, I think the IMC polity is not going to be immune to the new normal in official interactions within the industry. Things will go more digital, even in the less-organised public sector.