Can creativity help businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Drum 12 Aug 2020 03:05

In the Covid-19 era, change is the only constant and disruption is the new normal. As businesses and brands attempt to adapt and evolve in pace with consumers, what role can creativity play in driving real business value? The Drum and Adobe roundtable gathered creative leaders to discuss how creativity is enabling a strong recovery within organisations.

Even the most digital brands have been surprised by the speed of change heralded by the Covid-19 pandemic. With consumers leading the way, brands are scrambling to evolve and adapt to the new normal. Against this backdrop, what role can marketing and creativity play in boosting a business’s recovery?

Creativity at the heart

Sumeli Chatterjee, vice president, Brand, The Times of India, said the pandemic was enabling businesses to embrace marketing and creativity as a business function.

“We always look at creativity being a marketing function, or a function on the side, which is tapped into when there's a problem. But, I think this is the first time that marketing has become a true business function. It literally is like the binding factor that puts everybody together in the room and says, ‘there is a problem, and we have to solve it together’. The whole definition of the marketing function and what marketing does in the organisation that has become crystal clear right now.”

“Leaders, who actually might not be seen to be particularly creative, but, make the space for all of this to happen. Leaders who invite the wacky and the crazy, or give the time and space for the experimentation, [and] create the space for creativity to happen.”

Embracing authentic messaging

Arjun Sarwal, head of SEA regional business (performance), TikTok, said, “At this point of time, what we increasingly see at TikTok is well polished creative - you know, very shiny looking marketing pushes - are actually resonating less [with consumers] versus what we see increasingly being successful, is some very authentic and raw creative.

Primus Nair, head of creative, Lego, agreed that consumers are looking to brands to demonstrate empathy in these unpredictable times. “Consumers are not looking for you to be clever, but there is a conversation that needs to be had. That says, “Look, we understand where you're coming from, and we're all in this together. We don't have the answers, but it is one of those things where it's part of human history, and we just have to make the best of it’.”

However, as brands move to scale the new creative challenge, many are getting bogged down in the production process, according to Michael Stoddart, director, strategic development at Adobe APAC.

“Our brands and customers are saying “we want to break this nexus between production of content to give us the space to be more creative”.

She said the iconic drinks company already lived and breathed creativity before the pandemic, which she believes will help it maintain creative excellence as shoots are cancelled, and budgets are cut.

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TikTokSumeli ChatterjeeOpher Yom-TovANZ BankYom
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