Working in sports and entertainment, I am continuously asked about how COVID-19 has impacted our business. There are a variety of ways we have been affected, but most of these have in fact helped us to futureproof and re-invent our offerings. Sometimes it can take something as life-changing as COVID-19 to demonstrate your weak spots, and once you see them there is no un-seeing them.
A common question, ‘how has working from home impacted your business?’, is always answered in the same way. We have always worked remotely, without a dedicated office, so the impact of having to do this is not a challenge of ours. Others, however, have had to go through the process of getting work-from-home ready in a very short space of time. Now that they are set up and ready for this, I am imagining there will be considerable resistance in getting employees back in the office Monday to Friday, 9 to 5.
As we have a modern and flexible set-up, it has meant that most of our impacts have instead been product related. Without stadiums and venues open or sport and entertainment for fans to watch, our inventory has demonstrated its lack in ability to adapt.
This has meant that we have faced some harsh realities as to the value of our inventory and its capacity to compete in this current climate. This realisation has pushed in-App brand activations to the top of our agenda. Why is that? Apps are always on – 24/7 media with a qualified and engaged reach, that also allows for smart reporting and a measurable ROI.
Have conversations with advertisers slowed down? Absolutely, but the reason for this lies more so in teams largely being furloughed. Reading YouGov’s article, it was interesting to see their stats on consumer behaviour during COVID-19, as it clearly demonstrates why now more than ever brands need to keep their name in the game:
‘…research shows that appetite is still there among consumers – with over three quarters of Brits still buying non-essential goods online during lockdown. The figure is highest among those aged 25 to 34, with 42% saying they have bought more online during this time than they otherwise would. With Brits still browsing and buying online, it is important that brands do not stop advertising, as arguably their audience is more digitally present than ever before. With UK consumers shopping online more frequently it is important to factor in their mood.’
In my opinion, advertising during COVID-19 is especially key for Retail, as many are seeing it as an opportunity to re-invent themselves, just as PTI are re-positioning/re-inventing as a business. The ability to adapt through any challenges is something we pride ourselves upon, and in doing so we have truly realised the potential of this new launch-pad for brands.
Unsurprisingly, in-App brand activation is another fierce competitor of traditional Out-of-Home formats, as ads are designed and targeted to suit the audience, based on location, age, gender, preferences, and affiliations.
It is a very exciting time for brands to get involved and experimenting with how they interact with consumers. My advice to brands? ‘Fortune favours the brave’ – Publius Terentius Afer
Watch this space.