Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production
Responsive Marketing in Times of Uncertainty
Production Agency
New York, United States
A virtual conversation with Tag’s subject matter experts in retail, financial services and life sciences

As Covid-19 continues to force a drastic change in consumer behaviour, brand marketers are reacting quickly to the effects of now and many are worrying about what will happen to their 2020 marketing plans in the future. Tag’s experts in retail, financial services, and life sciences met virtually to discuss what brand marketers are doing now to adapt their messaging and content assets and how they are preparing for H2, while continuing business as usual.

Here is what our subject matter experts from the Americas, EMEA and APAC are saying.

Creative adaptation is quick and cost effective

Adapting language, tone-of-voice, imagery, call-to-action and delivery channel is key to successfully managing the customer experience and maintaining customer loyalty.

Toby Codrington, CEO, Tag APAC, said: “The question is, how do you manage disruption when it plays by its own rules? The answer: agility is key. We help brands pivot quickly to meet changing consumer behaviour and understand that in these testing times the most important thing is making sure that your assets go further.”

Joanna Carlish, managing director, financial services, Tag, added: “Adapting marketing materials can be quick and efficient, without a huge cost of ownership. You need a marketing production partner who understands your customer demands and your brand, with access to 24/7 creative resources. For example, many of our clients are financial institutions whose brand messaging generally leads with a welcome handshake and a call-to-action to meet in the branch. In most locations, this message won’t work during the Covid-19 crisis due to lock downs and temporary closures. To refresh marketing materials, we swiftly adapt existing marketing content through our team of creative production experts. For example, swapping out images to be more relevant to the current situation or updating copy to reflect customer sentiment. The benefit to the client is they don’t incur the cost of completely reinventing creative or the risk sending the target audience the wrong message during a highly-sensitive time.”

Know when and how to shift from offline to online

What effects does social distancing and temporary store closures have on consumer brands who thrive off of in-store experiences such as promotions, events and point-of-sale displays?

Steve Pitts, business director, Tag APAC, said: “History tells us that in times of international crisis, brands and retailers who continue to invest in marketing reap the benefits once the tide changes for the better. Brands that are pulling activity and budget out of physical retail campaigns, should be re-channeling spend and brand activity to digital to keep brand building and customer conversion.”

Steve continues: “That said all markets are different. If we look at our Japan clients, shoppers are still frequenting physical retail stores but the types of shops they visit are different. People are going to local convenience stores rather than large out-of-town malls to make quick purchases, so brands need to rethink how they invest and what their messaging is to meet the demands of the ‘head-down, mask-on shopper.’ Brands should be even more disruptive in their messaging and tailor spend to meet the evolving physical retail demands of different markets.”

Ed Stone, SVP retail and emerging markets, Tag, added: “There are brands whose entire marketing plan for 2020 have changed overnight. We have been able to support with creative and flexible resources to rapidly adjust: print campaigns to online, direct mail to email marketing and in-store activations to online engagements, while helping our clients preserve resources and creative to support them as they compete for attention and brand loyalty in the evolving retail environment.

Following the path of retail, pharmaceutical companies are continuing to shift from print to digital, specifically as it relates to delivering important information to healthcare providers. This is nothing new, but it is more significant right now.

Robb DeFilippis, VP, life sciences, Tag, commented: “We are supporting remote engagement strategies from print to online/web based medically reviewed communications for both patient and HCP. Likewise, some pharmaceutical companies are challenged or unable to produce new product or packaging content which would usually require a film or photo shoot. We know from our clients that delaying these shoots can delay the delivery of treatment to patients in need. An effective solution has been using our Tag creative production team, virtually, to create photo-realistic 3D imagery that can work in an infinite number of angles, sizes and iterations (think: flexibility, cost savings, speed-to-market).”

On future proofing…

Ajit Kara, CEO, Tag Americas, said: “We work together with our clients to help them adapt, grow and shift based on need, so that they can communicate with their customers, effectively, through change.”

Andria Vidler, CEO, Tag EMEA, added: “The brands who have been in the best position to quickly and effectively communicate with staff and stakeholders, have been those who clearly understand their purpose and have confidence in their values. Unilever is a great example of a brand with a clear purpose, that recognises global influence and responsibility. Their clear messages of support to staff, consumers and suppliers positions them leagues ahead of others in terms of their proactive marketing and comms in light of Covid-19. Not only are they contributing necessary products to support the COVID-19 efforts and community wellbeing, they’re also investing significant dollars to support their suppliers most at risk through these challenging times.

Ed Stone, SVP retail and emerging markets, Tag, concluded: “Being ready for anything means having the bandwidth to react immediately to evolving needs. For our clients (brands and agencies), this means providing access to more resources, to work on-demand, virtually, wherever and whenever it is needed.”