The Way Forward for Advertising After a Pandemic

May 2020
Jessica Shearing

Pretty much overnight everything changed and so did the way everyone works, but what will we take from this change and will it last? Did our industry just come back down to earth about what is actually important and did it really take a deadly global pandemic for it to do so?

As a new marketing agency we at Social Mode were quick to adapt to working online as we've already put a lot of emphasis on working in a way which suits individuals best, rather than on how an agency dictates. Communicating online to balance our lives is our norm. We also work flexibly – this means empowering our team to take responsibility for how and where they work best, whilst ensuring we are all prepared to compromise for the good of the whole team.

How does that look now?

It involves, for example…

  • finishing work when work is done to go and enjoy some indoor hobbies.
  • having more time doing virtual events together and finding a new work/life balance.
  • working together on Zoom to help bridge the gap of missing companionship.
  • becoming a tighter work family and all agreeing that right now is a time when mutual support and encouragement are more important even than growing the business.
  • working around our clients, previously working from their offices when it suited them, now working flexibly at hours that suit them
  • collaboratively finding tools and solutions that serve our needs
  • now, more than ever, sharing valuable internal resources.

I founded the agency after realising I wanted to create a new model, devoid of the arrogance and hypocrisy that pervades the industry and causes issues such as…

  • long working hours as standard,
  • lack of flexibility,
  • too little emphasis on mental health
  • the idea that anyone outside of advertising actually cares or wants to see your adverts.

In reality, no one is listening or waiting for them.

What has really changed for us is the emphasis on social media not just for communicating a product message or new launch as part of a wider campaign, but as a stand-alone tool to truly connect people with other people and create purpose-driven marketing. At this moment of global crisis, flashy and expensive TV & digital adverts cannot be filmed or produced, so time and money is going into creative content that serves an audience, providing value over purely aesthetics. Collaboration has become our new norm with clients, working into documents together, sharing our thinking and approach and even inspiring our clients to try their hand at creating with us! KPIs have shifted to focus on sentiment over growth. We are helping brands face their vulnerabilities head on, knowing they need to serve their customers information they want rather than messages they don’t need.

Purpose marketing is the way forward and there has been a sharp incline of consumers scrutinizing the morals of companies. The big question now is… will the industry follow suit and drive this way of marketing forwards? Consumers are looking to brands to put their marketing budgets into something more ethical that truly benefits the world.

What do we think will truly stick long after we are back to hugging each other and working in person? Consumers will remember brands who have not put their staff and consumers’ wellbeing as their main priority at this time. People are actively seeking information out about the internal workings of the brands they love and how they act will be remembered long after we've made it through the pandemic.

Transparency is more important now than ever.