Reduce, reuse and recycle: how marketers can survive covid-19

It almost feels like our reckoning came early. We had the rug pulled out from under our feet in a way that no one could have predicted and for the majority of us in the marketing industry, the last few weeks have us in a state of shock and decision paralysis.

While this is a completely normal and expected response, the faster that marketers and brands can gather themselves together and adapt, the more chance they have of surviving a scenario that many will not.

Nobody needs to be told where their customers are these days and what they are doing, almost all of us are in the same place: at home, online and consuming content.

While feeding the ever-growing content monster was already a challenge for everyone before Covid-19, we know that producing new content is going to be increasingly tricky in the weeks and months to come due to travel restrictions and budget cuts.

I almost want to avoid using the words ‘new normal’ because it’s all I hear right now, but what will the ‘new normal’ be for content production? Or at least what can you do right now with your reduced budget and movement restrictions to keep the lines of communication open with your consumers?

It would be smart to take the same approach that we should be taking towards saving our planet: reduce, reuse and recycle.

This is something that we have been encouraging our partners to do long before corona meant something other than a beer you drank with a lime.

Over the last few years, we have noticed more and more of our CMO clients were not being kept awake at night wondering who to call to buy a brand strategy, but how to manage the huge volumes of content they needed to produce to be speaking to everyone at the right place and time… and with shrinking budgets.

Great content also frequently falls between the cracks – many brands have a hard time locating their material because they simply lose track of it over the years.

Now couple that with the fact that most ads are seen by just 1% of key target groups, you quickly recognize the massive amount of work ahead.

Before Covid-19, this was already the biggest challenge for marketers.

It’s essentially the reason that Chimney Group saw the value in merging with Vigor, to bring together the two pieces of the puzzle to help brands win: great creative and a tech platform to help manage the volume. Creative quality at scale (enabled by tech).

So many brands are sitting on a goldmine of already produced content for which they essentially have no control over. Covid-19 may be cementing a real opportunity to really take control of your content, at last. Rather than storing your content with multiple partners, the time couldn’t be better to start collecting the thousands of hours of high-resolution videos and other assets you have into one powerful, centralized storage – then adapting and re-using it to produce new content.

The possibilities are endless: quickly reformat, change language, pull out stills for display ads, create cutdowns, or hey, why not replace the view outside that window to a different city using CG? Indeed, with the help of creative expertise, VFX, animations and motion graphics can be used to optimize content for any channel, format and in any language.

Keeping track of all assets and ordering new edited and updated versions couldn’t be easier – or more necessary.

The current situation is dramatically impacting brands’ ability to organize traditional productions. But most brands still have a need to communicate, so everybody is being forced to change how they do that.

This situation is an opportunity to pivot to a new way of handling productions and using the material. Repurposing is, of course, a great tool, and brands are realizing that they need to change the way they produce content.

Needless to say, taking material from your last four shoots rather than creating something new from scratch is a lot quicker and not to mention more cost-efficient. And with the restrictions brought about by Covid-19, I think we can call it the unavoidable silver lining.

Henric Larsson is chief executive officer of Chimney Group.

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