Creating growth in the time of Covid-19

Below is a continued review of the ongoing implications of the Coronavirus crisis on media consumption in the UK, as well as the implications of channel investment and key lessons for brands from this unprecedented moment in time.

It serves to give advice on what you might ‘say’ in your communications and ‘where’ in the media landscape you might say it, with one caveat: To reference Twitter’s recent blog post ‘Communications in a crisis’, the key point to remember is that this is not a ‘marketing opportunity’ to capitalise on and we do not recommend that brands opportunistically link themselves to a health scare.

Messaging: Thinking about what you might say


Do promote your organisation, service and products. It’s easy to assume people don’t want to hear from your brand at this time but recent polls have found overwhelmingly that consumers still want to hear from brands. In fact, there are some sectors they want to hear more from, like healthcare/pharmaceuticals, supermarkets, retail and entertainment.

Even brands that may feel alienated from the crisis, such as charities, fitness/gyms and financial services, aren’t alienated from the public: the majority of whom say they are perfectly happy to continue hearing the same or more from the brands brave enough to step out.

Source: Opinium

Consumers are most likely to change their habits at times of change in their lives. When they leave home; have a baby; move-house; start a new job; retire. This is likely to be the biggest time of change in all our lives. Consumers are stopping with brands and starting with others.

If you don’t promote your brand you will leave an empty space for other new providers to fill. Ironically acquiring new customers “when this is all over” is likely to be more expensive and more difficult than keeping your current customers now; and winning new customers today.


All of us are struggling to adjust to our new lives. Most of us need help and support and we certainly don’t need any more demands on us. Our immediate needs are mostly practical, so brands that can help in small (or big) practical ways will earn huge good will and loyalty.

We’ve seen some great examples from our clients with David Lloyd producing daily home exercise content such as back exercises for those sitting in the wrong chairs or on laptops at the wrong height; Residently are providing virtual property tours so consumers can continue looking for their dream home from the confines of their living room; UNICEF developing a “Stay & Play” programme to help parents keep their children educated and entertained whilst at home; and WaterAid teaching us how to wash our hands when there is no soap and water.

What practical support or advice or help can your brand provide to your audiences?


One interesting avenue to explore is purpose. Millions have / will lose their jobs, and with it much of their identity and purpose in life. Many of them are seeking a replacement purpose that will give them a self-definition and an anchor in these turbulent seas. This, together with altruism, is a partial explanation of the more than 500,000 volunteers we have seen sign up to SAM.

What could your brand create as a purpose for your supporters? How could you empower and enable them to see themselves as creating value and making a difference to others in this changed world?

Media: thinking about where and how you might hold conversations with people

Media is cheaper than normal right now and, like all of us, is in the home. If you use half price as a rough rule of thumb that’s good enough before getting into detail.

The four channels we would recommend considering investing in, in descending order of importance, are:

  1. Paid Social given lower CPM pricing, ability to target, and a highly engaged audience.
  2. TV, given the potential growth in viewing behaviours, extended throughout the day, and the channel’s strength at delivering impact and emotional connection.
  3. BVOD, as the increase in impressions creates a strong environment to test the channel.
  4. Radio/Podcasts/Audio given increased listenership, low cost reach, frequency, emotional connection and the ability to remotely and easily produce creative content.

All four represent options for protecting performance in the immediate term.


We are all consuming more media. Audiences are up 30 – 50% across the expected channels including TV, digital, radio and podcasts. That means what was an average weight campaign will be seen many more times i.e. frequency will build fast. The risk is that your ad is seen many times by the same people and becomes repetitive, ineffective or even annoying.

Our advice: To avoid burnout double the volume of content that you would normally create for a campaign. Break the messages down into shorter, simpler messages (we all have shorter attention spans now) and have more of them.


All media is in the home, but not all parts of the home are equal. Many of us are living again in extended multi-generational families. That means that more media is consumed in groups– providing shared experience levels that we last saw in the 1980’s.

There are also precious moments of “me” time and self-isolation – children retreating to their room to play Fallout 4 or taking a daily walk with a podcast. Do you want your message embedded in the day’s deaths that form the news? Or in the much-needed smiles that The Windsor’s provide?

Our advice: think about the new contexts available and appropriate for your messages.

Cut through

We are all overloaded. Each day becomes a blur; each message melding into the next. The moments when we pause and take a breath and consider are fewer than they have ever been. Any investment will be wasted if your audience’s brains can’t process and retain your message.

Our advice: Think about a conversation not a broadcast. Invite interaction; lower the barriers to audiences speaking with you; give them a reason to do so. And listen carefully to what they say, and when they say it. Behave as you would in real life human relationships and adjust your behaviour and investments in as near real time as is possible.

We hope the 3 P’s and 3 C’s above have given you some useful food for thought. We have much more information on the above, so feel free to get in touch and tell us how we can help, from insight on how your audiences are feeling and how cost effective it is to reach them to how you might help them. If you ask us, we might be able to help. And just talking to another cheerful human might also help.

This is our view as of today and is purposely broad to be applicable to as many advertisers as possible. If you would like more detailed information or have any questions regarding the enclosed, please get in touch.