The ongoing pandemic has challenged many of the market’s most popular brands like never before. Some companies are desperately trying to communicate to the public how they’re going about helping the economic recovery that’s ahead of us, whereas others are simply scrambling to keep the lights on and employees on payroll. If one thing has become incredibly clear over the past few weeks, it’s that global brands are being forced to twist and contort themselves into a new shape in order to remain economically viable.
Major companies are pivoting to remote work arrangements and are seriously changing how they invest in certain advertising mediums. Here’s a review of how global brands will budget after the pandemic passes us by, and what that means for the future of marketing and the workforce.
Most brands are spending far less than usual
The most notable development over the past few months is the fact that the vast majority of global brands are spending far less money than usual on their advertising budgets. Consumer trends have been tremendously disrupted by the continued spread of COVID-19, which shuttered many in-person businesses and forced many companies and customers alike into the digital environment for all their commercial needs. As a direct result of this, most companies have delayed their marketing efforts by a few months, something which will have a massive impact on the broader marketing industry.
According to a recent report from the World Federation of Advertisers, approximately 89 percent of large, multinational companies have decided to defer their planned marketing campaigns until economic conditions are looking better. We are now effectively in an advertising recession, so to speak, and can expect most major companies to be allocating fewer and fewer funds toward marketing efforts as time goes on. This doesn’t spell a total end to advertising, however.
Indeed, some companies are actually taking advantage of the ongoing crisis. According to a report forwarded by CNBC, specific brands and industries are supercharging their advertising spending right now because they face unique opportunities now that ad prices are so low. Internet gaming companies, eCommerce operations, and online learning institutions are pouring huge sums of money into advertising efforts now that ad prices are at their lowest point in some time. As a result, we’re seeing a slow but undeniable shift in how marketers and advertising gurus approach these brands with pitches.
Major brands aren’t just changing the way they advertise, either. While some companies are using this moment to invest in the best event venue or pivot to local advertising mediums, others are focusing on reshaping their workforces so they can remain operational in the era of social distancing.
The future of work is being reshaped before us
Many companies have used this opportunity to determine if their brand can weather the change to a remote workforce. Many businesses which spent the last few years avoiding the pivot to remote work arrangements are now faced with few other options. With social distancing measures having shut down many in-person operations, digital commerce is the only way that some brands can remain afloat during these tumultuous times.
Some major employers are even beginning to discuss a permanent shift to working from home, as this sort of operation could actually be cheaper and more productive for certain brands than traditional working arrangements. Some businesses are doubtlessly only musing about this and will revert to traditional work arrangements at the first opportunity, but we can expect many businesses and brands to focus more on the virtual world long after this pandemic expires. Tech companies and brands which mostly target digital shoppers, for instance, will likely find a long-term pivot toward remote work arrangements to be more achievable than many traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
Expect budgeting operations of tomorrow to allocate more money towards remote work setups. With online video and online display costs for advertisements at their lowest point in years, companies of all shapes and sizes will be budgeting substantially greater sums of money towards those mediums, too. Of course, businesses will also want to allocate more money toward the health and safety of their employees, which may entail purchasing protective equipment or more regularly sanitizing their workspaces.
Many brands once dismissed the idea of investing in WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) because they felt it was an unnecessary expense. In the marketplace of tomorrow, however, brands everywhere will be making rooms in their budgets for WASH expenses to ensure they don’t suffer from sick employees or customers. It will be slow going, of course, and some companies will take sanitation for more seriously than others. As consumers make it clear that they only want to spend money on brands that care about public health, however, we can expect budgeting for this sort of thing to expand dramatically in the near-future.