“Necessity breeds innovation”, an adage that rings true now more than ever as we navigate our new reality of quarantining and social distancing during this lockdown period.
As the world celebrated UN World Creativity and Innovation Day on 21 April, it was important to note that innovation is thriving as consumers pursue new and diverse ways to keep businesses running while still attempting to maintain access, albeit virtual, to life’s former social connection
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen both new and existing brands push the envelope to give consumers experiences that resemble life pre-COVID and keep them abreast of life’s current environment, subsequently, accelerating digital transformation globally.
Social distancing is igniting innovation across the globe from the healthcare sector and the workplace and even to the entertainment sector, as migration to digital becomes the solution for people to stay connected in their homes. We have seen linear live television becoming increasingly interactive through incorporating social media streams and engagement to give the audience the experience of real time social interaction. Utilising multiple platforms simultaneously to connect.
Advertisers, content creators and product owners need to work creatively to communicate with their audiences and now have the advantage of addressing a captured audience that will give them their undivided attention. This is an opportunity to be innovative in their approach and rethink the traditional model of advertising, content creation, communications and marketing.
The show must go on
With most events cancelled, entertainment is mainly available through linear TV that provides 24/7 entertainment at home. Entertainers are now finding new solutions to keeping their brands alive and entertaining their audiences despite social distancing.
The show must go on. Now more than ever. Entertainers are tapping into the power of innovation putting together at-home concerts and Instagram live music extravaganzas or even hosting “house parties” via popular video conferencing apps.
Through shows such as the Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, we are seeing adaptability and inventiveness. The show has become The Daily Social Distancing Show and is filmed by Noah himself on his couch.
However, it still tackles daily topics and struggles in the age of social distancing and still follows the format of the original The Daily Show. This evidences that a crisis does not have be an existential threat but rather an opportunity to create value and explore solutions that support organisations navigate turbulent times with relevance and responsible impact.
Over 100% increase in viewers
Consumers are looking for remnants of their former lives in this new reality and that means that they will likely ‘attend’ the online ‘house party’ and be attentive to TV programmes. They are an engaged audience, as we have seen by virtue of the dramatic increase of over 100% in viewers across all ViacomCBS Networks Africa channels, since the start of the lockdown.
This is the time for advertisers to adapt their models and use the necessary platforms to reach their audience. Our brand has done particularly well in connecting with consumers and engaging purposefully. We have committed to being available to our audience during this difficult period, with the globally developed campaign #AloneTogether and #kidstogether with the Ad Council.
The campaign aims to educate, inform and inspire our audiences about the importance of social distancing, mental health and self-care during the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign was created to encourage young people to stay home and find comfort and connection through entertainment.
Audiences have responded well to the campaign with a massive increase in total viewership across various target markets. Brands need to quickly adapt to the times and adjust their messaging in order to continue to deliver lasting impressions to their consumers.
Nickelodeon fasted growing channel
Nickelodeon, for example, has become the fastest growing channel on TV during the COVID-19 pandemic across the total available audience in South Africa. This serves as testament to the power of family viewing often in favour of the younger audience channels, especially during this time with parents at home with children 24/7.
We have seen some brands switching up their marketing efforts with the understanding that the purchasing power of households is often a negotiation and the young ones yield enormous influence over the decision-making process.
This trend presents an opportunity for brands to innovate their advertising investments to various target markets across the multiple platforms and this even includes speaking to parents on kids’ channels. Individually and collectively brands need to serve customers with reassurance, unity and encouragement through responsible campaigns that resonate with audiences in their new reality.
For those who want to remain relevant and leave a lasting impression on consumers, that resonates long after the lockdown is over, we have to keep the innovation pipeline moving. These unprecedented times undoubtedly call for adjustments to your model that encourages being bold in taking calculated risks that yield long term reward and impact.
Strini Naicker is the vice president for commercial and content distribution at ViacomCBS Networks Africa. He joined VNA in the role of sales director in 2011, before being promoted to commercial director in 2016. As a member of the executive leadership team at VNA, Naicker is committed to innovating and increasing the market share of the company through pushing and challenging boundaries.
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