Exclusive: Mohenesh Chamith Buthgumwa, Director Isobar Sri Lanka, writes on COVID-19 Lockdown Dystopia

image-exclusive-Mohenesh Chamith Buthgumwa - Director - Isobar Sri Lanka writes for MediaBrief

Mohenesh Chamith Buthgumwa, Director – Isobar Srilanka, writing exclusively for MediaBrief.com, says that with the global impact of COVID-19, it is time once again to evaluate the current situation and implement steps to move forward in the right direction. This period of COVID-19, he writes, might be a pivotal turning point in how people and businesses see themselves operating in the future

The advertising industry has had to constantly adapt and evolve over the years. From small, last-minute brief changes to huge natural disasters, it has been our task to create and innovate, both proactively and reactively, on behalf of our clients and the rest of the world. With the global impact of COVID-19, it is time once again to evaluate the current situation and implement steps to move forward in the right direction.

With #COVID19 lockdowns, clients more reliant on physical interactions must consider VR and e-commerce activities as a viable option moving forward: @Mohenesh of @IsobarSL @Isobar Click To Tweet

Starting internally, the industry should find ways to make remote working a possibility. The current situation calls for less travel and more isolation, and companies should focus on making this feasible for their employees. Meetings, both home and abroad, should be made over calls whenever it can be helped, rather than putting the team at risk with a face-to-face meet-up. Amongst many other problems they face, employees in certain countries have to use unhygienic public transport, and assisting them in reducing the risks they take would be beneficial to both the employee and the company. Companies may want to pay attention to this form of structuring, as the current situation might increase the emphasis on the lack of necessity for a brick-and-mortar business.

Change is a product of problems, and we have been presented with multiple opportunities to make positive changes. It is up to us to suggest ways that clients can use other mediums to connect and interact with their customers. Clients more reliant on physical interactions need to be pushed to consider VR and e-commerce activities as a more viable option moving forward

Staying at home does not apply only to those in the industry. With travel bans, curfews, and lockdowns across the world, most people are finding themselves at home, looking for ways to occupy themselves. Traditionally, TV sees a spike at times like this, but with other video platforms readily available, it is safe to say that video content, in general, will see a rise. Streaming platforms specifally should see a boost in viewership. In an age of sharing, we will also find a lot more people browsing through social media to keep themselves connected and entertained, strengthening those channels as influencing mediums.

All sorts of events that depend on physical interaction have been brought to a halt as well, affecting a multitude of people from different industries. Concerts, sporting events, B2B expos and so on, have had to either be cancelled or postponed, with many companies pulling out. This has resulted in losses at multiple levels – from small companies to big production houses. Brick-and-mortar retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses that require a customer’s physical presence have and will also take a hit.

It is also vital, at times like this, to be conscious of the situation at hand and understand how it affects everybody. The tonality that brands use to communicate should empathize with the general sentiment being felt and should connect with how the consumer is feeling

We need to react to the situation as is, and proactively see where the market is going towards. In the recent past, interactive and experiential engagements have been a hot topic. Change is a product of problems, and we have been presented with multiple opportunities to make positive changes. It is up to us to suggest ways that clients can use other mediums to connect and interact with their customers. Clients more reliant on physical interactions need to be pushed to consider VR and e-commerce activities as a more viable option moving forward.

With digital interaction on the rise and as the masses stay at home quarantined, it’s advisable to consider increasing budgets to social platforms where you could reach consumers with the right content. Assets such as vertical video, short-form, made for mobile, and not forgetting lean back content as well. It is also vital, at times like this, to be conscious of the situation at hand and understand how it affects everybody. The tonality that brands use to communicate should empathize with the general sentiment being felt and should connect with how the consumer is feeling. Going against this could be detrimental to a brand’s name and image, leaving a longlasting fallout that might take time to recover from.

This period of COVID-19 might be a pivotal turning point in how people and businesses see themselves operating in the future. We should understand what these changes will be – both internally and externally – not just to keep up with the market, but to help it make the right decisions moving forward because the general response to chaos is to scale back or delay investments. In many companies, marketing is seen as a cost center, therefore it’s the first to be cut in uncertain times. And out of these cuts, the digital marketing budget gets the biggest hit.

Your thoughts, please