The world has halted to a standstill, with social distancing measures continuing to take hold from region to region. However, though the world may be waiting for normal life to resume, brands can’t afford to put their efforts on pause. Edelman’s recent global report revealed that 60% of consumers are turning to the brands they trust in this time of coronavirus crisis. Brands need to respond to these consumers, providing entertainment, inspiration and interaction when they need it most.
But with shoots on hold due to social distancing measures, how can brands create new and relevant content? The answer is all about being flexible, thinking cleverly and adapting production methods to meet your needs. Here are 6 creative production solutions, to help you keep creating during the coronavirus pandemic:
1. Focus on the idea
What’s at the heart of every great marketing campaign? The idea, of course. Right now, you can’t throw all your budget into large scale shoots equipped with a huge crew and all the latest equipment. But come up with a really great idea and you won’t need any of that. Look at Audi’s slow TV journey ‘The Drive’ which transports viewers to New South Wales, taking them on a meditative 4-hour road trip. The concept is simple – just calming music, drone shots and the open road – but the idea is strong enough to make a lasting impression.
2. Adapt the way you shoot
Brands and production companies can still organise product shoots (for stills or video) with relative ease by using a private, at-home studio. Photographers and videographers often have their own equipment or can easily rent it from specialised companies, who will post it to their home studios following current safety regulations. So as long as models aren’t involved, products shoots can take place in isolation. Similarly for audio, voiceover can be recorded in the actors’ home by posting the necessary equipment.
And if you do require product shots with models, brands can make this happen at home too. Just look at Zara’s website and social content right now (example to the left). They’re getting their models to shoot the Spring/Summer 20 collection in their homes. Think models posing on their beds and on their sofas, with their pot plants and cups of tea. The overall effect is relevant, reactive content that feels authentic and fun.
3. Make the most of user generated content (UGC)
What do people do when they’re stuck at home feeling bored? They create. Snapping pics of their latest bakes, creating dance routines on TikTok, reviewing must-read books, creating illustrations of their favourite outfits… chances are, your customers are creating great content that your brand can use right now. Contact customers via social media to obtain photos or video clips from them and, with their permission, use them in your creative. Not only is it an easy way to source new creative, UGC also delivers results. According to Shopify, UGC ads achieve 4x higher click-through rates when compared to more traditional ads.
Worried about the quality? Don’t be. If you want to obtain higher quality UGC, enlist a global creative production agency to pre-plan UGC shoots. They can remotely direct content like testimonials, and set a look & feel guidelines for the shoot. Of course, a lot of brands have been doing just that, and the results have become a little cliched. So take inspiration from Gumtree’s response. Rather than take the home-video/Zoom-style approach, their UGC ad features people’s front doors, accompanied by a voiceover thanking everyone for staying indoors and being a good neighbour. Simple, yet effective.
4. Rework existing creative
80% of all marketing content remains unused (source: Small Business Trends). So it’s likely that you have a huge archive of brand content that you can tap into during this difficult production period.
Think about the amount of footage you’ve gathered from all your former shoots. Look through your existing footage from past campaigns, and see if there’s anything that can be reworked for your new campaign. You can always replace the voiceover and edit the visuals to create new content. Equally, you’ve probably got an archive of spare content captured during previous shoots. Use this additional footage to create new edits and or new scenes. As a result, you can fill in any missing gaps in your content.
If you want to be really clever about it, take inspiration from Budweiser who’s latest ad is a celebration of reworking content. Their latest ad is a nostalgic throwback to their iconic ‘Whassup’ ad, first aired in 1999. The dialogue has been tweaked ever so slightly to include quarantine references and a sign-off has been added, reading: ‘Buds support buds. Check on yours.’ Through a few simple edits, Budweiser has created something new, while still capturing the magic of the original ad. Nice one, Bud!
5. Search through stock footage
Stock footage and stills are a great source for brands looking to create new content. By adding text, visuals, graphics or animation to stock footage, you can produce something entirely new. Just make sure the stock footage is in line with your brand’s look and feel, otherwise it’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.
6. Follow a new design direction
Thanks to the rise of studios working remotely, armed with all the tools they need in their home setups, you can create entirely new and memorable content while in lockdown. Think social content that consists of copy alone (artfully designed, of course), or ads created from graphic design. And if you’re keen to immerse your audience through movement, you can use animation, CGI and motion graphics.
While this may seem like a simplified approach, graphic design does actually deliver the results. According to Venngage, 40% of marketers worldwide found that original graphics were the top visual that helped them reach their 2019 marketing goals.
There are lots of brands to look to for inspiration – Amazon, Starbucks (example above), Oatly, Monzo, L’Oreal Paris, Penguin Randomhouse to name a few. They’re all sharing mood-boosting, timely content on their social channels, made from graphic design and copy alone.
We hope these creative production solutions will help you to keep creating, despite the current production limitations. Here at Freedman, we’ve adapted to offer all of these solutions and more to our clients, ensuring that they keep on thriving during these trying times. For more on what we can do to help, watch our video here. Or, feel free to get in touch.