Wake The Town
Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

With the Recession on the Horizon, Strategic and Creative Thinking Is Needed to Support Customers


LBB speaks to MTArt's Marine Tanguy, S4 Capital's Sir Martin Sorrell and Media.Monks' Mitch Incoll about the cost of living crisis and why advertising can weather this storm and help consumers do it too

With the Recession on the Horizon, Strategic and Creative Thinking Is Needed to Support Customers

The headlines of any newspaper for the past several weeks have been shouting about the cost of living crises and while we’re not officially in a recession yet, the sentiment isn’t likely to change any time soon. For the advertising industry, this isn’t the first or the last crisis that it’ll have to weather. Covid was a shock to everyone though even then brands and marketers alike adapted to the new normal, navigating the choppy waters with a mixture of sensitivity, creativity, and data. 

Will the same approach work in the future? While consumers aren’t typically privy to what’s happening behind the scenes at a brand’s office or at the agency that’s making ads which they see, they are attuned to the messaging that reaches them. Now, more than ever, consumers are expecting communication that acknowledges the state of the world, their new economic position, and the role advertising plays on the public’s mood. 

LBB spoke to Marine Tanguy, CEO at MTArt, about the way art can help brands and marketers in this difficult time. We also spoke to Sir Martin Sorrell, co-founder of S4 Capital, and Mitch Incoll, head of strategy at AUNZ at Media.Monks, about what the next few months are likely to look like, with their predictions offering hope in light of the doom and gloom. 

LBB> What does the advertising industry look like next year in light of the cost of living crisis and looming recession?

Sir Martin> Analysts following the eight major digital platforms are forecasting 13% plus advertising revenue growth next year - so the die seems cast. Digital will continue to draw increased attention and linear will be under pressure, particularly as clients move down the funnel focussing on sales, activation and performance. Media mix modelling and ROI will be at the fore too.

Mitch> The European Central Bank pulls its levers to counter the effects lingering from covid, enduring wars, environmental disasters and supply chain issues (to name a few). This is where cost of living pressures mount for the short-term and a new spotlight opened up for the media to focus on. In other words, with inflation across Europe at 9.8% (July 2022), the average person's €100 is now worth €90.2 and pay increases in the workplace simply aren’t making up the difference.

So where does this leave us for the next 12 months? It’s important to recognise the role central banks play in how people and businesses behave. The good news is that The European Central Bank is forecasting inflation to reduce to 2.3% by 2024. In other words, the next 12 months will likely be covered with more positive news stories about the economy. And if the past tells us anything it’s that good news stories help fuel confidence amongst people and businesses– stimulating demand, stimulating supply, stimulating ad spend, consumer spend, stimulating industry growth, real wage growth, macro-economic growth. We might just start to see the stabilisation of things.

As the adage goes, uncertainty is opportunity. So if the ECB can pull its levers to influence how people and businesses behave, so too can the advertising industry. In fact, we might just be the most experienced and qualified professionals to do so. My hope is that we can recognise and help create more hope. Enough with the sorrow, anxiety, fear and disappointment– now is the time for brands and marketers to instil future confidence.

From a content perspective, again, I would expect the next quarter to follow similar patterns of the past. That is, lots of shouty retail ads and offers mixed with more emotional films fit for the Christmas feels. We can only hope research from the likes of Kantar is delivered– that is, the effectiveness of more optimistic, entertaining, humorous and joyful responses to ads at a time that’s been dominated by a gloomy media narrative. 

Marine> Now more than ever, brands need to inspire their audiences and be there for their audiences. We are very fortunate to be a cash-flow positive business and thus to be able to invest and support our people in the light of the recession which in turn will support our talents and clients through this. Holding on to great people when it’s windy is key for longevity

Public art becomes a great medium in this context for brands as it is a way not only to advertise but also to give back to the wider public with inspiring images and statements. As recently seen in the incredible results of the luxury brands, people would want to be inspired and aspire so it’s still a time for growth via the right type of communication and ads for brands.

LBB> What kind of response should brands be planning on?

Mitch> In the next 12 months, integrated marketing remains an intelligent strategy. The enduring question that continues to haunt marketers is how this can be achieved when more keeps getting added into the mix. The average marketer today has more to know (data, tech, media, content); more to do (faster, better, cheaper); and needs to do all of that with more accountability (every decision impacting more people).

So what response should brands be planning on? To succeed in the future, brands need to find more clarity in the chaos. With this in mind, I believe marketing's superpower will be smart sacrifices– refocusing on the fundamentals. The things that deliver the biggest impact.

Marine> Who brands decide to align and do things with is really important because a lot of sensitivity is required during this period for obvious reasons. So going for someone that cares about that topic for many, many years, who has demonstrated to be an advocate and doing the due diligence is important if a brand wants to talk about a specific issue. The artists we work with have been selected specifically on that due diligence and research. They have their own authentic interest and passions which they explore in their art and can help bring to life for brands in a way that will feel honest. 

Moderation, long-term thinking, and projects that are meaningful and wide-reaching and emotional. When we teamed up with Octopus Energy for COP26, it was a good way for the firm to reinforce and support its commitments.

‘Grace of the Sun’ by MTArt Agency artist Robert Montgomery with Octopus Energy and Little Sun for COP26

LBB> How can brands continue reaching their customers in meaningful ways?

Marine> It’s about the right values and because artists are using their pre-existing value system, there is a sensitivity and an emotional language that we can help brands tap into. Visuals can be much more powerful, more sensitive, and much more emotional than words sometimes. Used the right way, sensitivity can create emotional connection to their audiences. 

Realistically, it's about doing the right thing long-term, which I know is not easy to say, because some brands will be stressed out with their revenues and the people that they look after. But we’ve seen it with covid, that really helped people think long-term and create these relationships as well. It's really a time to be humbled as much as you can and shift to less of an intense marketing approach and more of an emotional and artistic messaging. That would be my advice, because it's the line of thought that we are in. I would find it more upsetting to be constantly targeted as a consumer, advertising-wise in these times, rather than being communicated with in an emotional and artistic manner.

Mitch> The small stuff has a big impact. Ask yourself, do you really know what comms your customers are experiencing? As more brand experiences are delivered automatically via tech providers like Salesforce, Google, Facebook and programmatic media vendors, meaningful brands will need to sweat the small stuff– that is, connecting the magic of well crafted copy and art direction with the sophistication of automation and modern distribution.

LBB> What campaigns will be more/less relevant for the foreseeable future?

Mitch> The truth is, more things stay the same in marketing than they change. On that note, I always loved the quote from Leo Burnett (the person) who said ‘what’s good for people is good for business.’ It’s so simple yet remains true today amongst all the complexity of the economy, technology, media, data, content and more.

Fundamentally, the focus will always be to create a superior customer experience but to get there, marketers really need to refocus on the fundamentals– and that starts within. The truth is, integrated marketing remains an intelligent strategy internally and externally– the benefits of which are created for businesses and people. So to realise our potential and feel future confident, my hope is that we find a way to not only connect the dots as an organisation but ultimately can deliver them to the betterment of people and society.

view more - Trends and Insight
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
MTArt Agency, Fri, 11 Nov 2022 13:10:00 GMT