One thing that any proud American can agree with is that our nation has been through numerous unique and trying times. Recessions, depressions, the anguish of war and the sweet victory of economic expansion: they all are very trying and can also serve as history-making moments. Even though there is not a tried-and-true guidebook for times such as America is facing now, savvy professionals such as Google’s very own Joshua Spanier have been hard at work negotiating campaigns that can offer up a bit of clarity.
The “Do the Five” Initiative was featured on Google homepages around the world in close partnership with the World Health Organization, and as with any medium, there is valuable information here to help many various types of for-profit or non-profit entities. These five principles can be helpful to brands and agencies who are now trying to make their way through times where things are so uncertain that you may worry your entire strategy needs reworking from the ground up.
Context, Always: This has proven to be a global pandemic within regard to the virus and its spread, but its impact weighs heavily on local elements. Google’s global teams are now providing guidance with a central focus, but they are attempting to trust each individual market to make decisions locally.
There is a centralized, shared spreadsheet that is shared with every team in the world, and its prime focus is to efficiently gauge surges in interest of news. Answering the important questions regarding the use of paid social media has proven to be a bit easier when the local context is focused on and analyzed.
Constant Reassessment: Since dynamics in the marketplace change quickly, the folks at Google (much like us right here at Farfetched Studios) are constantly reassessing the way that creative, copy and other guidelines are fulfilled. Sometimes the decisions that you made a few weeks ago are still not relevant for the present day, and this current epidemic has surely shown us proof of that.
It can be cumbersome, but you need to ask yourself on a daily basis if the creative you’re working on is right for the time, and if it isn’t, you have to quickly shift gears. One example comes straight from the geniuses on the Madison Avenue that worked as creative in the hit TV show “Mad Men”: after up-and-coming Mohawk Airlines suffers a tragic plane crash in the Bahamas, it became of utmost importance overnight to make changes to branding campaigns that merely suggested flying even if they weren’t an airline themselves.
Considering the Creative Angle: Whether it is an overall tone or the type of visual imagery that is used within, the context of any media output or buy needs to now be closely thought through. With every single campaign there will be issues about any humor that some watching may not understand, including behavior such as handshakes and hugs in the age of urgent social distancing.
Changing Priorities to Take on Uncertain Times: Anyone who runs a business can understand that changing times are going to be unavoidable. No matter what happens in the world on a daily basis, the all-important budget has to be evaluated frequently, and through the eyes of what customers are experiencing.
One thing that is very admirable about the Google platform right now is that they are taking extra strides to be helpful. Some of the products such as Classroom and Hangouts are more helpful and relevant now than they may have been two weeks ago, and paid media priority will see great success when allocated to brands that are constantly there to help people get information vital to them and to ease the transition into what was once normal and now has undergone a drastic change.
Maximizing Every Opportunity to Contribute: When you see challenging things happening to people around you, it can stoke the very positive desire to do whatever it takes to offer help. No matter what business your brand specializes in, you can host live events, find ways to give back, or at least link to the most important digital sources that are in the know as far as breaking developments.
Rather than feeling like we are living through a time where everything is “shutting down”, there are vast opportunities to reach out to the consumer with new ideas and by new mediums. Time now well spent with loved ones will bring about conversations that entail where family units really want to end up and which brands will benefit from their loyalty, as long as any individual or unit has to “ride out the storm”.