Jeremy Hine, MullenLowe Group UK CEO, discusses what 2020 taught our agency. This article was originally posted in The Drum
2020 has been defined by one event: the Covid-19 pandemic. Long-held preconceptions have been challenged and we have all been forced to look at our day to day lives through a new lens. The pandemic and its effects have completely changed how we connect with one another and how we live our lives.
For agencies, it has also forced businesses to rethink. Marketers have had to find new ways to produce creative results while working remotely. We have also had to overcome industry-wide difficulties such as the fall in ad spend following the virus. According to WARC, ad spend is forecasted to fall by £4bn in 2020. Year on year growth is not expected until Q2 2021 due to the possibility of a third Covid-19 wave early next year.
In the midst of increased uncertainty, agencies have adjusted their practices to ensure they are working effectively and that they are in tune with their clients.
Here are three lessons I’ve learned this year from the crisis:
We never give up
What has come through most for me this year is that there is always a solution to a problem. Agencies have had to learn how to shoot content, pitch for new business and keep internal culture alive while adhering to Covid-19 regulations. While it hasn’t always been easy, agencies and marketers across the industry have found inventive solutions to continue to produce outstanding work, even in what seemed like impossible circumstances.
Moving forward, we all need to remember our tenacity to get things done – we are more capable than we know.
Collaboration is key
This year has emphatically highlighted the importance of collaboration and cooperation for long term success. With the fast-moving crisis, agencies and their clients needed to pull together, more than ever before, in order to solve rapidly changing, complex problems such as the shift to remote working in March.
Good work requires scrutiny and marketers and agencies that have listened and showed each other respect have reaped the rewards. This has been essential to creating quality work and developing strong relationships with clients.
Focus on care
Remote working and in particular video calls have meant that we have seen into people’s homes. Through computer screens, we have had a window into our colleagues’ lives, not as employees but as people.
We have seen vulnerability, humanity, and numerous ups and downs. With care, respect and support, we have held together and rarely faltered. As we approach 2021, the industry needs to remember that employees are people first.
We all need to understand how they are doing and what we can do as an industry to ensure that employees feel supported and engaged. Truly engaged teams produce the best work.